Monday, 13 June 2022

Early Luka Modrić Penalty Gives Croatia First-Ever Win against France!

June 13, 2022 - Croatia finally beats France in their 10th meeting on Monday night, winning in the 4th round of Nations League at Stade de France in Paris. An early Luka Modrić penalty gave Croatia their first-ever victory against France. 

The Croatia national team met France in the 4th round of the Nations League at Stade de France in Paris on Monday. It was Croatia's 5th time playing at the famous French stadium. 

Going into this match, Denmark lead the group with six points, Austria and Croatia had four points each, while France sat at the bottom with two points. France needed a win tonight to have any hope of getting out of the group and avoid relegation in the Nations League. 

Before this match, Croatia recorded six defeats and three draws in nine matches against the current world champion France, with a goal difference of 9-20.

Lineups

France: Maignan - Koundé, Konaté, Kimpembe, Digne - Kamara, Guendouzi, Rabiot - Nkunku, Mbappé, Benzema

Croatia: Ivušić - Stanišić, Erlić, Šutalo, Juranović - Brozović, Modrić, Kovačić - Pašalić, Budimir, Brekalo

Match Report 

Croatia had their first corner of the match in the 3rd minute after a nice attack into France's half. Budimir fell in the box during the play which forced the ref to look at VAR for a penalty check. The ref called a penalty for Croatia which Luka Modrić scored for 0:1 Croatia in the 5th minute!

Mbappé had a shot on target which Ivusic saved Tchouameni.

France picked up the intensity in the 12th minute, testing Croatia's defense in the box, but the center backs cleared any danger. Croatia had a counter moments later which saw France's keeper and Budimir clash just outside of the box. Croatia was awarded a free kick which Modric hit at the keeper.

It was a match of fouls called for Croatia, with Brekalo elbowed in the nose in the 18th minute. Fortunately, he was well enough to continue the match. 

Mbappé was dangerous again in the 22nd minute, though Croatia managed to stop him before he got a shot off. 

France danced around Croatia's half for the next few minutes until Brozovic fouled to stop the play.  Nkunku had an excellent chance in the 28th minute which went just wide of Croatia's goal. 

Croatia finally regained possession and moved into France's half in the 30th minute. Juranovic crossed to Budimir in the box a minute later which went off his head back into the play. 

A quick Croatia counter in the 34th minute saw Juranovic play Budimir in the box which the France keeper got to first. Croatia denied Mbappe and Benzema from getting a shot off in the following play.

Juranovic found Budimir again in a similar play in the next few minutes. Budimir shot near post which went out for a Croatia corner. 

France calmly held possession for the next few minutes, but a Croatia counter in the 43rd minute got them back in the game. Croatia's defense remained solid in the back to keep them ahead before the half. France even hit the near post net a minute before the half and headed over the goal! The match was 0:1 for Croatia at halftime. 

France made two changes at halftime - Pavard and Tchouameni came on for Konude and Kamara. 

France had their first dangerous attack in the 46th minute. Mbappe dribbled to the goal line and crossed into the box which the Croatia defense cleared with a header. Tchouameni shot at Ivusic a minute later. 

Budimir was one-on-one with the France keeper in the 49th minute and shot over the crossbar.

Benzema dribbled through the defense in the 53rd minute but Croatia was able to stop the play. Mbappe shot in the 54th minute which went wide of the goal.

Luka found Juranovic on the left wing in the 57th minute. The France defender headed it back which Juranovic attacked and played back to Pasalic who couldn't quite get a shot off. 

Ivusic made an incredible save with his foot to stop Mbappe from scoring in the 60th minute. The ball went out for a corner and Croatia cleared the play. 

Dalic subbed off Pasalic for Majer in the 64th minute.

France was hungry for a goal in the following 5 minutes with a few threatening plays in Croatia's box. Pavard's shot was blocked by the Croatia defense. Chaos in the penalty area ended thanks to Sutalo who found Ivusic and stopped the play. 

Brekalo found Majer at the top of the box in the 71st minute which was saved by the France keeper. Budimir came out for Kramaric and Brekalo for Vlasic in the 73rd minute. France subbed on Coman for Nkunku.

Coman dribbled to the goal line for a France corner in the 74th minute. Mbappe's shot was saved by Ivusic.

A dangerous free kick for France was taken by Mbappe in the 77th minute and went over the goal. 

Griezmann was subbed on in the 80th minute. Mbappe fouled Erlic moments later.  France did not leave Croatia's half. 

A quick counter for Croatia came in the 83rd minute but France was quick to regain possession. Young Bayern defender Josip Stanisic was absolutely brilliant on the right side to stop Coman. 

Rabiot shot over the goal in the 86th minute. Croatia was playing defense for most of the second half. 

Croatia finally regained possession in the 87th minute. Vlasic shot at the keeper. 

The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time. Croatia played calmly in the remaining minutes but France picked up the intensity to get a goal. A dangerous chance in the final seconds just went wide of the goal. Konate headed over the goal in the final second. The ref blew the final whistle and Croatia recorded their first-ever win against France! 

Croatia continues their Nations League campaign in September against Denmark at home and Austria away. 

For more, check out our sports section.

Monday, 13 June 2022

Current Croatia National Team Jerseys Worn for Last Time, New Design Coming for 2022 World Cup

June 13, 2022 - The 4th round of the Nations League tonight in Paris marks the end of the current Croatia national team jerseys, as the away kit will be worn for the last time at Stade de France. The home kit was retired against France at Poljud last week, and new kits are expected for the 2022 World Cup. 

Another 2018 World Cup final rematch between France and Croatia takes place tonight in Paris at Stade de France as part of the Nations League 4th round, reports Gol.hr.

Apart from the fact that Croatia will be looking for its first victory against France in their 10th meeting, this match will also be remembered as the last time the Croatia national team away jersey will be worn ahead of its new design for the 2022 World Cup. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia had already said goodbye to its current home kit - the classic red and white checkers - when they played against France in the 2nd round of the Nations League at Poljud last week. These jerseys saw the light of day after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Croatia national team will wear new jerseys at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The new jersey design will premiere at the two September Nations League matches - the first will be played against Denmark in Croatia and the second away against Austria.

The exact design of the new jerseys is still unknown and has not been announced in any manner by HNS, but the famous portal footyheadlines.com, dedicated to club and national team jerseys, has already toyed with how they may look.

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Footy Headlines used leaked information or projections of Nike's template for the 2022 World Cup.

They are inspired by the famous sets of other clubs and national teams for next season. Since they know what will be in style next season or what colors and designs will dominate in the football world, they were able to speculate about Croatia's possible new kit.

The Croatia home jersey is usually composed of red, white, and blue, always with the Croatian coat of arms, the now world-famous red and white checkers.

Footy Headlines claim that the blue color will be different than usual. It will be a little brighter, royal blue, the so-called “Battle Blue” Swoosh.

They underline that Nike presented only a sample of blue and white in its internal catalog, while red remains unknown. This is explained by Nike’s designs for next season. First, they pointed to the new Barcelona jersey, which is dominated by shades of blue, while red is on the defensive.

The portal claims that the Croatia national team away jersey will combine navy blue with red patterns.

For more, check out our sport section.

Saturday, 11 June 2022

A New Era: Coach Zlatko Dalić Praises Young Croatia National Team Players

Junee 11, 2022 - Coach Zlatko Dalić praises the young Croatia national team players including Erlić and Šutalo in Croatia's 1:0 win against Denmark last night. 

The Croatia national football team defeated Denmark 1:0 in Copenhagen in the Nations League third round on Friday night. Mario Pašalić scored for Croatia in the 69th minute.

After the victory in Denmark, coach Zlatko Dalić congratulated his players and thanked the fans:

"Congratulations to the boys on a great game, especially the second half when we turned the game around. We have shown high quality. This is what Croatia can do and needs to do. There is one more game left against France. Thanks to the fans who cheered us on the whole time," Dalić told Nova TV after the match. 

The coach commented on Marcelo Brozović:

"Brozović can play and it is not a problem for him to play. If he says he has energy, which he does, he doesn’t need to be changed. He is a great winner and a great player for the Croatia national team. With Modrić, Kovačić, and Brozović in the midfield, everything was different."

About Erlić and Šutalo:

"All praise to those young guys who took the opportunity, imposed themselves, and played with a lot of confidence. Stanišić also played a great game, at the top level. All three brought another headache, but a positive one," the coach said.

Šime Vrsaljko is in the picture again:

"Šime was absent for a long time, he played well and we do not want to spend him. We also need him to return as high quality as possible. The advantage is in the togetherness and encouragement of the team. I’m glad he came back after a year. I can only praise the guys. After Osijek, great against France, even better today. France is one of the best teams in the world if not the best. It's a bit of a problem that we only have these three days. We need to rest and recuperate. With this kind of energy and togetherness, we can do a lot," added coach Dalić.

Goal scorer Mario Pašalić also commented on the match:

"Everything was easier when Modrić and Kovačić entered the game in the second half," said Pašalić. Pašalić has been excellent in the attack for Italian first league club Atalanta and reacted in the same way in the 69th minute. He found himself in the right place and skillfully secured Croatia's first victory in this season's Nations League.

"I have that feeling to shoot and find myself in the right spot. Luckily the ball came to me and we won. But, everything is much easier when Modrić, Kovačić, and Brozović play. In the second half, we really took over," said Pašalić after the game.

He also talked about the difficult moments the team went through in the first 45 minutes:

"The first half was extremely difficult. We struggled with everything. We couldn’t come out with the ball, we didn’t have possession and we couldn’t keep the ball for long. But everything changed in the second half. We gained possession, and then we started creating opportunities as well. In the end, we came to a goal. Of course, when Modrić and Kovačić came in, that change took place, the two of them are the best midfielders in the world and they look great in the middle together with Brozović. When they come into play you get some security."

The next opponent is France, who drew against Austria and is the only team in the group without a win after three rounds.

"Who would say that France would not win after three rounds. We're all here for points. It will be interesting until the end," said Pašalić.

Source: HRT

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

Friday, 10 June 2022

Croatia Beat Denmark (0:1), Adds First Three Points in UEFA Nations League!

June 10, 2022 - In their third match in the UEFA Nations League, Croatia beat Denmark in Copenhagen with a goal from Mario Pašalić and took their first three points, which now places them third in the table with 4 points, tied with Austria!

In the third fixture of group A, Croatia visited Denmark in Copenhagen hoping to get their first three points after losing to Austria in Osijek (0:3) and drawing against France in Split (1:1). The coach of the Croatia national team, Zlatko Dalić, has prepared a starting eleven with quite a few changes compared to the two previous games. The last time the two teams faced each other was at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, where both drew 1:1 at the end of 120 minutes. Croatia won the match by penalties.

Croatia's starting eleven to face Denmark: Dominik Livaković; Šime Vrsaljko, Martin Erlić, Josip Šutalo, Josip Juranović; Kristijan Jakić, Marcelo Brozović, Luka Ivanušec, Mario Pašalić, Mislav Oršić; Andrej Kramarić.

Denmark starting eleven: Kasper Schmeichel; Daniel Wass, Joachim Andersen, Andreas Christensen, Joakim Maehle; Pierre Emile Hojbjerg, Thomas Delaney, Christian Eriksen; Andreas Olsen, Andreas Cornelius, Mikkel Damsgaard.

Match summary:

Denmark was superior to Croatia in the first half. There was not a big difference in possession of the ball between the two teams, but the Danish offense created more danger in the first 45 minutes. It is worth noting the great defensive work of the two center backs Josip Šutalo, who made his debut today, and Martin Erlić. Both the Croatian midfield and offense couldn't find a way to create much danger in the Danish area.

In the second half, the presence of Luka Modrić and Mateo Kovačić brought more ideas to the Croatian team, who were able to control the ball more calmly and therefore began to find ways to create clearer scoring chances. Finally, a goal from Mario Pašalić in the 69th minute would give Croatia victory and their first victory in the UEFA Nations League, curiously, after adding only one point from their two home games. Croatia climbs to third place in the table tied on points (4) with Austria. Despite the defeat, Denmark remains in the lead with 6 points.

