World Cup Prep: Croatia Falls Short Against Brazil in Friendly at Anfield

Daniela Rogulj

The biggest, but not the last, test before the World Cup in Russia saw Croatia and Brazil in a friendly match at Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium on Sunday, June 3, 2018. Brazil is one of the biggest favorites to win the World Cup in Russia this year. 

In the incredible ambiance of the legendary Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, Brazil and Croatia played a critical friendly match in front of 54,000 spectators. Croatia and Brazil were each other’s strongest opponents ahead of the World Cup this summer – though Croatia still has a friendly against Senegal and Brazil against Austria. 

Croatia played a fantastic first half and was much better than the World Cup favorite. Lovren and Kramarić were the closest to the goal in the first half, while Perišić and Rebić (who played a brilliant game) could not capitalize on their chances. 

In the first 45 minutes, Brazil’s Willian was the only player to threaten the Croatian defense, though Croatia remained solid in the back and cleared away any significant problems.

In the second half, both coaches mixed their composition, which considerably changed the rhythm of the match. Brazil had a much better run in the second, while Croatia, without Modrić, lacked a leader on the pitch and could hardly keep possession. Kovačić once again proved that he could not be an alternative to Modrić, and Neymar proved that his four-month break had done nothing to jeopardize his football magic after an incredible goal in the 69th minute. 

In the last seconds of the game, after an unforgivable mistake by substitute Tin Jedvaj, Firmino set the final result at his European home in the 93rd minute.

This was the fourth match between Croatia and Brazil and the third win for Brazil. One match between the two nations ended in a draw. 

Immediately after the match at Anfield, the national team will return to Croatia and train at Rijeka’s Rujevica until Wednesday. On Monday, Zlatko Dalić will announce the final list of players who will travel to the World Cup. The last preparatory match for Croatia will be played against Senegal on June 8th in Osijek at the City Garden Stadium.


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