The Croatian national football squad survived an early scare against Slovakia in Rijeka on Saturday night, to secure its place in the EURO 2020 final.
Slovak striker Robert Boženik opened the scoring in Rijeka's Rujevica Stadium in the 32nd minute of play. However, Coach Zlatko Dalić's team turned things around in the second half with a strong offensive performance. Midfielder Nikola Vlašić evened the score in the 56th minute of play sending a shot from the edge of the penalty box into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.
Striker Bruno Petković gave Croatia the lead in the 60th minute with a header into the top left hand corner following a corner from Captain Luka Modrić. Ivan Perišić sealed the victory in the 74th minute driving a shot to the top left hand corner following an excellent cross from defender Borna Barišić.
Slovak winger Robert Mak was sent off in the 66th minute of play after receiving his second yellow card of the match.
This was Croatia's last EURO 2020 Group E qualification match. The win secured Croatia first place in the group and a ticket to EURO 2020 to be hosted by twelve European countries in twelve cities from the 12th of June to the 12th of July. This will be Croatia's sixth appearance in the European final, and fifth in row.
Despite the loss Slovakia can still qualify for EURO 2020, as can Wales and Hungary. Only Azerbaijan has been mathematically eliminated from the final. All four teams still have one game left to play in Group E. Hungary will play Wales in Cardiff while Slovakia will play Azerbaijan in Trnava. The winner of the Wales - Hungary game will take the second qualification spot. However, Slovakia can also still qualify for Euro 2020 if they beat Azerbaijan and Hungary and Wales play to a draw. Both games start at 19:45 GMT on Tuesday November 19th.
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