Monday, 21 June 2021

Dalić and Perišić Talk Croatia ahead of Scotland, Billy Gilmour Positive COVID-19 Result

June 21, 2021 - Coach Zlatko Dalić and vice-captain Ivan Perišić addressed the press to speak about Croatia ahead of Scotland on Tuesday. 

The Croatia national football team coach Zlatko Dalić and vice-captain Ivan Perišić addressed the press the day before the decisive match for a spot in the EURO 2020 round of 16. 

After losing to England (0:1) and drawing to the Czech Republic (1:1), Croatia will face Scotland on Tuesday at Hampden Park. The stakes are high; for both teams, the victory brings the round of 16. 

 

It was announced this morning that Billy Gilmour tested positive for COVID-19. This hurts Scotland considerably, but does it change anything for Croatia?

"The rules are the same for everyone; we have to concentrate on ourselves and our victory; the rest is irrelevant. Some play at home; some can’t even have fans on away pitches. We have to get together and try to get through the group. There is no fear for tomorrow," said Ivan Perišić.

"It is not easy for any national team when they lose an important player. Scotland has a solution, they will be ready for us; they play in front of their fans, but we are concentrated on us, and a lot will depend on us," added Perišić.

How does Zlatko Dalić see the situation?

"Before the Euros, we knew that the third game would be decisive. This is the last chance we have to advance. That was the goal, and we must do everything to achieve it," said Dalić.

Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour tested positive and has to go into ten days of isolation, but not the whole team. Dalić believes that his absence will not weaken Scotland much, but he also adds that Croatia is damaged because they are playing without its fans.

"We are damaged around this situation; we are certainly stronger with the fans. We play against two hosts, and various things about the coronavirus have been surrounding us for a month. It will be very difficult; we are playing against an opponent who has the quality and who is motivated. We have to go out on the field as favorites. We must not lose patience; we must not lose our heads. Patience will be very important," added the coach.

"We travel every three days; these are not realistic conditions. I would not want Croatia to do something outside the field, but I think that the conditions must be the same for everyone, and they are not. But I want Gilmour to recover and everything to be resolved on the field."

Players are constantly being tested, and of course, there is the pressure of whether they will be positive.

"We are all under pressure about positive tests. We are all in psychological uncertainty that something will not happen and that someone will not be positive, so that we all go into isolation. I really wouldn’t want it all to expand; I hope there won’t be anything more. We are worried about COVID-19 in the Scotland national team, but we have to play that game."

Asked if any of his players had asked him not to play due to the positive result, Dalić said they had not yet been able to talk because they had just arrived.

"We just arrived in Glasgow, had lunch, and of course we'll talk. It is clear that everyone is in fear and uncertainty, but we have to play the game and focus on the game and forget the rest. Such is the situation throughout the championship. We are all negative and very careful, but you never know what might happen."

Is the absence of Gilmour a gain for Croatia?

"Every player is an absence for the team. Gilmour played well against England but entered that game as a reserve. Scotland has stronger players; I don't see that as a win for us. Scotland is a strong team, they play at home, and that one player who is not standard and will not play is not our advantage," added Dalić.

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 19 June 2021

Dalić Press Conferene: New Croatia Changes against Scotland Announced

June 19, 2021 - Zlatko Dalić addressed the press in Rovinj after drawing 1:1 with the Czech Republic on Friday night in Glasgow. Croatia changes against Scotland, their opponent in the final group stage match on Tuesday, have been announced. 

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić addressed the press in Rovinj one day after the draw against the Czech Republic in the second round of EURO 2020 and thus kept their chances of the round of 16.  

 

"Of course, I'm not happy and satisfied. I don't feel comfortable; it's not the Croatia I imagined and wanted. We are not playing well, but we got another chance to fix it in the last game of the group stage and move on with the victory. I am aware that this is not good, and this is not the Croatia I want," said Dalić.

