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

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Friday, 11 June 2021

Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE Comes to Zagreb's Ban Jelačić Square for EURO 2020!

June 11, 2021 - Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE will come to Ban Josip Jelačić Square in Zagreb for the duration of EURO 2020!

The official fan club of the Croatia national football team Mi Hrvati is organizing the largest and most attractive fan zone, Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE, on Ban Josip Jelačić Square in Zagreb for the European Football Championship (EURO 2020) to be held in 11 European cities this summer, reports Gol.hr.

Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE 2021 is the largest fan project in this part of Europe and the most important sports and cultural event of the year. This year's fan zone will be more special than ever before because Croatian fans have been prevented from entering Great Britain without the obligatory ten-day quarantine due to epidemiological measures. Thus, fans will be able to experience the ambiance of the stadium in the country's central football hub - the fan zone on Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb.

Organizationally and production-wise, this year's fan zone will be at the highest level, through a superbly equipped and designed space for outdoor production and activation zones.

All visitors will have the opportunity to watch all European Championship matches on a large LED screen of 40m2. An interesting entertainment program with numerous Croatian performers, a diverse accompanying program, and a rich catering and shopping offer are additionally provided.

Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE will be held, of course, with absolute respect for all current epidemiological measures.

On Friday, June 11, there will be a grand opening of the EURO in Rome, and the Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE in Zagreb, with the performance of Učiteljice from 19:30. An even bigger spectacle will take place during Sunday's match between Croatia and England with entertainment guaranteed thanks to the Zaprešić Boys starting at 14:00.

The fan zone will bring life to the capital city for one month, from June 11 to July 11, 2021.

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Thursday, 10 June 2021

Croatian Football Federation Statement on Kneeling ahead of EURO 2020

June 10, 2021 - The Croatian Football Federation statement on kneeling was released on Thursday ahead of EURO 2020. 

The Croatian Football Federation statement on kneeling before EURO 2020 matches was released on Thursday. Recall, England, Belgium, and other national teams have decided to take a knee before kickoff in the fight against racism.

The news that Croatia would not kneel before their matches appeared in the English media yesterday, specifically The Daily Mail.

You can read the full statement from HNS below: 

"The Croatian Football Federation and the Croatian national team strongly condemn any and all forms of discrimination. We also respect the right of every individual and every organization to select the circumstances and the manner in which they will take a stand against racism and/or other forms of discrimination. 

The Croatian Football Federation believes that the players have a right to their own opinion on these topics, and that they also have a right to choose whether they want to engage in any activity. The players of the Croatian national team jointly decided ahead of the friendly match against Belgium that they will not take the knee, and they respectfully stood in silence during the kneeling of their Belgian colleagues. The Croatian Football Federation respects their stance on this and will not impose taking the knee as an obligation for Croatian players, as this gesture does not hold any symbolic ties to the fight against racism and discrimination in the context of Croatian culture and tradition.  

In general, we believe the most important thing is the fact that Croatian internationals have conducted themselves respectfully throughout their careers and that they have shown through their behaviour that they respect all individuals, opponents, and teammates, regardless of race, religion, social status, ethnicity, or any other characteristic, which is a value that is also promoted by the Croatian Football Federation."

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Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Split Zvončac EURO 2020 Fan Zone Announced: The Details

June 9, 2021 - The Split Zvončac EURO 2020 Fan Zone has finally been announced, where football fans can gather to watch all European Championship matches. 

Citizens of Split likely remember the last football Fan Zone, organized in 2018 in Đardin, during the World Cup. This year, the EURO 2020 fan zone will work from June 11 to July 11 at the legendary Zvončac park, a location many Split citizens adore, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

The Fan Zone will also be organized by Damir Karaman, with associates from the company "Karaman Koncert," which has so far successfully organized numerous sports, cultural, and entertainment events in Split.

Visitors will be able to watch the games on a large screen and enjoy food and drink. 

"During the duration of the tournament, we will organize various prize games and events," said Damir Karaman.

Which performers and bands will play at the Fan Zone?

"We are still negotiating, but it will be a surprise for the days off at the European Championships, when we will fill the space with various programs.

It is normal for fan zones to be held in city parks so that people can hang out and have fun. Zvončac is ideal for us because it is bigger than Đardin.

That is why I, in cooperation with the Split and Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Boards, organized it in our city. Well, God willing, we will create a fan zone next year for the World Cup," said Damir Karaman.

Numerous tourists, mostly foreigners, also visited the last fan zone in 2018.

"All foreigners who were in Split knew about the fan zone, and when their national teams played, but also others, foreign tourists came there to watch the matches.

We must emphasize that several media houses reported from the Fan Zone - the German Bild, Danish television, and reputable portals. HTV, RTL, and Nova TV also reported from the fan zone, so it was more marketing for the city itself, and great promotion," said Karaman and pointed out that he will organize everything according to current epidemiological measures, in agreement with the Civil Protection Headquarters.