Match highlights:

The first 5 minutes of the match were of shared possession between both teams. In the 6th minute, Cornelius took advantage of a poor clearance by the Croatian defense for Denmark's first attempt on goal, but his shot went high.

In the 8th minute of the match, Cornelius received a yellow card for dangerously contesting a ball with Croatian goalkeeper Livaković, who had to be treated by the doctors for a long time.

In the 11th minute, Joakim Maehle was left one on one with Livaković after a very good collective play. However, his shot went wide for the Croatian goal.

The first goal attempt for Croatia came from Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Mislav Oršić in the 13th minute, who tried to finish off a good Croatian counterattack, but his shot went high.

In the 40th minute, Cornelius again found a great opportunity to score after an error by Kristijan Jakić. The Danish forward put the ball to Livaković's right post, but the Croatian goalkeeper responded with a great save.

Three minutes later, the referee disallowed a goal by Cornelius, after a foul by Maehle on Vršaljko when they were contesting for the ball inside the Croatian box.

The referee added 2 more minutes to the first half, and both teams went into the break tied 0:0. Possession at the end of the first half was 54% for Denmark and 46% for Croatia.

After the break, Dalić brought in three players. Josip Stanišić replaced Šime Vrsaljko, Mateo Kovačić replaced Kristijan Jakić, while Luka Ivanušec left the field for Luka Modrić

Luka Modrić, after a great individual play inside the Danish area in the 56th minute, crossed the ball into the small area but none of his teammates could convert the chance.

In the 58th minute, Mislav Oršić was replaced by Nikola Vlašić.

In the 60th minute, Andrej Kramarić had a great opportunity to convert Croatia's first goal, with a powerful first-touch kick inside the box, but Kasper Schmeichel made an amazing save. However, the referee invalidated the play due to a previous offside.

In the 61st minute, the Danish team made its first three substitutions of the match, all at once. Rasmus Kristensen came on for Daniel Wass, Jonas Wind for Andreas Cornelius, and Martin Braithwaite for right-winger Mikkel Damsgaard.

In the 63rd minute, Luka Modrić found a space to shoot outside the box, but goalkeeper Schmeichel had no problem stopping his attempt.

In the 67th minute, Danish defender Joachim Andersen received his team's second yellow card after a violent tackle on Andrej Kramarić. It could have been a red card.

A free throw was awarded after the foul. Luka Modrić put the ball into the box, and a clear attempt by Stanišić was deflected by a Danish defender.

The first goal of the match came for Croatia on the following corner kick in the 69th minute. Luka Modrić played short and found Brozović, who put a dangerous cross into the area that was first headed by Kramarić, and Mario Pašalić would find the ball at his feet to score Croatia's first goal

In the 75th minute, Stanišić would receive the first yellow card for Croatia as he attempted to stop Martin Braithwaite.

Christian Eriksen took the free-kick into the box but Braithwaite sent it well past Livaković's goal.

In the 77th minute, Andrej Kramarić was replaced by Ante Budimir in a tactical substitution.

In the 82nd minute, Martin Braithwaite again missed a great opportunity for Denmark.

In the 83rd minute, Yussuf Poulsen came on to replace Andreas Olsen in the Danish team.

Three minutes later, after a great collective play, Marcelo Brozović found an opportunity to kick the ball outside the Danish box, but his shot went close to Schmeichel's right post. The referee booked Ante Budimir for a foul on that play. It was the second yellow card for Croatia.

A minute later, in the 87th minute, the Danish team found the equalizer after a tangled play in the Croatian area, but the goal was disallowed for offside.

In the 90th minute, Yussuf Poulsen, who barely played ten minutes, was replaced by Robert Skov due to injury.

The referee added 5 more minutes to the match.

Brozović would have one more try in the 94th minute, but his shot went high. The referee ended the match in the 95th minute and Croatia took their first three UEFA Nations League points away from home.

