World Cup Qualifiers: Shocking Loss for Croatia Against Turkey

Daniela Rogulj

Čačić and HNS has a lot of explaining to do.

Croatia received another consecutive away defeat on the road to the World Cup in Russia, this time after losing to Turkey 1:0 in Eskişehir. While it was a very open match where Croatia had more opportunities – and the referee even missed a clear penalty in the first half -Turkey was the team to celebrate in the end after a goal by Cenk Tosun, reports on September 5, 2017. 

The match started well for both teams, and many of us were sat on our coaches thinking that this would finally be a good performance by our national team.

In the first 12 minutes, we saw three great opportunities – two from Croatia and one by the Turkish side. In the fifth minute, Brozović gracefully pulled through the middle of the pitch and pushed right to Kovačić who broke out in front of Turkey’s goalkeeper Babacan, who, unfortunately, responded brilliantly. Four minutes later, Croatia was given a dangerous free kick taken by Luka Modrić. The ball landed in front of Domagoj Vida and was touched by the hand of Yilmaz. Sadly, the referees remained silent and failed to give a clear penalty to Croatia.

While Turkey had a few good opportunities in the first half, the rhythm and intensity of the match fell, and there was not much excitement at the doors of Subašić and Babacan. Although Turkey picked up their game from the 30th minute, they did not pose a particular threat to Croatia. The game remained 0:0 at the half.

In the second half, Turkey had the first opportunity. In the 56th minute, Sahin almost put Turkey in the lead after he delivered a ball to the head of Burak Yilmaz. Croatia was quick to counter two minutes later when Modrić went brilliantly through the Turkish defense and found Ivan Perišić on the opposing corner who, unfortunately, missed a fairly clear shot at the goal. In the 74th minute, Brozović was dangerous from the penalty area, however hitting a weak shot at the goal. 

In the 75th minute, Turkey took the lead. Turkey’s Oguzhan Ozyakup shot from 20 yards out, and instead of Subašić catching the strike from Ozyakup, he batted the ball directly to Cenk Tosun who scored for a 1:0 lead. Just three minutes later, Modrić once again brilliantly passed through Turkey to find Mandžukić, but Topal blocked his shot. 

Just three minutes later, Modrić once again brilliantly passed through Turkey to find Mandžukić, but Topal blocked his shot. 

Until the end of the match, Croatia pressed but did not seriously threaten Turkey’s goal. The game ended 1:0 for Turkey. 

Croatia now needs to win both of their remaining games if they want to place directly into the World Cup next year. Croatia will play in Osijek first against Finland this October and then travel to Ukraine for the seriously critical match of the group on October 9th.

Despite the defeat, Croatia has retained their lead in Group I with 16 points. Iceland is now in second place after beating Ukraine 2-0 tonight, Turkey is now in third with 14 points, and Ukraine in fourth place with 14 points.

What happened tonight, I am not quite sure. Croatia looked physically broken down by Turkey and seriously struggled to keep pace with the game in the second half. In any other situation we could use the excuse of the team playing the match on two days rest, but after little energy was used by the team to push past Kosovo in Zagreb on Sunday, we won’t consider that an option.

What this comes down to, once again, is the total collapse of the coach, and above all the Croatian Football Federation. To lose in a crucial qualifying match for the World Cup, with a team of full of great players and principal playmakers in the world’s best clubs, who else can be blamed but those in charge? Who else is responsible for the total decay of this national side? 

For now, all we know is that Čačić will be answering a lot of questions. Given the fact that pervious national team coaches have been fired, without question, for suffering the same defeat, what follows next will be telling. 

Goal: 1:0 – Tosun (75).

Turkey (4-4-2): Babacan, Ayhan, Topal, Söyüncü, Erkin, Calhanoglu, Sahin (out 87. for Yokuslu), Özyakup, Turan (out 70. for Mor), Cosun, Yilmaz (out 82. for Tufan)

Croatia (4-2-3-1): Subašić, Vrsaljko (out 84. for Čop), Lovren, Vida, Pivarić , Badelj, Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić (out 71. for Kramarić), Perišić, N. Kalinić (out 62. for Mandžukić)


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment