Thank you to the great Maminjo for bringing this to the site’s attention. Croatia has never lost the second match of any tournament they have played in…ever.
Denmark (EURO 1996) Won 3-0
Japan (World Cup 1998) Won 1-0
Italy (World Cup 2002) Won 2-1
France (EURO 2004) Drew 2-2
Japan (World Cup 2006) Drew 0-0
Germany (EURO 2008) Won 2-1
Italy (EURO 2012) Drew 1-1
Cameroon (World Cup 2014) Won 4-0
Czech Republic (EURO 2016) Drew 2-2
Argentina (World Cup 2018) Won 3-0
That has to be promising going into Friday’s match against the Czech Republic. The only time Croatia has faced the Czech Republic in a real match (qualifier or tournament) was at EURO 2016. That was the “Croatia Flare Game” where the Vatreni were up 2-0 and in full control, but a few dozen bad apples in the Croatian section stopped the game by throwing flares and explosives onto the pitch. Croatian players came over to plead with the fans who were causing the carnage. They were visibly upset and it showed on the pitch as Croatia conceded twice in the final 15 minutes of the match for the 2-2 draw. The equalizer came in the form of an 89′ penalty for Czech to tie the game. That was exactly five years ago.
There had to be something said for having a 6-0-4 record in “second matches of the tournament.” I predict Croatia will be 7-0-4 after Friday.