Croatia will play France in Paris on June 13th.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section.

Monday, 6 June 2022

UEFA Nations League: Croatia and France Draw at Poljud (1:1)

June 6, 2022 - Croatia and France draw at Poljud in the 2nd round of the UEFA Nations League at Poljud on Monday. 

Croatia and France met for the 2nd round of the Nations League on Monday at Poljud Stadium in Split. Croatia opened this year's Nations League with a shock 0:3 defeat to Austria in Osijek. France also lost their opening match against Denmark 1:2. 

Both Croatia and France were weakened due to injuries. Croatia was without Ivan Perišič, Marko Livaja, Joško Gvardiol, and Petar Musa. For France, Mbappe, Benzema, Kante, and Coman did not properly train with the team last night. Croatia, however, has yet to beat France. 

As coach Zlatko Dalić said at the press conference last night, France even without their usual stars is still France - and even their B team is a force to be reckoned with. 

Tonight is also Croatia captain Luka Modrić's 150th appearance for the Croatia national team. He made his debut on March 1, 2006, in Croatia's 3:2 victory against Argentina. Luka has scored 21 goals in 149 games so far, participated in three World Cups and four European Championships, and has been the team captain since 2016.

Lineups

Croatia: Livaković, Juranović, Erlić, Vida, Barišić, Brozović, Kovačić, Modrić, Majer, Brekalo, Budimir

France: Maignan, Pavard, Saliba, Kimpembe, Digne, Guendouzi, Tchouaméni, Diaby, Rabiot, Nkunku, Ben Yedder

Match Report

Croatia maintained possession for the first five minutes of the match, with a few potential attacks in the penalty area. Croatia's first corner came in the 6th minute. Luka played short to Brekalo, who played back to Luka and then Majer for a shot off target. 

France picked up the pace in the next 5 minutes and had their first corner in the 10th minute. 

Juranović headed out a close encounter for France for their second corner of the match in the 12th minute. Kovačić played Budimir into the penalty spot the minute after which was cleared by the France defense. 

Croatia's defense was solid tonight in comparison to the debacle last weekend in Osijek. Calm, collected, and without any mishaps so far. 

Croatia's best chance of the match came in the 18th minute - Kovačić played a brilliant through ball to Budimir who shot near post forcing a tricky save for the France keeper. The ball went out for a corner. 

France had another chance in the 23rd minute which was shot wide. 

A minute later a breakaway for Kovačić saw him fouled outside the box. The ref decided to play advantage for Croatia instead, and France won back possession. 

Lovro Majer was fouled in France's half which the ref did not call. France then pushed up the pitch and scored an offside goal in the 31st minute. 

Croatia was awarded a free kick in the 33rd minute but Vida was offside.  

Livakovic made a brilliant save after Vida let Diaby get a shot off in the 39th minute - and another save moments after that. France had another corner in the 40th minute and another two corners three minutes later. Croatia's defense had no problem clearing the play. 

One minute of stoppage time was added to the first half. The match was 0:0. 

The second half started without any substitutions. 

Lovro Majer sent a stunning pass through the France defense, which found Ante Budimir's head, but the ball went wide of the goal. 

But it was France to score first. Rabiot made it 0:1 in the 52nd minute. 

Croatia moved the ball nicely into France's half in the 57th minute and was dangerous in front of the France keeper but could not get a shot off.  

Juranović found Budimir at the top of the box and played it back to Brozovic who couldn't find his footing to shoot. 

France subbed off Ben Yedder for Griezmann, and Kamara for Tchouameni. For Croatia, Majer came off for Pasalic and Brekalo for Orsic. 

Budimir was fouled just outside the box in the 63rd minute which the ref allowed them to play on. 

Dalic subbed off Budimir for Kramaric in the 68th minute.

Luka had a great chance in the 70th minute. He cut back to his left foot to shoot on target, forcing the France keeper to make a diving save.  

Livakovic made a brilliant save in the 75th minute to ensure the match stayed 0:1.

Luka Modric was subbed off for Luka Sucic and Mateo Kovacic for Nikola Vlasic in the 78th minute. 

