It wasn’t a pretty last four games of qualifying, but nonetheless, the “Cardiac Croatians” got the job done and have qualified for Euro 2024 next summer in Germany. The Vatreni simply needed a win against Armenia Tuesday night in Zagreb, and they got it (1-0) through a 43′ Ante Budimir header (Sosa cross) to get the job done. However, it was anything but an stress-free match as Armenia had their chances on the counter and nearly opened the scoring in the 1st half. Luckily, Livaković got a hand on the “break-away chip shot” to keep the game scoreless.
Things we learned this week:
-Budimir still has something to offer with proper service in the box
-Dalić needs to find a winger on the right side. Majer is not the long-term solution as he naturally plays the CAM role
-Marco Pašalić looked great this week in two short appearances off the bench. He was hungry and could be a right winger option in 2024
-Luka Sučić will be fun to watch. He is never afraid to rifle the ball outside of the box. We have not seen that since Rakitić left
-Kramarić is so important to this team when he plays as a supporting striker and not the 9
-Wales sucks. They had a chance to qualify for Euro with wins over Armenia and an already qualified Turkey side. Instead, they picked up two points this week. How in the hell did we only get one point against these guys? Baffling!
All in all, we got the job done and qualified automatically. We don’t have to worry about a March playoff and get to kick our international feet up until June. Croatia will be placed in Pot 3 for December 2nd’s Euro 2024 draw.
Toughest group: France, Denmark, Italy
Easiest group: Belgium, Albania, League C playoff winner (Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan Luxembourg)