19:12 / 12.10.2021.

Author: Domagoj Ferenčić

Croatia misses opportunity to tighten its grip on berth in World Cup 2022

Dejected Croatian players leave the pitch

Dejected Croatian players leave the pitch

Foto: Davor Javorovic / PIXSELL

In the other Group "H" games played on Monday night Cyprus and Malta also played to a 2:2 draw, while Russia beat Slovenia 2:1.

The Croatian national team played to a surprise 2:2 draw against Slovakia in Osijek on Monday night in the 8th round of play in Group "H" qualifications for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Coach Zlatko Dalić’s team trailed twice in the game, with Slovakian striker Ivan Schranz opening the scoring in the 20th minute of play. Croatia’s Andrej Kramarić would equalize five minutes later, only to have Slovakia recapture the lead before halftime, with a goal from midfielder Lukáš Haraslín in the 45th minute of play. Luka Modrić would save Croatia from defeat in the 71st minute of play with his 19th goal for the national team. Here's what coach Dalić had to say after the game: "I'm a little bit disappointed after a two:all result. But, I don't have any criticisms for more players, they gave it their best. The substitutions we made produced some results, providing a new energy. So, I honestly don't have any criticisms. But over the next month we definitely have to keep a close eye on our players, to see who will be in top form for our games against Malta and Russia."

With two rounds left to play, Russia is first in Group "H" with 18 points. Croatia is second with 16. Slovakia and Slovenia have ten points each, with Slovakia ahead on goal difference, while Cyprus and Malta round out the group in 5th and 6th place respectively and five points apiece. Croatia plays away at Malta next on the 11th of November, followed by a home game against Russia three days later in Split’s Poljud Stadium. Only the group winner will qualify directly for the 2022 World Cup, while the second placed team will advance to a second qualification stage.

Source: HRT

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