Croatia had another chance in the 80th minute which was ultimately called for a penalty thanks to VAR. Kramaric made it 1:1 in the 82nd minute!

Vlasic shot on target in the 86th minute forcing the ball out for a corner. A Croatia mishap in the defense almost cost them the match two minutes later, but Griezmann shot wide of an empty goal. 

The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time to the match in which neither team was able to score - though Sucic had a great chance. The match ended 1:1. 

Croatia plays Denmark next in Copenhagen on Friday, June 10. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Sunday, 5 June 2022

France and Croatia Press Conferences Held Ahead of UEFA Nations League at Poljud

June 5, 2022 - France and Croatia press conferences were held at Poljud Stadium on Sunday ahead of the UEFA Nations League match on Monday in Split. 

The France captain for tomorrow's match, Presnel Kimpembe, and France coach Didier Deschamps opened the press conference at Poljud. 

Who will be the France captain? How will you play an exhausted Griezmann?

"Kimpembe will be the captain, no doubt about it. As for Griezmann, I will not judge him by one game as you do. At the end of the season, the situation is complicated for everyone. But, both for us and for Croatia, not everyone is fresh, that is clear."

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Will the tactics change because you are without some of your big players? 

"We have to give a chance to other players. For example, Lloris is the main goalkeeper, but we must also give Mike Maignan a chance to play. We planned to change before, and there are no surprising changes."

Will Mbappe play against Croatia?

"We have not given up on Mbappe for the match, We have five injured players, including Benzema. We will see who will be ready for the match."

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How do you see this rejuvenated Croatia?

"It should be noted that Croatia started the game well, but Austria was fresher. We are used to playing against Croatia and I hope that the game will be positive for us."

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France held a training session in which four players trained on a stationary bike, while the others practiced on the pitch. Mbappe, Kounde, Kante, and Coman trained on stationary bikes, while Benzema ran laps around the pitch. 

Coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić opened the press conference for Croatia. Luka was asked questions first: 

"We did not expect that defeat against Austria. It was a tough defeat for us. We need to look forward and not calculate too much and be depressed about it. We have France tomorrow. It's never nice to lose but maybe it's good to lose sometimes to see where our mistakes are. It's not easy to win when we aren't at our best. We will see tomorrow.

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We need to be focused. We know a tough game awaits us. We know our record against France isn't great. We are still waiting for a win. We need to believe that we can win. It'll be a full Poljud. We need to use that as a motive and turn around that losing streak. 

We know it's tough for everyone at the end of the season. It's not easy to play 4 games in 11 days in the Nations League. You are put in that situation and you need to pull through. Maybe these games would be better played in a mini-tournament instead of like this. But this is how it is. We need to be maximally focused, give our all, and do all that we can. That's how we have been preparing for tomorrow."

What about playing against Benzema?

"We both feel amazing. Everything we have done this year is amazing. Winning the 5th Champions League title is incredible. Benzema and I haven't spoken about this game yet. I just hope he won't be in the same form as he has been for tomorrow's game."

Coach Zlatko Dalić took the floor. 

"It was not a good loss. We didn't expect that against Austria. All of my losses have been in the Nations League, but we need to keep our heads up and see what we can do. We want to make up for the loss against Austria. 

Belgium, France, England, and Croatia all lost in the first round of the Nations League. Even with France playing without some of their starters tomorrow, their second team is incredible. They will always be amazing - we need to make sure we are. Every game for Croatia is important. We want to stay in the Elite Nations League."

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Friday, 3 June 2022

Croatia Nations League Campaign Kicks Off with Shock Defeat to Austria (0:3)

June 3, 2022 - A troubling display in Osijek tonight as the Croatia Nations League campaign kicks off with a 0:3 defeat to Austria.

The Croatia-Austria match was the first in a series of four UEFA Nations League matches the national team will play in 11 days this month. 

On paper, Austria was the easiest opponent for Croatia in this year's Nations League edition, which will serve as preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Croatia was after three points at City Garden tonight, as the next three matches will be even tougher to win points. 

