Friday, 12 November 2021

Croatia U21s Top Estonia 2:0 in Pula, Record 5th Win in 2023 Euro Qualifiers

November 12, 2021 - The Croatia U21 team continued their winning streak in the 2023 Euro qualifiers, topping Estonia 2:0 in Pula on Thursday night. 

The Croatia U21 national football team recorded its fifth consecutive victory in Group A of the 2023 Euro qualifiers, defeating Estonia 2:0 in Pula. Roko Šimić (39) and Jurica Pršir (62) scored Croatia's goals. 

Croatia was already a step closer to the victory in the 5th minute. Baturina shot from the right but hit the post. Pršir shot on goal in the 39th minute, but Šimić solidly put the rebound into the net. It was his sixth goal in these qualifiers.

In the second half, Croatia continued to dominate. In the 55th minute, Kačavenda shot from the outside and hit the crossbar. Croatia resolved all doubts about who would win in the 62nd minute when Pršir scored a great goal from more than 20 meters. 

Croatia calmly kept the lead until the end of the match and continued their perfect series in the 2023 Euro qualifications.

Croatia leads the group with a maximum of 15 points and a goal difference of 14-3, and Norway is second with 9 points and a game less, while Austria has the same number of points. Estonia is last with six defeats and a 0-19 goal difference.

The winners of the nine groups and the best second-placed national team will directly qualify for the 2023 European Championships, which will be held from June 9 to July 2 in Romania and Georgia. 

The remaining eight runners-up will play in additional qualifiers for four more teams at the European Championships. 

RESULTS:

Croatia - Estonia 2-0 (Šimić 39, Pršir 62)

On Friday, November 12, Azerbaijan will host Austria, and Norway will host Finland. 

Standings

1. CROATIA 5 5 0 0 14-3 15

2. Norway 4 3 0 1 13-4 9

3. Austria 5 3 0 2 14-6 9

4. Finland 4 2 1 1 7-4 7

5. Azerbaijan 4 0 1 3 2-14 1

6. Estonia 6 0 0 6 0-19 0

Austria will host Croatia in the next 2023 Euro qualifier on November 16. 

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

 

Thursday, 11 November 2021

One Step Closer: Croatia Crush Malta 7:1 in Penultimate 2022 World Cup Qualifier!

November 11, 2021 - Croatia crush Malta 7:1 in the penultimate Group H 2022 World Cup qualifier. The match against Russia on Sunday at Poljud will decide which team goes to Qatar next year. 

The Croatia national team played the penultimate qualifying match to qualify for the 2022 World Cup against Malta on Thursday in Valletta.

The Croatia lineup had a few surprises. Ivo Grbić started in goal instead of Dominik Livaković, with Juranović, Ćaleta-Car, Guardiol, and Sosa in the defense. Lovro Majer joined Modrić, Brozović, Pašalić, and Perišić in the midfield, and Andrej Kramarić started at the top of the attack.

MALTA (3-4-3): Bonello - Shaw, Agius (C), Pepe - Attard, Cristensen, Teuma, Camenzuli - J. Mbong, Montebello, Degabriele

CROATIA (4-2-3-1): Grbić - Juranović, Ćaleta Car, Gvardiol, Sosa - Brozović, Modrić (C) - Majer, Pašalić, Perišić - Kramarić

After Russia topped Cyprus in their second-to-last Group H match (6:0), Croatia had no room to make a mistake against Malta. And they didn't. 

Recap

Kramarić had the first chance of the game already in the 2nd minute but shot over the crossbar. But Croatia's first goal came just 4 minutes later. Modrić and Kramarić took advantage of the keeper's high position to find Perišić alone at the top of the box for 0:1 Croatia! It was Perišić's third goal in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. 

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Slobodan Kadić

Croatia's pressure only increased in the next two minutes, with Sosa attacking up the left-wing and Modrić nailing a shot at the keeper. 

Gvardiol scored in the 12th minute which was called offside, and Malta scored from offside a minute later! An exciting first 15 minutes kept us on the edge of our seats, but the most important thing was that Croatia stayed ahead.

Croatia finally increased their lead in the 22nd minute. A Modrić free kick found the head of Ćaleta-Car for 0:2!  

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Slobodan Kadić

Unfortunately, Croatia's defense was caught in the 31st minute, resulting in an own goal by Brozović for 1:2. 