In the last round, on Tuesday, June 22, Croatia will have to win against Scotland to compete for a place in the round of 16. The match will be played at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

"I will not look for the culprit, alibi; it is up to me that we are not good. We don’t look like we should; we’re not compact. Seven, eight players came to the gathering injured; we failed to sort ourselves out. We played a bad first half yesterday; the opponent was better. But they didn't give us a chance. The penalty was not for me; Lovren did not want to hit the player; he jumped like any defensive player. We also had the opportunity with Rebić. We were better in the second half, but not enough to win," Dalić explained.

The coach pointed out that Croatia is not at the level to fight among the last 16. 

"We did not impose ourselves at this Euro; it is not Croatia as it should be. We are not at the level, but we have a chance to repair; with the victory, we can go further," said Dalić.

"We were looking for the best solutions on the go. Someone always had some minor problem," said the Croatia coach.

"Scotland will be terribly aggressive and motivated. We weren't working on plays for no reason. We tried to get the best we saw in training."

Is the problem more in the physical or mental state?

"I think it's both. The opponent ran more than us yesterday, and that shows in the result. For us, the result is indispensable for everything to be arranged differently.  We can’t get into a normal rhythm without it. As for physical preparation, some players have problems that they came up with, but we didn’t solve them."

He also commented on Dejan Lovren's free kick.

"The day before, we practiced free kicks and his went in. Luka left it to him because he felt good. There is no logic for the stopper to shoot free kicks, but he did not do it on his own; Luka left it to him because he felt ready for it."

He said Scotland has the quality it has already shown at the Euros and will be difficult.

"Borna Barišić will start training today, and then we will see what condition he is in," said Dalic.

"My whole life is a struggle, but I believe in the boys that we still have the strength, spite, and pride to show and play a good game on Tuesday. They all wrote us off and crossed us off; that must be our motivation. I understand criticism and attacks, I don’t run away from it, but it’s not all lost. God has given us another chance."

Dalić announced changes to the team for Scotland.

"We will have to make two, three changes and find more energetic players for Scotland. I’m not changing because I’d like to change, but because I want the best. The only reason to replace Marcelo Brozovic for the Czech Republic is that I wanted more players on the offensive. He is definitely returning to the team," Dalić explained.

Nikola Vlašić did not start any game.

"Vlašić has been without games for the last month at his club. He comes from a knee injury, which is why he lost out in the preparations. We used him as another player from the bench. He was our best player in the qualifications; he did not lose his status and position. He had a complaint about his adductor, so he had to spare himself a little," said Dalić.

"Gvardiol has been playing left-back at Dinamo all year, maybe he is a stopper by profile, but he also brought some things yesterday. In my opinion, he plays well. I don't watch who is from which club; I watch training and what we need," said Dalić.

He also commented on Luka Modrić's game.

"Luka received the award for the best player of the match. He spent a lot in that position; it wasn't easy for him; maybe he made a mistake sometimes. He had a lot of demanding tasks, but he was the player of the match. He is ready and has no problems," Dalić concluded.

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 19 June 2021

EURO 2020: Victory for Croatia Against Scotland Imperative for Round of 16 Spot

June 19, 2021 - A victory for Croatia against Scotland is now imperative for 2nd or 3rd place in Group D. 

The second round of EURO 2020 Group D finished on Friday and Croatia currently sits in third place. After two draws on Friday, Croatia and the Czech Republic 1:1 and England and Scotland 0:0, the Czech Republic is in first, followed by England in second, Croatia in third, and Scotland in fourth, reports Gol.hr.

Croatia must beat Scotland on Tuesday if they want to go further and can no longer pass as the group winner. Finishing first in the group is not the best option, anyhow, as first place in Group D crosses over with the 'group of death' - Portugal, France, Germany, and Hungary.

Croatia's position will also depend on the second game in the group. Namely, if the Czech Republic and England play a draw in the last round, Croatia can only continue from third place, no matter how large the victory against Scotland. However, they will need a better goal difference to be placed among the best third-placed national teams.

If England wins minimally, Croatia must beat Scotland by three goals for second place, and any major England win will mean that Croatia needs a goal less to skip the Czech Republic. 