Tonight's match was also the final for the national team at City Garden, as the new Pampas stadium will be used in Osijek from next year.

Lineups

Austria: Lindner - Danso, Trauner, Wöber - Lainer, Laimer, Schlager, Weimann - Sabitzer - Arnautović, Onisiwo

Croatia: Ivušić - Juranović, Pongračić, Ćaleta-Car, Sosa - Brozović, Kovačić, Pašalić - Majer, Kramarić, Brekalo

Recall, Croatia was without Perišić, Gvardiol, Musa, and Livaja, while Luka Modrić will get some rest in this match after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid.

Recap

Croatia had their first chance of the match already in the 2nd minute. Brekalo found Pasalic in the penalty area. In the 8th minute, Majer found Kramaric on the far post and Lainer's reaction nearly caused an own goal. 

Kramaric's shot was blocked in the 14th minute after which Brozovic also had a chance. Croatia was hungry for an early goal. 

Croatia's best chance so far came in the 18th minute. Brekalo again found Pasalic running into the box who missed with his head. 

Pasalic had another chance in front of the goal from a corner in the 21st minute, and Austria had a chance just wide of the goal moments later.

Another chance for Croatia in the 25th minute - Brozovic played the Austria defense to find Pasalic open in the box who shot a second too late. 

Kovacic had the first shot on target in the 28th minute, which was pushed out by the Austria keeper for a corner. Kramaric shot at the keeper in the 31st which went out for another corner. 

Sosa lost the ball in the defense giving Arnautovic a shot on goal, which he luckily hit over. But Austria got their goal in the end - Arnautovic scored for 0:1 in the 41st minute. 

Majer hit the near post for a corner in the 44th minute. The first half ended 0:1 for Austria. 

Borna Barisic went on for Borna Sosa at the start of the second half. 

Croatia came out motivated at the start of the second half. Brekalo and Majer found Pasalic who had a chance in front of the goal in the 47th minute, after which Brozovic missed a chance. 

Ivusic brilliantly defended an Austria shot, though Austria caught the Croatia defense asleep shortly after. Gregoritsch calmly put the ball in the back of the net for 0:2 in the 53rd minute - and in the 57th minute, Austria made it 0:3. 

Dalic subbed off Kramaric, Majer, and Pasalic for Modrić, Budimir, and Vlasic a minute later.

Croatia's shaky defense and inability to find the back of the net did not make for a pleasant atmosphere at City Garden. 

Kovacic came off for Orsic in the 70th minute.

Croatia was without any solid chances in the second half and was lucky that Austria didn't increase their lead. 

The ref added 3 minutes of stoppage time, but the match ended 0:3 for Austria. 

Croatia will welcome France on Monday in Split, followed by the first two away games in Group 1 - on June 10 in Denmark and on June 13 in France. All matches are played at 20:45.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Monday, 30 May 2022

Croatia Nations League Gathering: Perišić Out, Musa and Livaja Questionable

May 30, 2022 - The Croatia Nations League gathering is held today before the Vatreni plays their first match against Austria in Osijek on June 3. 

Croatia national football team coach Zlatko Dalić has announced the first Nations League match against Austria, which will be played on June 3 in Osijek, reports Gol.hr and Index.hr.

It will be great preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which awaits us at the end of this year. After Austria at City Garden Stadium, Croatia will go to Poljud against France, which should come with its biggest stars.

Four days later, on June 10, Croatia will play against Denmark away, and on June 13, Croatia will head to Paris to meet France in the return match.

It is already known that Ivan Perišić will not compete in this June Nations League campaign due to injury. Still, two other players are in question - Petar Musa and Marko Livaja.

"Unfortunately, Perišić dropped out. He may have been in the best shape of all the players, but now the most important thing is recovering and being ready for the World Cup. Petar Musa, who is ill, will probably drop out, but Marko Livaja is also sick. That is why we invited Luka Ivanušec. I am incredibly sorry for Musa, who was supposed to be with us for the first time today.