It didn't take long for Croatia to get back to a comfortable result. An incredible ball from Majer found Kramarić alone on a counterattack. Pašalić ran into open space to score for 1:3 in the 39th minute! 

And the first half wouldn't be complete without a goal from the captain. A brilliant backheel from Pašalić found Luka at the top of the box for 1:4 - and Modrić's 20th Croatia goal! 

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Slobodan Kadić

Kristijan Jakić replaced Brozović to start the second half as Dalić needs Broz fresh against Russia. And there was not much need for him anyway - Kramarić assisted Majer's goal in the 47th minute for 1:5 Croatia! 

And then another one just 5 minutes later - Kramarić took advantage of an empty goal for 1:6 Croatia in the 52nd minute!

Dalić subbed on Oršić, Petković, and Vlašić for Perišić, Kramarić, and Modrić in the 53rd minute. Livaja was subbed on for Pašalić in the 61st minute. 

Majer was on fire, scoring his second goal of the game in the 63rd minute for an incredible 1:7 Croatia! 

Croatia dominated for the remainder of the match but was unable to increase their lead. The match ended 1:7 for Croatia! 

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Slobodan Kadić

Croatia and Russia will meet in the final Group H World Cup qualifier on Sunday at Poljud Stadium in Split. The winner will directly qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.  

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

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Zlatko Dalić Believes Sold-Out Poljud is Best Croatia Motivation for 2022 World Cup

November 11, 2021 - The Croatia national football team will face Malta on Thursday night in the penultimate sprint to the World Cup in Qatar. Zlatko Dalić believes the best motivation for Croatia is a sold-out Poljud on Sunday against Russia.

There are two more games left, and Croatia has everything at its fingertips. However, the calculation is quite clear, and with the victories against Malta and Russia, Croatia will qualify for the 2022 World Cup, reports HNS.

"We know that two victories separate us from the World Cup in Qatar, and our thoughts are focused on Malta. It is an opponent that we respect to the maximum, but of course, we are the favorites in that game because we are of better quality in every segment of the game. However, we have to show that on the pitch and play a good and serious game. We have to be patient; only three points are important, how to get them is less important. So, first Malta and only then we can start thinking about Russia," points out the coach Zlatko Dalić, who faced the health problems of several players before the decisive qualifying matches.

"Yesterday, three players skipped training with the rest of the team; Brekalo, Livaja, and Sučić worked individually. We will see their condition. We took 27 players to Malta because of injuries, coronavirus tests, and we didn't want to leave anything to chance. Against Malta, we need offensive players in the first place, and in that direction, we will set up the game and determine the players who will be on the bench. So, there are no personal interests, only the interest of the Croatia national team, and qualifying for the World Cup is important. Luka Modrić? He trained, everything was fine, but of course, the virus left a little mark on him. However, I do not doubt that Luka will be OK, and if everything goes well, he will start the game against Malta." 

As much as the coach indicates that players must be armed with patience, the ideal scenario in the match against Malta would be an early goal. 

"It would be nice to open the game with an early goal, but the most important thing is not to get nervous if that doesn't happen. We had more than an hour of fighting in Rijeka against Malta, who held at 0:0 for a long time - Cyprus too, the whole half. So, we should not get nervous and panic if we don’t score a goal on time. I told the players that we have to be brave, and at the same time, I think we have to overcome all the temptations we may face. Of course, it would be nice if we secured three points as soon as possible to rest some players, but I don't think that way. We have to enter the game as men. Malta strives to outplay more than Cyprus, that is their style of play, but it is up to us to prevent their patterns through the game." 

Dalić claims that the players do not need special psychological preparation before the match against Malta. Here's why:

"If we look at our last five games, the energy is high. There are a lot of young players among us who are eager and motivated. So, you don't need a bigger motive than the World Cup and going to Qatar. It’s one thing, and on the other hand, you know if you beat Malta that a full Poljud and an atmosphere that happens maybe once in a lifetime is waiting for you. That must be the biggest motive for our players. We have to think about it, but we must not fall into the pressure trap and execute ourselves for it. Goalkeepers? We'll see. Livaković did not lose his position and our trust. At the moment, we are looking at who is in the best shape, and no one who will not play tomorrow has lost their position in the team. However, we are looking at the form and condition of the players; those who are the best and most ready at the moment will play," concluded Dalić.

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

Monday, 8 November 2021

"First Malta, then Russia at Poljud": Dalić Readies for Croatia's Final 2022 World Cup Qualifiers

November 8, 2021 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić is maximally focused on the upcoming decisive matches for a spot at the World Cup in Qatar next year. Croatia plays Malta first away (November 11), then Russia at Poljud (November 14),

Dalić points out that the first game is the most important, reports HNS.

"We have two games ahead of us; two victories separate us from our goal. Given the state we have been in the last five games, I am optimistic. The first game that comes is always the most important. Malta is very important because, with a victory, we open the fight for first place in Split against Russia. Of course, Malta is an opponent who cannot match us, but we must be serious, patient, and responsible. Malta has been training for seven days, they want to oppose us, but if we are good, we will win. At no point do I want, nor will I talk about Russia until Split. There is no talk about Russia," says Dalić, who referred to the team's current condition. 

"Kovačić dropped out before, and we will miss him very much. Brekalo will come to the gathering, we will do an examination, and if something suspicious comes about and he is not ready, he will return to his club. Thanks to Ivan Jurić and Turin for allowing us to do that; if he is not one hundred percent ready, he will continue to recover at his club. Sučić suffered an unpleasant blow, so he will also have a check-up, and captain Modrić is much better, and we will see what will happen with him in the next two or three days. Luka had a fever; he had a virus, and couldn't compete in Real's last game. Of course, this is not an ideal situation, we will try to train him for Malta, but if he is not one hundred percent, we will not force him because we need the readiest players for Malta. However, I hope that Luka will be OK."

The day before the national team gathering, the coach subsequently sent invitations to Bruno Petković and Lovro Majer.

"We have two games ahead of us, during which we can only win. So we have nothing to defend and calculate; we need to be at a high level in the attack. Majer left a very good impression in September, then, unfortunately, he got injured, but now he is healthy and brings us more quality in that segment of the game. And Petković's quality was not disputable; it just didn't have continuity. He has raised his form in the last games, and he can help us with his qualities. We will have an exceptional 25 players; we must not allow any surprises so as not to get stuck at the last minute. Petković and Majer are in very good shape, and there were no doubts. Petković's position? In the position he plays at Dinamo. We have the best players in the world - Brozović and Modrić; he must finish for the national team, and a goal is important to us against Malta and Russia. So, Bruno will be used as a striker."

As a coach, Dalić has already led decisive matches on several occasions, so the current situation is not unusual.

"The pressure is always there, but I don't feel it. These are important matches for us because we want to avoid tough additional qualifications, but there is always pressure and desire without which you cannot work properly. We have to be ready for everything, expectations are high, but we are going step by step."

Given the frequent injuries, the coach has rotated a lot of players in the defense. But now, everyone is ready.

"And my wish is to have a standard team. In Russia, there were always eleven players who started matches, but now, I was forced to rotate due to the circumstances. We changed, we tried, it took seven days to distribute the forces. The players play from Wednesday - Sunday, viruses happen, immunity drops, fatigue occurs, and I have to take care of all that. Croatia has not been so powerful in stopper positions for a long time; we have great players in big clubs. The best ones will play, while Gvardiol has the advantage over everyone. He is left-footed and plays well at his club. And we finally have a left-footer in the position of the left stopper. We will see who will play on the right side."

Before the match against Russia, Dalić does not want to leave anything to chance.

"In Malta, for the first time in my term, we will stay there to sleep after the game. The match in Split is played at 3 pm, so we need to try to make sure that we get a good rest before Russia. We have to beat Malta, and after that, we will see what condition we are in. I really don't mean to worry about whether we will keep a player for Russia. Of course, we will rest some players in case of a favorable result, but let's not talk about Russia. I know that the focus is on that game, but for me, Russia is not a topic until we beat Malta," concluded the coach.

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

Friday, 5 November 2021

Largest Croatia Fan Procession Expected before Russia World Cup Qualifier at Poljud

November 5, 2021 - The largest Croatia fan procession ever is expected ahead of the Croatia-Russia World Cup qualifier at Poljud Stadium in Split on November 14. 

