VARAŽDIN, 11 June 2019 – Croatia has lost a friendly against Tunisia 2-1 at Varteks stadium in Varaždin on Tuesday night in the first match played in Croatia under the new football rule changes.
Zlatko Dalić rested a number of players from Saturday’s victory over Wales, including captain Luka Modrić and goalscorer Ivan Perišić and handed starting debuts to keeper Simon Sluga, and defenders Dario Melnjak and Filip Benković as he started with a new 3-5-2 formation.
Milan Badelj went close first in the 5th minute for Croatia with a shot which just went wide from inside the box but it would be the visitors who would take the lead in the 16th minute when Badri took advantage of the open space on the right to shoot past Sluga in the Croatia goal.
The visitors looked more dangerous and fitter than their opponents in the first half and could have doubled the lead at least twice before the break. The best chance fall to Haddadi who was left one-on-one with Sluga but the Croatian keeper done well to keep his shot out.
Croatia would level the match just two minutes into the second half when striker Bruno Petković found the back of the net with a shot into the bottom left corner after a nice turn in the box.
The home side started to look more dangerous in the second spell and created a number of half chances, the best falling to Mario Pašalić but he could only fashion his left-foot shot wide.
Dalić began to ring the changes, giving game-time to Halilović, Čaktaš, Bartolec, Modrić, Perišić and Brozović in the second spell.
Tunisia would find the winner via the penalty spot in the 70th minute when Domagoj Vida was ajudged to have handled the ball in the box. Sliti made no mistake from the spot, chiping past the diving Sluga in the Croatia goal.
Croatia began to look more dangerous with the introduction of Modrić as Čaktaš and Perišić came close to equalising, but there was no way through as heavy rain fell in the final 15 minutes making conditions difficult.
The loss was Croatia’s first loss in Varaždin and also against an African nation. Tunisia now head off to the Africa Cup of Nations whilst Croatia will not be in action against until September.