The Croatia national team open the EURO 2024 qualifiers at Poljud Stadium on Saturday against Wales. It was Croatia’s first appearance after the magnificent bronze medal result at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The great atmosphere at Poljud before the match was led by Tomislav Bralić and Klapa Intrade, who sang their biggest hits to warm up the fans. All fans were also greeted at their seats with a commemorative Croatia scarf displaying the motifs of the already widely known Vatreni jerseys in white or blue variants. Poljud was sold out for tonight’s match with 33,474 in attendance.
Croatia was in an almost unchanged lineup compared to Qatar. After the World Cup, Dejan Lovren said goodbye to the national team, and Bruno Petković did not play today due to an injury.
Three days after Wales, Croatia will visit Turkey to continue their qualifications for the 2024 European Championship.
CROATIA: Livaković – Juranović, Šutalo, Gvardiol, Sosa – Modrić, Kovačić, Brozović – Kramarić, Livaja, Perišić
WALES: Ward – Roberts, Mepham, Rodon, Williams – Ampadu, Wilson, Ramse, Morrell – Moore, James
Croatia had its first attack and shot on goal at 2:33. Gvardiol found Modric alone just outside the box. Luka’s shot was saved by the keeper and resulted in Croatia’s first corner kick.
Another chance for Croatia in the 6th minute. Perisic crossed into the box for Livaja which deflected off the Wales keeper. It was another corner for Croatia. Five minutes later Juranovic launched a ball into the penalty area, but no Croatia player was there in time.
Kova and Krama had a great attack three minutes later. Krama found Perisic on the left, but the ball had too much speed.
Wales had their first corner in the 14th minute. Kramaric nailed a rocket at the Wales keeper a minute after that which went out for Croatia’s third corner.
Croatia possessed well and gave Wales little chance to control the game. Croatia was the first to every ball.
Perisic has an excellent attempt in the 24th minute but shot wide of the goal. But Perisic had the best chance two minutes later when a powerful strike found the back of the net. Unfortunately, the ref called a foul on the attack, and the game remained 0-0.
It didn’t take long for Croatia to take the lead after that. In the 28th minute, Kramaric magically moved through the Wales defense and shot at the right post for 1-0 Croatia!
Juranovic was shown a yellow card in the 30th minute.
Luka’s volley attempt in the 35th minute went just wide of the goal. Sosa tried shooting right-footed two minutes later but weakly shot at the keeper. Croatia was wholly dominating this game.
Wales was given a dangerous free kick in the 43rd minute. Kramaric selfishly shot over the post in the 45th minute when Perisic was alone in the box. The game ended 0-0 at the half.
There were no changes to start the second half.
A brilliant chance for Croatia in the 49th saw Kova alone in front of the keeper with an open goal but shot over.
Livaja was subbed off in the 52nd minute with an injury. Petar Musa came on in his place for his first official debut for the national team.
Sosa played Perisic in the box in the 55th minute, but he shot at the keeper. Wales had the best chance of the match in the 60th minute. James was left alone in the box but fortunately missed the goal.
Wales made its first 3 subs in the. 63rd minute.
A brilliant attack from Croatia up the left wing in the 65th minute. Sosa played Perisic who found Musa. Musa’s shot went wide of the goal.
Wales made their fourth sub in the 70th minute.
Vlasic and Pasalic were subbed on for Kramaric and Kovacic in the 75th minute.
Croatia continued to dominate in the second half even though Wales had a few chances. Croatia had back-to-back corners in the 77th minute and even hit the post five minutes later!
Three minutes of stoppage time were added.
Unfortunately, seconds after Modric was subbed off, Croatia’s defense fell asleep, and Broadhead equalized for 1-1.
The match ended 1-1.
Croatia plays Turkey next away in Bursa on March 28.
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