All available tickets for the match between Croatia and Russia have been sold. A packed Poljud of about 33,000 fans will cheer on Croatia in an attempt to win first place and secure a spot in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. That is, assuming Croatia wins in Malta three days earlier. 

Tickets went on sale October 25 at 1 pm, and hours later all tickets for the west and east stands were claimed. In the following days, tickets for the remaining sectors in the north and south stands were taken, sold from 80 to 200 kuna.

HNS announced that there will be no ticket sales at the box office and that in the coming days some free tickets may appear on the Internet if the customers who ordered them do not pay on time.

Fans who come to the match are invited to the Riva waterfront, where the largest Croatia fan procession in history, with between 20,000 and 30,000 people, is expected in honor of the 30th anniversary of Vukovar. Fans will head towards the stadium from 12:30 on November 14. Kickoff at Poljud is scheduled for 3 pm. 

All fans coming to the stadium must have an EU digital covid certificate with a valid QR code to be checked at the entrance. Certificates of vaccination or illness or various test results will not be recognized.

Children under the age of 12 do not have to have a certificate if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian who has a valid certificate and a ticket, and HNS will provide rapid antigen testing to fans who do not have a digital certificate.

Tickets for the match in Malta, which will be played on November 11 at 8:45 pm at the Ta'Qali National Stadium, went on sale from Thursday at the price of 80 kuna.

In Malta, however, only people with full vaccination against the coronavirus or those who have recovered from Covid AND have received at least one dose of the vaccine are allowed. This does not only apply to children aged five to 11, who need a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours.

Source: 24 Sata

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

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Young Croatian Diaspora Footballers Choosing Homeland Over Germany

November 3, 2021 - Young Croatian diaspora footballers are increasingly choosing to play for the homeland instead of where they were born. 

Having the honor of wearing Croatia's famous red-and-white checks is not to be taken lightly, and Ivan Rakitić may be considered a pioneer for this generation of footballers after choosing to play for Croatia over his birth country of Switzerland. 

Today, the diaspora is once again reshaping the ranks of the Croatia national football team. Recall, Josip Stanišić from Bayern and Luka Sučić from Salzburg have already made their debut for the A-team. In the younger categories, there are more and more players who were born outside Croatia but decided to play for their beloved Vatreni, reports Gol.hr.

Franjo Ivanović from Augsburg and Gabrijel Vidović from Bayern have been mentioned for a long time as young members of the Croatia national team, and the U19 coach Josip Šimunić has invited two new names.

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Jakov Šuver, stopper of Stuttgart's second team, and Noah Phil Pesch from Bayer Leverkusen will soon debut for the Croatia U19 team!

Pesch's story is exciting. He may not have a Croatian name and surname, but Croatia is very much in his heart.

He is only 16 years old, born to a German father, while his mother comes from the vicinity of Zadar. Noah Phil has already played for the national teams of Germany. Still, his love for Croatia was decisive, and his grandfather on his mother's side, whom Noah adores, also played a significant role.

Noah has a year older brother Leon, who has already played for the younger Croatia national teams.

Noah Phil went through preparations with Bayer Leverkusen last summer at just 16 years old and got a chance in a few friendly matches. He is currently playing for the juniors and could soon enter the first team.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Luka Modrić Becomes First Croat to Wear Real Madrid Captain Armband

October 31, 2021 - The Real Madrid captain armband was worn by a Croatian footballer for the first time in history on Saturday, and it's no surprise that Croatia captain Luka Modrić had the honor. 

In the Real Madrid victory against Elche (2:1), Luka Modić had the honor of wearing the captain's armband of one of the biggest clubs in the world. The Croatia captain also wore it for the first time in his career, reports Index.hr.

Real returned to the top of the table with their victory in this match, and the hero was Vinicius Junior, who scored both goals. He scored first in the 22nd minute, after an assist by Diaz, and then shook the net after Modrić's assist in the 73rd minute.

The home side played with a man down from the 63rd minute after Guti received a second yellow card but again scored in the 86th minute. The shooter was Milla, but Elche couldn't do more than that.

Modrić left the pitch in the 84th minute when Camavinga replaced him. The Croatian midfielder was wearing the captain's armband of the great Real at that moment, taking it in the 65th minute when Marcelo was subbed off, and then handed it over to Carvajal when he walked off. 