Admission will be free
The fan zone organized during the 2018 World Cup proved to be a hit and added value to Split.

It was attended better than any event in Đardin and passed without a single incident, with a crowded and brilliant fan atmosphere.

As before, admission will be free for all citizens and tourists, no matter the program.

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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Ante Budimir Becomes Most Expensive Player in Osasuna History!

June 8, 2021 - In the latest football transfers news, Spanish club Osasuna wanted to keep Croatian footballer Ante Budimir at all costs and decided to buy his contract from Mallorca.

Budimir thus became the most expensive footballer in Osasuna history because the Pamplona club will pay Mallorca eight million euros, reports Index.hr. Osasuna used the clause they agreed on at the same time as Budimir's loan. According to that clause, Osasuna could bring the Croatian striker for eight million euros, while for all other clubs, the clause was 15 million euros. Ruben Garcia, Dady, and Masous Shojaei were the most expensive footballers in the history of Osasuna until now, and they were paid three and a half million euros each.

Budimir thus signs a contract until 2025. While Osasuna plays in the first league, the contract buyout clause will amount to 20 million euros, and if he drops out, it will be reduced to nine million euros. Mallorca will also have a 25 percent profit from the next transfer.

Budimir scored 11 league goals on loan for Osasuna, including some of the key ones in the fight for survival.

 

"The new fan idol will now finally make a dream come true and play in front of an audience in Pamplona. Due to the coronavirus, he couldn't do it last season," AS writes about the Mallorca player brought to Spain in 2019 for 2.2 million euros from Crotone.

Osasuna finished the season in 11th place, and Budimir was the club's top scorer. Of the 11 goals in the Primera, he scored seven with his head, making him the top scorer in the Primera in that category. He was followed by Karim Benzema from Real Madrid with six goals, and Youssef En-Nesyri, who scored five goals with his head for Sevilla.

The 29-year-old striker made his debut for Croatia last year. He played seven games for the national team and scored one goal. He did not get a minute in the preparatory matches for the Euro against Armenia and Belgium.

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Sunday, 6 June 2021

Belgium Tops Croatia 1:0 in Final Friendly before EURO 2020

June 6, 2021 - Belgium tops Croatia in the final friendly match in Brussels on Sunday. 

The European Championship starts next Saturday for Belgium in St. Petersburg against Russia, and for Croatia a day later at Wembley against England.

Five days ago, Croatia played only 1:1 against Armenia.

"We made a historic result three years ago. This is not the same team that was at the time. We have a young team that has talent but needs time to play. I hope we repeat a good result. It is true that we are playing against the best team in the FIFA rankings and we have great respect for them, but we want to achieve the best result. It's a big challenge for us, but the game is played six or seven days before the first match at the Euro, the most important thing is that there are no injuries," said Dalic before the match.

Zlatko Dalic led the team in accordance with the announcements. Three changes were made compared to the Armenia friendly - Kovačić strengthened the midfield instead of Vlašić, Rebić played on the right wing instead of Brekalo, while Petković replaced Kramarić at the top of the attack.

Lineups

Belgium: Courtois - Alderweireld, Denayer, Vertonghen - Castagne, Tielemans, Dendoncker, Chadli - Mertens, Carrasco - Lukaku

Croatia: Livaković - Vrsaljko, Vida, Ćaleta-Car, Barišić - Brozović, Kovačić - Rebić, Modrić, Perišić - Petković

In the first five minutes, Croatia controlled the game and didn't allow Belgium to enter their half. Belgium's first chance came in the 11th minute when Brozović was careless and gave the ball to Chadli, who hit over the goal from the edge of the penalty area.

Belgium became increasingly dangerous as the match continued and hit the crossbar twice in the 31st minute. Perišić threatened a minute later but his shot was blocked. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Belgium finally scored in the 38th minute. A mixup in the Croatia defense allowed Lukaku to score from close range for 1:0. Petković found Perišić for a chance in the 42nd minute but he was offside. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Gvardiol made his debut at left back instead of Barišić to start the second half and quickly confirmed his spot on the Croatia team. A great ball in the box by Gvardiol in the 52nd minute found the head of Petković who aimed at Courtois. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Mertens had a dangerous opportunity for Belgium moments later was weak in is shot. 

Croatia looked good at the opening of the second half but still did not create opportunities. In the 61st minute, Dalić subbed on Pašalić, Vlašić and Kramarić for Modrić, Kovačić and Rebić.

Croatia possessed well in the 10 minutes that followed. Brekalo came on for Petković in the 69th minute. Vlašić shot for Croatia after what felt like ages, but it was an easy save for Courtois. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Oršić came on for Perišić in the 80th minute, and Eden Hazard entered the match for Belgium one minute later. 

Belgium had a massive chance in the 88th minute but two brilliant saves by Livakovć kept it 1:0. Brekalo had Croatia's best chance of the game in the 90th minute which was famously saved by Courtois. The match ended 1:0 for Belgium.

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