It was what we could expect from a Croatian friendly. A simple training exercise days before the Vatreni take off for Brazil against an African team that will catch the World Cup from the comfort of their own homes. Manager Niko Kovač used 17 Croatian players in the 2-1 win over Mali in Osijek; with Wolfsburg midfielder Ivan Perišić supplying both goals.
In the 15th minute, Perišić received a perfect through ball from Ivan Rakitić, splitting the defense up the middle, for an easy chip over Mali goalie Soumbeïla Diakité. The match would go into halftime with Croatia up 1-0. Changes were made with Sammir coming off for Mateo Kovačić in the 60th minute and Luka Modrić receiving a small cameo appearance, coming in 73 minutes through for Rakitić.
In the 63rd minute, Perišić would score his second goal, tapping in an Ivica Olić header on the back post following a corner kick. Croatia was always in control during the match but let a Traore hand ball goal, which wasn’t seen by the referees, go in the goal in the 79th minute to break the clean sheet.
All regular starters are expected to play against Australia on June 6th in Brazil in Croatia’s last friendly before taking on the hosts in Sao Paulo on June 12th.