So far, six Croats have played for Real Madrid. Apart from Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Robert Prosinečki, Robert Jarni, Igor Jovićević and Davor Šuker played for the royal club.

Modrić has played 401 games for Real and is currently 20th on the list of players with the most appearances for the Madrid team, with whom he was twice champion of Spain and four times champion of Europe.

"Modrić just keeps on going with Real Madrid. The Croatian played his 400th Real Madrid game in the Clasico victory at Camp Nou. The midfielder has racked up 261 wins and scored 28 goals during that time. He has won everything in his 10 seasons with the team: 4 Champions League titles, 4 Club World Cups, 3 European Super Cups, 2 LaLiga titles, 1 Copa del Rey and 3 Spanish Super Cups.
 
Modrić's games for Real Madrid have come in six competitions: 272 in LaLiga, 89 in the Champions League, 22 in the Copa del Rey, 7 in the Spanish Super Cup, 6 in the Club World Cup and 4 in the European Super Cup. His highest number of appearances in one campaign was in the 2012/13 season, with 53," wrote Real Madrid on its website last week. 

"It's incredible, I'm very proud to have played 400 games for Real Madrid. I'm very happy and very proud. I hope to keep playing more games and to see how many more games I can play," said Modrić on his achievement. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Friday, 15 October 2021

Decisive Croatia-Russia World Cup Qualifier at Poljud: UEFA Sets Time, Tickets Soon

October 14, 2021 - The decisive Croatia-Russia World Cup qualifier at Poljud on Sunday, November 14, will be played at 3 pm. Tickets should be announced by HNS soon. 

In exactly one month, the Croatia national football team will play in Split, at Poljud Stadium, against Russia. Not only is it their final qualifier for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but the winner of the match will secure a direct spot at the next World Cup and avoid rather difficult additional qualifications. 

Russia and Croatia are in a dead race for first place in Group H, the only spot that leads directly to Qatar. After drawing against Slovakia in Osijek, Croatia will need a victory against Russia to take them directly to the World Cup. Any other result leads Zlatko Dalić's team to a tricky playoff round, and Russia directly to Qatar. This is, of course, assuming Croatia defeats Malta three days before the big battle in Split, on November 11.

Fans can be happy that Croatia plays against Russia on Sunday, November 14, meaning many do not have to take the day off from work. A full Poljud stadium is to be expected. 

UEFA has confirmed the date on its official website, as well as the time. Thus, Croatia and Russia will meet at 3 pm, which isn't as common as the 9 pm clashes we are used to watching. However, it should be taken into account that four groups will be playing final qualifying matches on that day.

Namely, Croatia, as well as its opponents in Group H, will start at 3 pm, Group J will be played from 6 pm, and Groups B and A from 8:45 pm. 

Tickets for the Croatia-Russia match are not yet on sale, though the Croatian Football Federation should soon announce the prices and when ticket sales will begin. It will be one match football fans won't want to miss. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Croatia U21s Record 4th Win in 2023 Euro Qualifiers, Top Azerbaijan 5:1

October 12, 2021 - The Croatia U21s have recorded their 4th win in four rounds of the 2023 Euro qualifiers, this time defeating Azerbaijan 5:1!

The Croatia U21s defeated Azerbaijan 5:1 in Sumgayit in the 2023 European Championship qualifiers on Tuesday. It was Croatia's 4th game in Group A.

Igor Bišćan's side thus recorded four victories in the first four rounds of qualifications, with a goal difference of 12:3, and leads the top of the group with 12 points.

Croatia did the job in the first 45 minutes when the excellent hat-trick was scored by the great Roko Šimić (9', 13', 44' penalty). Nikola Soldo (25') also scored in the first half, and the victory of Croatia was confirmed in the 81st minute by Josip Šutalo. The only goal scorer for Azerbaijan was Musa Gurbanli (55' penalty).

The son of former Croatia star Darijo Šimić scored in the ninth minute on Kačavenda's pass, and only three minutes later he scored the fourth goal in his fourth appearance for the U21 national team after a shot by Čolina and a bad intervention by goalkeeper Merbalijev.

In the 25th minute, Lokomotiva midfielder Soldo increased the lead to 3:0 after a free kick by Palaversa. Valizade played with his hand in the penalty area a minute before the end of the half, and Roko Šimić scored a hat-trick from the penalty spot in the first half. 