If they have the same goal difference as the Czech Republic, second place will go to the team that has fewer yellow and red cards.

If Croatia doesn't go as second place, it seems that being among the best third-placed national teams in the competition is a probable option.

It should be noted that Scotland can also win third place with a victory, so it will be an all-or-nothing match.

Second place in Group D crosses over with the second-placed team from Group E (Spain, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia). If Croatia finishes third, they will play the winner of Group B (probably Belgium), the winner of Group E (Sweden or Spain), or the winner of Group C (Holland).

Theoretically, Croatia could go even further with a draw against Scotland, i.e. with only two points, but a lot has to coincide. Namely, Switzerland and Turkey have to draw in a direct clash for third place, Germany would have to lose to Portugal and still draw with Hungary in the end. 

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Friday, 18 June 2021

EURO 2020: Croatia and the Czech Republic Play 1:1 in Glasgow

June 18, 2021 - Croatia and the Czech Republic played 1:1 at Hampden Park in Glasgow for their second-round Group D match of EURO 2020. 

After losing 1:0 to England at the start of the competition, Croatia chased a victory against the Czech Republic to hopefully bring them closer to the knockout phase. Any other result would significantly complicate their fate and a victory against Scotland in the last round would be imperative. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Lineups

Croatia: Livaković; Vrsaljko, Vida, Lovren, Gvardiol; Modrić, Kovačić; Brekalo, Kramarić, Perišić; Rebić

Czech Republic: Vaclik; Coufal, Čelustka, Kalas, Boril; Holeš, Darida, Souček; Masopust, Jankto, Schick

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Slobodan Kadic

The match started promptly at 17:00 GMT. 

The Czech Republic came out hungry and already had a dangerous opportunity in the 2nd minute.  Their first corner came one minute later which was headed just over the goal by Soucek.

Croatia's first corner came in the 6th minute after Perisic's ball across the box went long. Kovacic and Modric went short which was defended by the Czech keeper. 

A foul on Rebic in the 8th minute gave Croatia a free-kick from 30 meters.  Lovren shot and hit over the crossbar. 

The Czech Republic was dangerous again in the 12th minute with a shank over the goal.  

An unusual Modric mistake in the midfield saw him head the ball straight to a Czech player which prompted a quick attack and nearly a goal. Croatia's defense remained solid for the goal kick. 

Rebic took advantage of a weak goalkeeper clearance which deflected off his back and almost into the goal in the 20th minute.  

A quick one-two between Gvardiol and Brekalo resulted in a corner in the 22nd minute. Modric went short to find Kramaric, who went back to Modric then Perisic at the top of the box. Perisic aimed right at the Czech keeper. 

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Slobodan Kadic

An aggressive Croatia moved the ball to Vrsaljko on the right-wing in the 24th minute who crossed to the keeper. 

Croatia possessed well and moved the ball up the pitch in the minutes that followed. Gvardiol crossed into the box but it was another easy save for the Czech keeper. 

The Czech Republic had a corner in the 32nd minute. Croatia was robbed shortly after. Lovren and a Czech player went up for a header and a penalty was called for the Czech Republic after a VAR review. The Czech Republic scored for 0:1 in the 36th minute. 

Brekalo played the perfect through ball to Rebic just after the kick-off which he shot miserably wide. Kramaric shot in the 43rd which gave the keeper no trouble. The ref added the minutes to the first half. 

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Slobodan Kadic

A Kovacic foul outside the box resulted in another dangerous free-kick for the Czech Republic which was hit over. The match ended 1:0 for the Czech Republic at the half. 

Zlatko Dalic made two changs to start the second half. Bruno Petkovic went on for Rebic, and Luka Ivanusec for Brekalo. 

Croatia was awarded a free kick in the 46th minute which Modric played short. Croatia had their chance a minute later - Perisic was played down the left side, carried the ball into the box and onto his right foot, and nailed the goal far post for 1:1! 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia came out hungry to start the second half as they knew what was a stake. An incredible defensive backline in the 56th minute kept the game even. 

Vrsaljko fouled outside the box in the 60th minute. The ball went out for a corner which was headed over.

Vlasic came on for Kramaric in the 60th minute. 

The Czech Republic had a few dangerous played in the next five minutes, one of which saw Modric sprint back to get the ball out for a corner.  

An excellent Croatia attack between Gvardiol and Perisic found the foot of Vlasic who shot just over the goal in the 71st minute. 

The Czech Republic got fresh legs in the game with two subs in the 75th minute. 

Croatia tried to push plays down the left wing to Perisic which the Czechs defended well. Dalic subbed on Marcelo Brozovic for Kovacic with 3 minutes to go. 

Petkovic had a chance which went out for a corner in the 88th. Another corner came as a result of it which the Czechs cleared away. The ref added three minutes to the end of the match. 

The match ended 1:1.  

Croatia will play Scotland in their final Group D match on Tuesday, June 22, in Glasgow. 

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Friday, 18 June 2021

New Croatia Fan Song from Slavonia for EURO 2020: Introducing 'Sweet Little Homeland' (VIDEO)

 June 18, 2021 - A new Croatia fan song from Slavonia is here for EURO2020 - introducing "Sweet Little Homeland" (Slatka Mala Domovino)!

A new Croatia fan video has arrived from Slavonia, just in time for Croatia's second-round match of Group D against the Czech Republic at EURO 2020! The two nations meet in Glasgow tonight at 18:00 CET. 

"The atmosphere from the recording of the fan song "Slatka mala Domovino" We are still doing the mastering, I believe that the song will be out a few hours before the game and that the players and fans will be able to listen to it."

Creator Hrvoje Podobnik Gero reveals how the song came to life. 

"I sang the chorus of the song 4 months ago. It was in the midst of the struggle of the civic initiative to save Požega Square from the intention to turn it into a concrete sidewalk. I guess that's when the patriotic charge awoke in me. In my sleep, I came out of the playing field and the fans sang "Sweet little homeland, my country Croatia, you gave me your heart, I will give you everything". I woke up and sang a chorus on my cell phone. When I woke up in the morning I couldn’t remember the chorus but luckily I recorded it.

I didn't have inspiration for the rest of the lyrics since I only got it a week before the first game. I immediately threw myself into filming, found a producer and people who wanted to participate. It was very tricky to perform this, I really did my best and I hope the fans will accept the song well.

The most important thing for me is that the players hear it before the match with the Czech Republic and that it gives them an incentive to win," said Gero. 

Sweet little homeland, my country Croatia.
You gave me your heart, now I will give it to you.

Do you think this song will give Croatia the motivation they need to win tonight? We do! 

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Thursday, 17 June 2021

Lovren Returns to Squad and More from Dalic ahead of Czech Republic and Croatia in Glasgow

June 17, 2021 - The Czech Republic and Croatia meet in Glasgow on Friday for their second Group D match. 

The day before the big clash with the Czech Republic, Zlatko Dalic and Dejan Lovren appeared in front of journalists, meaning that the head of defense returned to the Croatia squad, reports Jutarnji List

There has been a lot of speculation in recent days about the lineup for the Czech Republic, which Croatia must beat to advance to the second round. Lovren has been training at full speed again in recent days after an injury, and it is now clear that he will still start in the 2nd round and help Croatia in the hunt for their first points at the EURO.

Croatia lost in the first round to England (1:0), and the Czech Republic beat Scotland (2:0).

"Every defeat is hard for everyone, including us, even if it was at Wembley to England. We know that everything is still in our hands, we have a good atmosphere, and we desperately need the right result. I am optimistic about the matches against England and Belgium in which we were equal with the best teams in the world. We miss the attacking game; if we don’t fix it, we won’t do well. Therefore, we will put a more offensive team, play over the flanks and look for one-on-one actions. Everyone is ready except Barišić," said Zlatko Dalić to begin.

"There will be some changes in the lineup because we will arrange the game a little more offensively. We miss finishing and breakthroughs. I was the first to say that we were too weak in London, that we didn't have enough players to finish, that we lacked one-on-one breakthroughs. Without chances and goals, of course, there are no results."

Does the team have a winning spirit?

"We are not in a comfortable situation like the Czechs; we need a victory that would give us even more self-confidence. The guys are aware of that. I do not see any problems in that regard; we are motivated, we are ready."

He then pointed out something else:

"We are in a tough situation because we play away, without our fans who are our strength, without them, we are in a huge deficit, and we really miss that. Look at Denmark's support. Half of the teams play at home, we travel. It is not fair to us that there will be so few spectators in the stands."

A Scottish journalist asked Dalic about Borna Barišić and whether his absence was a great loss.

"It is a great pity for us that he is injured. He played great for the Rangers; when he arrived for the preparations, he got injured again, and he was not in the right shape and completely ready. We left him at home to prepare better; we need him for Scotland. So we have to give another player a chance."

On adapting from warm Rovinj to cold Glasgow, he said:

"We had nice weather in Rovinj; it was too hot in London and tough to run, it will be easier to play here in Glasgow. We will do our best."

Stopper Dejan Lovren has recovered from an injury that kept him out of games for a long time.

"I feel perfect, I am positive, I am available to the coach. I’m ready to play, and the coach decides. We expect a pretty tough game, but we have to play it the right way," said Lovren.

What kind of match can we expect?

"I expect a hard game. They feel more comfortable. They have a team that has been playing for years. We have to play smart, to do everything that the coach asks of us. No calculation, let's go for three points."

What do you expect between England and Scotland?

"We are not a team that will look at the other, only if we have to. We depend only on ourselves, and that is most important. We will concentrate on the Czech Republic. Everything is in our hands. It will not be easy for England against Scotland."

Lovren said he has been following Euro matches.

"I don't have anything smarter to do. We can single out France and Italy, and the biggest favorite, in my opinion, is France. However, Italy is also extraordinary, at the moment among the three best teams," concluded Lovren.

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Monday, 14 June 2021

EURO 2020: Zlatko Dalić Reveals Croatia Lineup Change against Czech Republic

June 14, 2021 - Coach Zlatko Dalić revealed a Croatia lineup change in their next EURO 2020 match against the Czech Republic on Friday. 

Croatia opened its EURO 2020 campaign with a defeat on Sunday at Wembley, in front of 18,000 fans. England topped Zlatko Dalić's side 1:0 with a goal by Raheem Sterling in the second half.

One day later, Dalić addressed the public from Rovinj, where the Croatia team returned this morning, reports Sportske Novosti

Are changes being prepared for the next match against the Czech Republic? What is the atmosphere like? How much did the defeat leave a mark on the team?

"We're not going to spoil the atmosphere much. We lost to one of the Euro favorites. We'll be, I hope, in better shape. We weren't good enough; not good enough to win. We thought we'd withstand the pressure and then get a draw. The match was actually like that except for that mistake where we were all half a step late and conceded a goal. We were not good enough for the victory, but not much worse than England. I am aware, and it is obvious to me that we are not good up top. We lack more action, more depth, and more entry into space. This is a problem that I am aware of, we have to solve it, and if we do not solve it - it will not be good. Tactically we played a very good game. We reduced England to two shots on goal."

Has winning the silver in Russia disturbed Croatia's perspective and current strength?

"We are not realistic. We look at everything differently than others. I can't understand that a big problem could be created from this defeat. We were not bad. We, I repeat, miss that attacking game. Our reality is passing the group and then let's do our best step by step in the knockout phase. I'll consider it a success. We tried, but we weren't good enough to beat England."

Second place is better for Croatia?

"I'm just thinking about going through the group. And then, the knockout phase follows. We have to think about ourselves, fix the game forward. It won't be easy against Scotland and the Czech Republic either. I'm an optimist, so I can't be a pessimist after Belgium and England."

There is a lot of talk about the role of Kramarić on the wing. How satisfied are you, and what did you get from that experiment?

