PHOTO: KAREN MINASYAN/Afp

CROATIA BREAKED LATVIA AND THEN WON BARELY ARMENIA

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The Croatian national football team played two very important matches in the qualifiers for EURO 2024

CROATIA – LATVIA 5:0 (Petković 3′, 44′, Ivanušec 13′, Kramarić 68′, Pašalić 78′)
CROATIA: Livaković – Juranović, Šutalo, Gvardiol (Vida 46′), Sosa (Barišić 67′) – Brozović (Vlašić 60′), Modrić (Pašalić 60′) – Kramarić, Ivanušec, Perišić – Petković (Musa 67′)
LATVIA: Purinš – Savalniks (Krollis 56′), Černomordijs, Dubra, Sorokins – Jaunzems (D. Ikaunieks 86′), Emsis, Tobers (Saveljevs 86′), Ciganiks – Uldrikis, J. Ikaunieks (Daskevics 77′)

In its third match in the qualification for EURO 2024, Croatia won convincingly against Latvia. With that, she continued her way in the qualifications. It was the 37th home game in which Croatia was undefeated.

The beginning of the match was phenomenal. Joško Guardiol won a free kick. Bruno Petković scored in the 3rd minute of the match to take the lead from a perfectly executed shot. Ten minutes later, Luka Ivanušec increased the score to 2:0.

Until the end of the half, Croatia dominated and had possession of the ball. Latvia threatened Livaković here and there, but without any success. When it was thought that they would go to the break with the current score, Petković scores his second goal of the match. Croatia goes into halftime with a three-goal advantage.

In the second half, Croatia continued in the same rhythm. She had possessions and opportunities. However, Kramarić scored in the 68th minute to make the difference four. Ten minutes later, Pašalić broke through the players of Latvia and knocked the ball into the goal. This made the final score 5:0.

ARMENIA – CROATIA 0:1 (Kramarić 14′)
ARMENIA: Čančarević – Dashjan, Arutjunjan, Calisir, Mkrtčjan, Tiknizjan – Bichakčjan (Serobjan 58′), Iwu (Hovhannisjan 58′), Spertsjan, Zelarajan – Ranos (Brisco 69′)
CROATIA: Livaković – Stanišić, Šutalo, Gvardiol, Barišić – Modrić, Brozović – Kramarić (Pašalić 69′), Ivanušec (Majer 74′), Perišić – Petković (Musa 84′)

The game of Croatia existed! Croatia was a dominant opponent! She had possession, she had chances, but only one action was realized. Then from the 14th minute of the match. But maybe it wouldn’t have been realized if there wasn’t a crowd in the Armenian goal area.

As never before, Croatia missed out. If it had been realized, the result would have been identical to the one against Latvia. However, it is irrelevant because Croatia took the leading position in the group ahead of Turkey. Next month, Croatia plays against Turkey in Osijek and against Wales away. It would be nice if they would win those matches in order to secure a place at EURO 2024 in the best possible way.

This victory was the first victory at Kakvaz at all. Croatia won with a score of 1:0, so there was a dose of uncertainty until the very end of the match. Armenia pulled out the last atoms of strength to snatch points from Croatia. It was dynamic on the part of Croatia, but there was no realization. Armenia had its flashes and arrivals in front of Livaković, but nothing came of it.

They say that the first 15 minutes are important. And Croatia knows that. Already in the 14th minute, she took the lead with a goal from Kramarić. At first glance it appeared to be in the backfield, but the referees from the VAR room said that there was no question of the backfield. The rest of the match was spent with the Croatian national team. We can list all the opportunities that Croatia created, but there were too many of them. If it hadn’t been for the Armenian goalkeeper Čančarević, the result would probably have been much better for Croatia.

Croatia finished this month with six points. It was clear from the plane that Croatia is a Rolls Royce for these opponents. Players just have to make sure to aim and be accurate in scoring goals. But the most important thing is to write points.

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