Azerbaijan reduced the score in the 55th minute when Šutalo committed a foul on Gurbanli, and the same player was accurate from the penalty spot. In the 69th minute, Azerbaijan had to play with a man down after the exclusion of Valizade, and in the 81st minute, Šutalo hit the net with his head for the final 5:1.

In other group matches, Norway defeated Estonia 3:0 in Drammen, while Finland defeated Austria 3:1 in Tampere.

Croatia leads the table with a maximum of 12 points and a goal difference of 12:3, and Norway is second with nine points, the same as Austria with a game more.

After the introductory win against Azerbaijan in Velika Gorica (2:0), the young Croatia side celebrated 2:0 away against Finland, and last Friday in Varaždin, they defeated Norway 3:2.

Source: HRT

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 11 October 2021

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia and Slovakia Draw 2:2 in Osijek

October 11, 2021 - Croatia and Slovakia draw 2:2 in Osijek on Monday as part of their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. 

After the Croatia national team convincingly won 3:0 against Cyprus on Friday, Croatia continued its 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign in rainy Osijek against Slovakia on Monday.

Before this match, Croatia and Russia led Group H with 16 points each. 

Lineups

Croatia: Livaković - Stanišić, Vida, Gvardiol, Barišić - Brozović, Modrić - Ivanušec, Pašalić, Perišić - Kramarić

Slovakia: Rodak - Koscelnik, Šatka, Škriniar, Hancko - Hrošovsky, Kucka - Schranz, Hamšik, Haraslin - Almasi

Andrej Kramarić thus started at the top of the attack instead of Marko Livaja, Luka Ivanušec took over the right wing, while Borna Barišić filled in for Sosa on left back. Domagoj Vida returned to the stopper position and Ćaleta-Car moved to the bench, while Mario Pašalić was in the starting 11 instead of Nikola Vlašić.

Recall, Zlatko Dalić didn't have Mateo Kovačić available due to yellow cards.

Croatia possessed the game in the first 5 minutes, showing their dominance at home but without any real chances to score. Slovakia certainly pressed up the pitch in the minutes that followed and was awarded their first corner kick in the 9th minute. 

Brozovic and Modric had the best attacking play so far in the 11th minute though the Slovakia keeper denied a shot on goal.  

A Hamšik free kick in the 20th minute found the head on an unmarked Schranz who scored for the 0:1 Slovakia lead. 

Modrić angrily shot far post in the 24th minute which was deflected for a corner. Kramarić scored the equalizer with his head off Modrić's cross for 1:1 and his first national team goal in 13 games! 

Croatia almost took the lead nearing the 30th minute but the Slovakia keeper was brilliant to block Pašalić and keep the score even. Barašić shot two minutes later forcing the keeper to make another save. Kramarić's confidence from scoring could be seen on the pitch as the striker had another great chance. Brozović also tested the Slovakia keeper with a shot in the 37th minute. 

Haraslin, however, was the one to take the lead in the 45th minute for 1:2. Kramarić hit the post in the post in the final seconds of added time. The match ended 1:2 for Slovakia at halftime. 

Dalić subbed on Nikola Vlašić for Luka Ivanušec to start the second half. 

Slovakia came out with a few chances to start the second half, with close calls for Livaković. Kramarić had a brilliant chance in the 57th minute which he shanked off target. 

Pašalić came off for Brekalo in the 59th minute. Modrić had a shot on target in the 60th. 

Perišić and Vlašić had a nice play in the 65th minute which was hit wide of the goal. 

Livaja was subbed on for Stanišić in the 67th minute, showing Dalić's offensive strategy to not only get the equalizer but the win. 

Croatia was awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area in the 69th minute, and Croatia got their chance. Luka Modrić brilliantly hit the ball through the Slovakia wall for 2:2! 

Croatia was awarded another free kick a bit further outside of the penalty area in the 77th minute. Vida almost had a header in the goal in the next play. 

Just when we thought Croatia did it again after a stunning Kramarić ball into the box and Vlašić goal, the referee ruled it offside. 

Brozović almost put Croatia in the lead with 3 minutes to go but weakly shot at the keeper, and Vlašić missed in the 89th. 

The referee added 4 minutes of injury time to the end of the match, in which neither team could score. 

Croatia has two final qualifiers against Malta and Russia next month. 

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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