"I would love to see a coach who will come to Wembley and not give the players a task in defense. Andrej had a task on the right to close Tripper in the defense, and in the attack, he had full freedom. He went inside and in that way to make it as easy as possible for him - to receive the ball from the side, which he was trying to do. It's not easy against the best players. He played well for me."

The Czech Republic is next. 

"Now we have to go for the win. We have to be more offensive now, especially because we see that we are waiting in the attack, that there are few of us to finish, and that we have no entry into space and vertical balls. We'll work on that. We have to get the most out of it; we need to win."

How important are experienced players like Modric to continue?

"Luka is our engine that pulls all this. Experience is significant, especially in big competitions and tournament matches. Luka means a lot here."

What is the situation with Borna Barišić's injury?

"After arriving in Rovinj, he skipped two training sessions due to an injury he had in Scotland. Unfortunately, he is not in the condition he was with his club all year. We are waiting for the MRI results; the official result is at 5 pm. It's a handicap and bad luck for us, especially because we play in Scotland, on his pitch."

How satisfied are you with the camp in Rovinj?

"We are delighted with the conditions. With the hotel, the food, the field, but we don't have our peace. For example, you wrote, 'Dalic is preparing a surprise, and then on the front pages two days ago they published the lineup. So we don't have that peace, and that's the problem of that camp that we don't have peace, that we can't be closed. That's certainly not good, but that's not a reason now. I can't change that and what it is, is there."

There will be changes against the Czech Republic.

"Honestly, we are only starting to analyze them today and will watch the match. After that, we will be smarter. They have good individuals, have improved a lot, and have a young and strong team. We know we have to go for the win. Today Lovren had an MRI. We have to change both the system and the way and try to open the game differently. Be sure to be more offensive and look for more penetration. There will be a change."

"I didn't know the England lineup until the morning before the game."

"We won't win or lose a game if someone saw something in training. Every day there is speculation. This one plays, that one plays ... People read what's going on in training, then they comment, and it gets sucked into the players. Then there is controversy, that's what's not good and what we don't need. Well, we don't have to write everything right away; you won't get a higher salary if you write that the marker got this or that. You’re there to comment on the training, to look at it, not to turn out like I’m preparing a surprise, and then who’s playing comes out on the cover. I didn’t know the lineup until the morning before the game, but they knew two days before. But you are doing your job, and I appreciate that" concluded Dalić.

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Monday, 14 June 2021

EURO 2020: Why Second Place in Group D is Better for Croatia

June 14, 2021 - England and Croatia met on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London to open Group D of EURO 2020. Only one goal decided the winner, which England scored in the 57th minute. But is getting first place in the group really the best option? A look at why second place in Group D is better for Croatia. 

Croatia met host England on Sunday in front of 22,500 fans - 22,000 of which were for England. Croatia was not only up against England's home-pitch advantage, but because of the strict COVID-19 measures still in place in the, only Croatia fans already inside of the UK were able to make it to the game. While there weren't many, they certainly stood out in their red and white checks at Wembley Stadium.

While Croatia's first 15 minutes of play were shaky, with England hitting the far post already in the first few minutes of the match, they found their footing after the 20th minute and moved up with pitch with attacking plays, but were still plagued with the same issue as always - scoring. 

Otherwise, the match between England and Croatia was incredibly even, which you can see displayed in the statistics below. 

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But is Croatia's loss to England so bad, after all? When talking about the group stage and crossover in the round of 16 - not at all. 

Since UEFA implemented the current competition format at the 2016 European Championships, in which 16 of the 24 national teams participating advance to the second round, four points are enough for the knockout phase, and maybe even three. In simpler terms, this means a single victory. 

Two national teams advance to the round of 16 from each of the six groups, followed by the top four third-place teams. 

Losing at Wembley is really not such a bad thing, because the team that finishes first in Group D will crossover with the 'group of death,' playing the second-place team of Group F, which includes France, Portugal, Germany, and Hungary.

