Nations League Prep: Croatia and Portugal Draw in Faro

Daniela Rogulj

Croatia and Portugal played 1:1 in a friendly match in Faro. 

The Croatia national team began a new cycle with a friendly encounter against Portugal in Faro on Thursday. The team will head to Elche next where they will play Spain in the new UEFA Nations League competition on September 11, reports on September 6, 2018. 

In their first appearance after the World Cup, Croatia played 1:1 against Portugal in front of 25,000 fans at Algarve Stadium. Croatia thus failed to beat Portugal in their fifth mutual match – and in the last four games before this, Croatia counted four defeats with odds at 0-7. This time, at least, Croatia managed to score a goal. 

Croatia took the lead in the 19th minute with a goal by Ivan Perišić, who hit a rocket from some 10 meters out. Portugal then equalized in the 32nd minute after Pizzi crossed into the penalty area and found the head of Pepe for 1:1. Portugal didn’t threaten again until the 77th minute when they hit the post, and Croatia played with mostly reserves until the referee blew the final whistle.

Croatia came to Faro without Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Strinić, Dejan Lovren, Ante Rebić and Andrej Kramarić. Croatia was also without Vedran Ćorluka, Mario Mandžukić and Danijel Subašić, who retired after the World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo was the biggest absence for Portugal, though they were also missing 8 players who appeared on the team in Russia. 

On Tuesday, Croatia will have their Nations League debut in Elche against Spain.

Portugal v. Croatia

Goals: 0-1 Perišić (18), 1-1 Pepe (32)

PORTUGAL: Rui Patricio, Cancelo, Pepe, Dias, Rui, W. Carvalho (Oliveira, 82), Ruben Neves (Sanches, 86), Pizzi (Bruno Fernandes,61) Bruma (Lopes, 68), Andre Silva (Gelson Fernandes, 89), Bernardo Silva (Gelson, 46).

CROATIA: Kalinić, Vrsaljko (Milić, 46), Vida (Jedvaj, 34), Mitrović, Barišić, Modrić (Pašalić, 55), Badelj, Kovačić, Pjaca (Rog, 72), Livaja (Santini, 57), Perišić (Čop, 63).


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