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Croatia lose to Spain in Euro 2024 opener in Berlin

Marcelo Brozovic playing for Croatia agains Spain Euro 2024

Marcelo Brozović

Spain has beaten a disappointing Croatia 3-0 in the opening match of Group B at Euro 2024 in Berlin on Saturday.

Despite the stadium filled mostly with Croatian fans who were making the most noise, it was the Spaniards who would dominate on the pitch. 

Lacking energy, speed, heart, aggression, and creativity, qualities that have characterised the Croatian team for a number of years, its was a disheartening first half performance as they conceded three times.

Croatia had their chances too, but Ante Budimir and Lovro Majer could not find the target from close range and the Spaniards made them pay.

Coach Zlatko Dalić made a number of changes in the second half, brining on Ivan Perišić, Luka Sučić and Mario Pašalić as he tried to inject some energy into the midfield.

Whilst they showed a bit more fight, when Josip Stanišić had a shot blocked from close range one got the feeling it would not be Croatia’s day.

Croatia were given a penalty in the 77th minute when Bruno Petković was brought down in the box by Rodri.

However, Petković would have his spot kick saved but would eventually put the ball in the back of the net from the resulting play. To sum up Croatia’s day, Perišić was ruled to have entered the box to early so the goal was ruled out. 

Dalić has the task now of lifting his players in what will be a must-win match against Albania on Wednesday.  

1-0 Morata 29’

An early setback for Croatia came in the 29th minute. A careless mistake in the midfield resulted in the loss of possession. Ruiz quickly seized the opportunity, passing to the unmarked Morata, who burst towards the Croatian goal and effortlessly beat Livaković, putting Spain ahead 1-0.

2-0 Ruiz 32’

Just three minutes later, Ruiz himself found the back of the net. After receiving the ball at the edge of the penalty area, he skilfully manoeuvred past two Croatian defenders and launched a powerful shot into the bottom right corner, leaving Livaković helpless.

3-0 Carvajal 45+1’

In the final moments of the first half, Carvajal further solidified Spain’s advantage. Darting from the back to the near post, he connected with a precise cross from Yamal and scored, making it 3-0 just before the half-time whistle.

Croatia’s Euro 2024 schedule: (CET time)

19 June
Croatia vs Albania (Hamburg, 15:00)

24 June
Croatia vs Italy (Leipzig, 21:00)


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