The Croatia national team defeated Wales on Saturday in Osijek for their third Euro 2020 qualifier. Croatia’s win against Wales brought peace to Zlatko Dalić in front of the new challenges awaiting his team in September in Slovakia and Azerbaijan.
But before the team goes their separate ways for the summer, Modrić and Co. had one last appearance in Varaždin for a friendly against Tunisia. It was a game that saw 8,000 fans and all ticket sales go to charity, and one that tested out some new football rules. It was also good preparation for Tunisia before they play in the Africa Cup of Nations later this month.
Dalić came out with a different lineup than against Wales and made sure to give his reserves a chance against Tunisia. Namely, Dalić started with Sluga in goal, Benković, Lovren and Vida in the back, Melnjak, Kovačić, Badelj, Pašalić, and Brekalo across the midfield, and Petković and Kramarić up top.
It took a while for this Croatia side to get their bearings, and the first half as a whole was pretty shaky – Tunisia was actually the first to score in the 16th minute thanks to a goal by Badri!
While Croatia had a few chances in the first half, the game went into halftime with Tunisia in the lead.
At the start of the second half, Dalić made his first change – namely, Lovren was substituted for Bartolec. Just one minute later, Croatia equalized thanks to Bruno Petković’s first goal for the Croatia national team. It was 1:1 in the 47th minute.
In the 55th minute, Dalić made two more changes – Kovačić and Badelj came out for Perišić and Brozović. Minutes later, Brekalo came out for Halilović, and Kramarić came out for Caktaš.
Croatia was unlucky in the 69th minute after the ball hit Vida’s hand in the box for a Tunisia penalty, which Sliti scored for 1:2.
It was time for Dalić to bring in the big guns, and Luka Modrić came in for Pašalić right after Tunisia retook the lead.
Croatia attacked and had a few chances to score, though a burst of heavy rain and wind hit Varaždin, making it hard for either team to play much in the last 10 minutes.
While Croatia put on the pressure, Tunisia was able to defend – and the weird weather helped no one. The game ended 1:2 for Tunisia.