This draw is far more difficult than getting second place in Group D, which crosses over with the second-placed team from Group E (Spain, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia) in the round of 16. If Croatia finishes third, they will play the winner of Group B (likely Belgium), the winner of Group E (likely Spain), or the winner of Group C (Netherlands). Thus, winning four to six points in the two remaining games will cement the second-place spot. 

Croatia will play next on Friday, June 18, against the Czech Republic in Glasgow. 

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Sunday, 13 June 2021

England Tops Croatia 1:0 in EURO 2020 Group D Opener at Wembley

June 13, 2021 - England tops Croatia 1:0 in the EURO 2020 Group D opener at Wembley on Sunday. 

England and Croatia met in the first round match of EURO 2020 Group D at Wembley on Sunday. Around 22,500 fans were said to be in the stands, and not nearly as many Croatia fans as hoped due to the Amber list restrictions in the UK. However, the few present at the stadium were loud - and the red and white checks spiced up the already warm Wembley atmosphere. It was almost 30 degrees Celcius! 

The lineups were released an hour before kickoff, with no real surprises on either side given the coach announcements and training over the last few days. 

Lineups:

England: Pickford - Trippier, Mings, Stones, Walker - Mount, Rice, Phillips - Sterling, Kane, Foden

Croatia: Livaković - Guardiol, Ćaleta-Car, Vida, Vrsaljko - Brozović - Perišić, Kovačić, Modrić, Kramarić - Rebić

The match started promptly at 14:00 GMT.

England pressed a bit in the first few minutes of the match but Croatia worked their way up the pitch in the 4th minute, with brilliant passing between Modric, Kovacic, and Perisic into the box. England had a dangerous chance in the 5th minute which fortunately hit the far post. 

Sterling worked his way into Croatia's box three minutes later. Croatia was lucky it went out for a corner. Livakovic made a stellar save in goal to keep the score equal.

England continued to threaten Croatia's half, with the stadium on their side. An England free kick in the 16th found Kane who was in the offside position. 

England was in Croatia's box for the few minutes that followed. A shaky Croatia defense still managed to clear out anything from England, but barely. 

Croatia began making their way up the pitch from the 22nd minute and maintained good possession. The ref was hesitant to award a foul on Luka Modric. 

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Slobodan Kadic 

A Croatia cross into the box was headed out by the England defense, and a Gvardiol cross moments later went out for a goal kick. 

Sterling shot over Croatia's goal in the 25th minute. Another great Croatia attacking play saw Vrsaljko nutmeg the England defense and find Perisic across the box who shot wide. Croatia was looking less nervous and more like a team. 

Mi Hrvati could be heard in the stands. 

A left-footed Vrsaljko cross went across the box and just missed Gvardiol in the 28th minute. England was sloppy in the next few minutes, passing two careless balls out. 

Luka's fancy footwork in the midfield was a joy to watch, as always. 

England finally made it back into Croatia's half in the 33rd minute. A fab Foden touch found Walker but was fortunately miscommunicated. 

Kovacic showed on the pitch his Premier League prowess, masterfully working his way in the Croatia midfield all half. 

England was awarded a free-kick just outside Croatia's box in the 41st minute. Caleta-Car was shown a yellow card. Trippier shot right into Croatia's wall (Perisic's head). 

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Slobodan Kadic

Gvardiol, Perisic, and Rebic were quick to attack the box with a minute to go, but the England defense remained solid. Vrsaljko cleared out their last chance of the half. 

It was an uncertain start but Croatia found their footing for the second part of the first half, which ended 0:0. 

The second half started with no changes for either side. Mateo Kovacic was shown a yellow card three minutes in. 

Kramaric was brilliant back on defense and played a perfect ball to Rebic down the right-wing which went out for a Croatia ball. A killer Modric nutmeg found Rebic again but nothing came of the play. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Vrsaljko was hesitant to go into a tackle with Trippier who ran the ball down England's left side. Brozovic was there to end the attack, and Modric was fouled for the Croatia ball. 

Kramaric continued creating chances in the midfield, finding Perisic on the left. Luka took a shot in the 54th minute which was an easy one for Pickford to save. 

