Croatia's Euro future in peril after toothless 1-1 draw against Czech Republic

Former Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric seemed to be completely out of his depth as almost every single forward pass of his was comfortably dealt.

Ivan Perisic strikes the equalizer against Czech Republic. (Image: Twitter/UEFA Euro 2020)

Croatia have a tough task of qualifying to the knockout stages of Euro 2020 after they only managed to scrape a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic on Friday. The Czechs currently top group D after winning one and drawing one out of two games, with England and Scotland scheduled to play each other later in the day. A victory for the English would almost guarantee the Czechs qualification but a tie or a win for Scotland could very well make things worrisome as they face England in their final group game. The Croatians were the favourites to win the match on paper but their opponents displayed an incredible performance and perhaps even deserved to get all three points.

A wayward Dejan Lovren elbow caught Czech Republic player Patrick Schick on the face in the first half. Schick went down in the penalty box holding his face but the referee waved play on. The game was halted a few seconds later as Schick was unable to get back to his feet. He had suffered a bloody nose from the Lovren elbow. The challenge was then taken to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). The referee was called over to the monitor to have a look at the challenge, and he adjudged a penalty.

Schick sent Croatia goalkeeper Livakovic the wrong way as he slotted home the penalty in the 37th minute to make it 1-0 in favour of the Czech Republic. He is the country’s only goalscorer in the tournament so far. He scored a brace in the nation’s victory against Scotland in their first match of the tournament, including an unbelievable strike from the halfway line.

Croatia tried their best to break a stubborn and well-organized Czech defense in the first half, but their efforts were for nought as the two sides went into the dressing room with the Czechs leading 1-0.

EXPLOSIVE BEGINNING TO THE SECOND HALF

It was exactly what the doctor ordered for Croatia at the beginning of the second half as a moment of individual brilliance got them back level. Ivan Perisic scored an absolute beauty as he curled the ball into the back of the net in the 47th minute to level the score up. Questions will be asked of Czech goalkeeper Vaclik as it seemed like he could have saved the shot if he was positioned better. However, the power of the shot was undeniable and any keeper would have done well to stick a hand out to deflect the ball at that pace.

The match then morphed into an explosive end-to-end game as both sides attacked frantically to get a breakthrough. Counterattack after counterattack characterized the opening 20 to 25 minutes of the second half, but to no avail. Eventually, the game’s pace slowed and both sides seemed content with passing the ball around for a while.

MODRIC FAR FROM HIS BEST

The Croatians made a desperate last-ditch attempt to secure the three points but their midfield looked toothless. Former Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric seemed to be completely out of his depth as almost every single forward pass of his was quite comfortably dealt with by the Czech defense.

The 2018 world cup runners-up will go into their final group game against Scotland in what will be a must-win situation. Even if they win, there is no guarantee that they will make it to the knockout stages. It has been quite a dull tournament for Zlatko Dalic’s men after what was a remarkable performance in the world cup three years ago.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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