Andrej Kramarić bagged the game’s lone goal in the 82nd minute after receiving a Modrić pass on the left flank and cutting in to beat the Saudi keeper with a low shot inside the post. It was enough for the win an an extremely boring game that to be more of a training exercise than a real football match. If you didn’t watch this one, you didn’t miss much.
The Vatreni scored two more times in the match but both goals were called off due to offside — by the slimmest of margins. Saudi Arabia should have easily scored a goal or two in this match but their lack of a top striker showed. They did rattle Livaković’s post on one occasion. At the end of the day, it was a hot (90-degrees) friendly one week before the World Cup kicks off for Croatia on November 23rd. There were no injuries, which is most important, but you could clearly see the boys were only playing at 30%.
Next stop: the World Cup opener versus Morocco next Wednesday!
1st Half: Man, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Croatia play a more boring half. They did not have one solid chance on goal and made the Saudis look like Spain with ball possession. It was clear this was a pre-World Cup friendly as our guys looked to be playing at 30% and making sure they didn’t get hurt. Saudi Arabia had 7 corner kicks compared to Croatia’s zero. I’m confident Petković and Sučić did not touch the ball once. That’s a pretty good indication how the first 45 minutes went. If you didn’t watch, you missed absolutely nothing!
Marcelo Brozović will likely start against Saudi Arabia, given that he has seen limited time on the field following his recent injury. As a key player to the squad, Dalić will look to have him in top shape going into the Morocco matchup. Luka Modrić and Ivan Perišić will likely come off the bench and see only about 30 minutes of game time to preserve their legs. It will be interesting to see how many players Dalić uses during the match.
Match Prediction: 3-0 Croatia. The Vatreni will come away with an easy win, after Saudi Arabia poses no threat in the offensive third. The Croatian midfield will dominate the matchup.