U21 Euros: Croatia Unlucky Against France in San Marino (1:0)

By 21 June 2019

June 21, 2019 - In the second round of Group C of the U21 European Football Championship held in Italy and San Marino, the young Croatia national team met France. 

Recall, in the first round against Romania, Croatia lost 1:4 and thus significantly reduced their chances of playing in the semi-final of the tournament, which also secures a spot at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 

Coach Nenad Gračan made three changes to the lineup compared to the first match against Romania. Namely, Brekalo and Benković could not start due to injury, and Halilović moved to the bench. Ivanušec replaced Halilović, while Uremović moved from right-back to stopper, and Borevković took his place on the right. Murić played on the left wing instead of Brekalo who suffered an injury in the first half of the game against Romania. 

France dominated the game from the start and capitalized on their first cross for a Dembele goal in the 8th minute. France almost increased their lead in the 12th minute though Posavec saved the day to keep the game 1:0. 

It seemed like just a matter of time before France scored their second, though it was Croatia to have a golden opportunity. Vlašić hit the perfect through ball to Jakoliš who just missed the far post. The game ended 1:0 for France at the half. 

France attacked at the start of the first half, though Posavec again was forced to defend Dembele - and succeeded. Croatia started stringing passes together and pushing shortly after - and there was an excellent chance by Murić and Jakoliš which France defended. 

Shortly after Brekalo was substituted in for Murić Croatia looked like a new team. They attacked and threatened France’s defense - and were even robbed by the referee when he refused to consult VAR after a clear handball in the box. 

Croatia had another stellar chance in the 68th minute when Brekalo hit a through ball to Kulenović who then hit the post. Croatia was getting close to an equalizer, but luck wasn't on their side.

Croatia had one last chance with a minute to go in regulation time, though Brekalo's free-kick went short. 

The game ended 1:0 for France.

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