UEFA Nations League: Sweden Tops Croatia 2:1 in Solna

Daniela Rogulj

Slobodan Kadic
Slobodan Kadic

Slobodan Kadic

November 14, 2020 –  Sweden tops Croatia 2:1 in Solna on Saturday in their penultimate Nations League match of Group 3. 

Sweden and Croatia fought to maintain their status in the elite group of Nations League on Saturday. Sweden went into Saturday’s match in the last place without points, while Croatia was in third with 3 points. 

Croatia was fortunate to see some crucial players return to the lineup for this match, including starting goalkeeper Dominik Livaković and striker Bruno Petković.

Dalic’s starting 11 thus included: Livaković, Uremović, Ćaleta-Car, Pongračić, Barišić – Kovačić, Modrić – Vlašić, Brekalo, Perišić – Budimir.

Croatia’s first attack of the game happened already in the 2nd minute. Nikola Vlašić received the ball on the edge of the penalty area, and instead of taking the shot, he backheeled to Modrić. Unfortunately, the Sweden defense was there to clear the ball.

Sweden had their first dangerous attack four minutes later, though a brilliant Livaković save kept the score even. Sweden continued attacking, and a corner in the 12th minute was luckily cleared by Croatia’s defense. Forsberg had a shot on goal in the 15th, forcing Livaković to save the day, again.

Croatia struggled to maintain possession in the first 20 minutes of the match, and Sweden continued aggressively with their attacking play.

Croatia received their first corner in the 20th minute, which Modrić played short. Brekalo had one of Croatia’s first shots on goal moments later.

A quick attack by Brekalo and Perišić put Sweden’s keeper to work again, and ultimately resulted in a corner. Croatia starting waking up. 

Uremović fouled Forsberg just outside the box for a dangerous free kick in the 27th minute, which Livaković cleared out for a corner. Sweden remained in Croatia’s box for the three minutes that followed. 

Duje Ćaleta-Car received a yellow card in the 34th minute, meaning he misses the match against Portugal in Split on Tuesday. 

Unfortunately, Kulusevski danced around Croatia’s defense to score for 1:0 in the 36th minute. 

In the 41st minute, Uremović came off with an injury, and Josip Juranović entered the game.

Just before halftime, Danielson increased Sweden’s lead to 2:0. 

The second half started with no changes for Croatia. 

Croatia picked up their game at the start of the second half and was consistently pressing Sweden’s defense. However, no plays were coming to fruition thanks to a solid Sweden defense.

Sweden blew a huge chance to increase their lead yet again in the 62nd minute. Pašalić was subbed on for Budimir in the 63rd. 

Another quick counter by Sweden saw Forsberg shoot over the crossbar, and Perišić saved Sweden from scoring another goal in the 68th. 

Croatia kept falling short and failed to connect passes in the attack. 

In the 76th minute, Dalic made three substitutions – Petković, Melnjak, and Rog were subbed on for Brekalo, Kovačić, and Pogrančić.

And finally, a miracle in the 80th minute – a Danielson own-goal made the game 2:1! Alas, there was hope for Croatia. 

In the final minutes of the match, Sweden had far too many chances for another goal, but Livaković remained solid and kept the net clear. Vlašić failed to capitalize on a brilliant ball across the box from Juranović in the 88th. 

With three minutes added time, Croatia was unable to play for the draw. A last-minute shot for Vlašić was saved by the Sweden keeper. The match ended 2:1 for Sweden. 

As it stands now, Croatia remains in third place in Group 3. 

Croatia and Portugal will meet in their final Nations League match on Tuesday at Poljud Stadium in Split. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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