Many have had good seasons, but it's six months until the World Cup. Our quality is unquestionable because we have the backbone of the older players. The younger ones are also coming. For Musa, this was supposed to be a good test. I hope that during the summer, those who have problems in their clubs will solve them to be even better. I don’t have any bad insights about last year. A lot of good things have been done."

Dalić says he wants to test all the players in four Nations League matches but that the result is very much the priority.

"We want to be good, competitive. Try all the players we invited, but the result is important. It will be a problem that the boys have been on vacation for seven or eight days, but everyone is like that. We will play in our system 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1. We are going for the victory in every match," said Dalić.

And what about Modrić?

"Luka Modrić is coming tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. After everything he has done, he will compete in Osijek and Paris, i.e., all four matches. We need him to be in good health. We will see how much and how he will play in Osijek. After training, we'll see whether we need to call anyone else."

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Croatia and France at Poljud: June 2022 UEFA Nations League Host Cities Announced

January 29, 2022 - It'll be a replay of the 2018 World Cup final, with the Croatian Football Federation announcing the 2022 Nations League match between Croatia and France will be played at Poljud on June 6, 2022. 

The Croatian Football Federation Executive Board has decided on the venues for the Croatia national team matches in the UEFA Nations League, opening in June this year, reports HNS

The 2018 World Cup finalist will host Austria on June 3 at City Garden Stadium in Osijek (20:45), and three days later a replay of the 2018 World Cup final between Croatia and France at Poljud in Split. The long-awaited spectacle against the 2018 world champions will also be played in the evening (20:45).

In this June mini-cycle, the Croatia national team will also face Denmark (June 10) and France (June 13), both away. Croatia completes the Nations League in September with Denmark at home (September 22) and Austria away on September 25 (stadium to be determined). 

Thus, four Nations League rounds will be played from June 2 to 14, and the remaining two in the second half of September (from 22 to 27).

The Croatian Football Federation will announce ticket sale information in due time, but if the final 2022 World Cup qualifying match against Russia last November tells us anything, we can expect a sellout at Poljud Stadium in June - with hopefully much nicer weather. 

Croatia will not rest at the end of March, either. While the remaining second-placed European national teams will play additional World Cup qualifications, Croatia could play up to three friendly matches as part of their World Cup preparations.

Furthermore, the World Cup group draw will be held on April 1, 2022, in Doha. On that day, coach Dalić and the players will learn the three national teams they will compete against in the group stage of the World Cup. The 2022 World Cup will be hosted by Qatar from November 21 to December 18 this year. 

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

Friday, 17 December 2021

UEFA Nation's League Group 1 Schedule: Croatia Opens against Austria and France at Home

December 17, 2021 - The UEFA Nation's League Group 1 schedule has been announced. Croatia will open the competition with home games against Austria and France next June. 

The European Football Federation (UEFA) has announced the Nations League Group 1 schedule, which features the national teams of Croatia, France, Denmark, and Austria.

"We are in the elite group and every opponent is tough, but I can say that the draw was not bad. It seems to me that it will be easier than the first two years and I expect, of course, good results. I was expecting Italy, but we got France from the strongest hat. There is no way we can avoid them and I guess we have to play until we beat them. Austria and Denmark are national teams we can play with," was how Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić reacted to the draw held on Friday. 

"The Nations League is always important, but it has caused me problems in the past because we were not successful. Now I expect better games and to present ourselves properly. There will be good matches, the group is great and everything will be great preparation for the World Cup in Qatar," concluded Dalić.

Croatia will open the competition in June next year with home games against Austria (June 3) and France (June 6). This will be followed by away matches against Denmark (June 10) and France (June 13). Croatia will play at home against Denmark on September 22 and visit Austria on September 25 to close out the group stage. 

The cities hosting the group matches will be announced at a late date.

SCHEDULE

June 3, 2022: Croatia - Austria

June 6, 2022: Croatia - France

June 10, 2022: Denmark - Croatia

June 13, 2022: France - Croatia

September 22, 2022: Croatia - Denmark

September 25, 2022: Austria - Croatia

It is not yet known how this Nations League season will affect the qualifications for Euro 2024. UEFA has said that this has not yet been decided.

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

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