A mishap in the Croatia defense saw an England through ball to Sterling who scored for 1:0 in the 57th minute. England maintained possession for the minutes that followed. Another chance for Croatia in the 60th minute went for a corner. 

Croatia had a good chance in the 64th minute but Rebic shot wide of the goal.  

A quick England counter resulted in a Brozovic yellow card and free-kick just outside the Croatia box. Mount hit over the goal. 

A Croatia corner found Brozovic who also shot wide. Dalic subbed on Vlasic for Brozovic and Brekalo for Kramaric. England subbed on Rashford for Foden a the same time.  

Croatia was dangerous in the 72nd minute, but a Vrsaljko cross went out for a goal kick. Dalic subbed on Petkovic for Rebic in the 78th minute. Dalic was after a goal with not much time left. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Harry Kane was subbed off for Bellingham in the 81st minute. 

Mateo Kovacic was subbed off for Mario Pasalic in the 85th minute. A Croatia free-kick straight after was played offside. 

Four minutes were added to the end of the match in which Pasalic had a brilliant chance in the final second, but Croatia was unable to score. The match ended 1:0 for England. 

The Czech Republic and Scotland are also in Group D and play their first match on Monday. The first two teams in each group and the four best third-placed teams advance to the round of 16. 

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Saturday, 12 June 2021

England and Croatia Meet Again in EURO 2020 Group D Opener on Sunday: What to Expect?

June 12, 2021 - England and Croatia meet again, this time in the EURO 2020 Group D opener at Wembley Stadium in London. 

The day before the match, Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić appeared before the press.

"They are playing in front of their audience, opening the Euro; I expect them to be quite aggressive and challenging, a fighting game. We are ready; we have worked well these seven days; we are preparing," said Luka Modrić.

Was England arrogant at the World Cup?

"That arrogance didn't apply so much to the players and the England team, more to the journalists, commentators, and people around. In the last few days, I haven't dealt with those journalists too much, so we are focused on the game and not on what is being said from the sidelines," Modrić said.

English journalists questioned Modrić about Croatia's tactics, who answered politely:

"What, would you like me to reveal all of our tactics? You will see everything on the field tomorrow," said the Real Madrid midfielder.

About the fans:

"We will miss the fans, and it would be nice if they could come and support us in large numbers because their presence helps us a lot and gives us extra energy. As for the camp and staying in Rovinj, in my opinion, it is not a problem, and we have our peace, even though we are in Croatia." 

Coach Zlatko Dalić pointed out that Croatia will establish possession and play high pressure.

"We are aware that we are playing against a great team and one of the favorites to win the Euros. We have to be compact, aggressive, and combative. We will not just come to defend ourselves; we will try to make a good result and start the championship successfully. We will try to get our chances through possession," Dalić began.

He said that Croatia was ready for both formations that Southgate could use - three at the back or four at the back.

"Whatever system the England coach uses, we will be ready. They have great quality, especially in the attack. We want to be those who will have possession of the ball and the opportunity; we will not just defend. England is always dangerous if they play with four backs and even more dangerous with three. We must resist the pressure. I don't think they can surprise us, nor can we surprise them."

Dalić is likely to start Croatia with Livaković - Vrsaljko, Vida, Ćaleta-Car, Gvardiol - Brozović - Kramarić, Modrić, Kovačić, Perišić - Rebić.

Croatia and England have a vibrant history over the last 15 years. They played last in the Nations League in 2018. England celebrated 2:1, but Croatia knocked them out of the World Cup semifinal just a few months before. 

England is also still trying to get revenge on Croatia for knocking them out of Euro 2008 when Bilić's side won 3:2. However, England won 5:1 in the World Cup qualifiers at Wembley to get Croatia back. 

England is the favorite to win this time around, especially playing at home with mostly England fans in the stands, but if football has taught us anything, it's that anything can happen. 

The Czech Republic and host Scotland meet on Monday. The top two national teams from each group and the four best third-placed teams will advance to the round of 16.

Source Gol.hr

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

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