QUALIFIED: Croatia Books Spot at EURO 2024!

Daniela Rogulj

Photo by Slobodan Kadic

November 21, 2023 – Croatia beat Armenia 1-0 in Zagreb to qualify for EURO 2024 as second in Group D!

The Croatia national team played their last qualifying match for next year’s European Championship in Germany at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb on Tuesday night. The Zagreb stadium was wholly sold out, even in a chilled 7 degrees Celcius temperature.

Croatia decided its own fate after beating Latvia 2-0 in Riga on Saturday, especially after Wales and Armenia played 1-1 just before the match. A win for Croatia tonight, regardless of the outcome between Wales and Turkey, would bring them to the Euros in Germany.

Turkey already secured their spot at the Euros, while Croatia and Wales fought for second place in the group. Going into the match, Croatia was two points ahead of Wales in second place. Croatia could also qualify with a draw or even a defeat, but in that case they would depend on the result between Wales and Turkey. If Croatia finished in third place, they would have a chance to qualify through the playoffs in March. 


CROATIA : Livaković, Stanišić, Šutalo, Gvardiol, Sosa, Modrić, Brozović, Majer, Kramarić, Ivanušec, Budimir

ARMENIA : Chancharevich, Arutiunian, Mkrtchjan, Calisir, Tiknizjan, Hovhanisjan, Spertsjan, Harutjunjan, Sevikjan, Zelarajan, Ranos

Match report

Apart from moving Gvardiol back into the center and bringing in Sosa for left back, there were no changes to Croatia’s lineup compared to the match against Latvia.

Croatia already had more movement up the left wing which was visible in the first five minutes of the match. However Croatia’s first corner came from the right side in the 5th minute. Croatia’s second corner came from the left in the 7th minute thanks to Budimir. Luka launched a low ball into the box which just missed our players and was cleared by Armenia.

Croatia persistently attacked in the first 10 minutes, giving Armenia no chance of getting into their half. Two more corners came for Croatia in the 12th minute, but Gvardiol’s head couldn’t get the ball into the goal.

A potential penalty call for Croatia as Brozovic fell in the box in the 14th minute, but the ref said to play on. Budimir headed into the Armenia keeper in the 17th minute. A nice attacking play came in the 21st minute, but Budimir’s header again went straight to the keeper.

Armenia’s first dangerous chance came in the 23rd minute, but the ref called a foul on Livakovic. And in the 28th minute, Armenia’s best chance. Livakovic was caught off his line, and Hovhanisjan shot on an empty net. Livakovic was forced to make a brilliant save and tapped the ball over the crossbar for a corner. Croatia was shaky in the back and was lucky to clear out the play.

A Croatia counterattack in the 31st minute saw Ivanusuc get a shot off, but the ball went out for a goal kick. Luka launched the ball over the goal in the 33rd. Armenia attacked again in the 37th minute and Croatia struggled to find the back of the net, however they were trying to create chances.

Ivanusec took one too many touches and shot from the edge of the box in the 41st minute, which also went over the goal. But then it happened in the 43rd minute. A perfect ball from Sosa found the head of Budimir at the near post who scored for 1-0!

Brozovic shot from 30 meters during stoppage time but just went wide of the goal. It was 1-0 for Croatia at halftime, and with Wales up 1-0 against Turkey, Croatia would win the group should these results remain.

Dalic made one change to the lineup to start the second half – Mario Pasalic came on for Luka Ivanuec. However Dalic made another sub in the 49th minute – Stanisic was subbed off for Juranovic.

Croatia had a great chance in the 56th minute. Pasalic shot off a keeper deflection but Armenia cleared the play. Another excellent counter attack in the 58th minute resulted in another chance for Budimir, but the Armenia defense kept it 1-0.

Croatia was getting into Armenia’s penalty area after a second goal, and Gvardiol even hit a long-range shot from an Aremnia clearance. Armenia could hardly enter Croatia’s half.

In the 68th minute, Dalic subbed off Kramaric for Marko Pasalic. At the same time, 20,398 fans were announced at Maksimir.

A great run by Luka into the box came in the 74th minut which forced the ball out fo a corner. Broz rocketed a shot at the keeper from 30 meters out which went out for another corner. Turkey had also equalized against Wales – making it 1-1 and bringing them a spot back at the top of the group.

Dalic made two subs in the 84th minute -Sucic came on for Majer and Baturina for Budimir.

With just five minutes to go, Croatia remained compact on defense and was mostly in Armenia’s half, with real danger from their rivals.

A Pasalic-Pasalic attack resulted in a corner kick, and another corner followed. Three minutes of stoppage time were added.

The final whistle blew, and Croatia came out on top with a 1-0 win. With this result, and with Turkey and Wales finishing 1-1, Croatia finishes 2nd in Group D and qualifies for EURO 2024!

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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