In its second last EURO 2020 qualifier the Croatian national team played Wales to a 1:all draw in Cardiff.
Coach Zlatko Dalić's team started the game well with midfielder Nikola Vlašić scoring in the ninth minute of play. Gareth Bale levelled the score during stoppage time in the first half. In the second half Croatia seemed uninspired, almost content to preserve the draw.
In the other Group "E" game Hungary beat Azerbaijan 1:nil in Budapest.
Croatia is still first in Group "E" with 14 points, however, it has not yet secured Croatia a ticket to EURO 2020, something a win against Wales would have resolved. Hungary is second with 12 points. Slovakia is third with ten points, followed by Wales with eight and Azerbaijan with one point. However, Slovakia, Wales and Azerbaijan all have a game in hand.
Croatia will play its final qualification game against Slovakia on November 16th in Rijeka's Rujevica Stadium. They need at least a draw to secure first place in the group and guarantee themselves a place in EURO 2020. Coach Dalić will be without both of his starting defenders, Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida, who are ineligible due to yellow cards. There is also the issue if the injury sustained by team captain and midfielder Luka Modrić, who was assisted off the pitch in the 89th minute of play, while fellow midfielder Mateo Kovačić also left the pitch with a knee injury.
Speaking to reporters after the game coach Dalić said that Modrić's injury didn't look serious and that he expected his captain to be ready in two-to-three days’ time. As for Kovačić, Dalić said that he remains questionable.
Commenting on his teams play against Wales, Dalić expressed his discontent with the level of play and failure to adhere to the game plan he had laid out going into the game, particularly, avoiding aerial duels with Welsh striker Kieffer Moore.
Of the other remaining games in the group, Azerbaijan hosts Wales on November 16th, Wales hosts Hungary on November 19th, while Slovakia host Azerbaijan on the same day.
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