Home » Sport » Croatia’s dream of historic first trophy ends on penalties against Spain

Croatia’s dream of historic first trophy ends on penalties against Spain

Croatia’s dream of winning their first ever trophy has ended at the hands of Spain in the UEFA Nations League final on Sunday night in Rotterdam.

After the scores were locked at 0-0, Spain would win the penalty shoot-out 5-4 to win the Nations League for the first time.

It was a spirited performance from Croatia in front of around 30,000 passionate Croatian fans who made the trip to the De Kuip stadium.

Zlatko Dalić made one change from the starting eleven which beat the Netherlands on Wednesday with Martin Erlić coming in for Domagoj Vida in the centre of defence. 

As expected, the opening was like a game of chess as both sides felt each other out. Despite some early mistakes due to nerves, Croatia held possession well for most of the first half, staying calm on the ball whilst making it hard for Spain to break through at the back. 

Gavi sent a shot narrowly wide for Spain, whilst Marcelo Brozović and Ivan Perišić threatened for Croatia in a scoreless first half. 

Croatia were the first on the attack in the second half and some good work down the left from Perišić almost ended in a chance but his tantalising cross just evaded the head of Mario Pašalić.

The game was starting to open up and Spain would also threaten in themselves but Marco Asensio could not steer his header on target from six yards out. 

With the crowd in full voice lifting them, Croatia started to take control of the match and had the Spanish rattled for periods of the half, although they could not find a way through. 

Spain had a best chance of the match in the 84th minute but Perišć would clear the ball off the line from a shot from just six yards out from Ansu Fati. 

With neither side able to break the deadlock after 90 minutes the final would head into extra-time and it would be Croatia with a great chance first when Mateo Kovačić put Lovro Majer through on goal but his shot would be blocked by Nacho. 

Olmo had a golden opportunity for Spain with a free shot inside the box before Brozović went close at the other end. Just like in regular time, neither side could find a way through and the final would head into penalties.

Vlašić, Brozović and Modrić would score for Croatia before Majer would have his penalty saved. Laporte had a chance to win it for Spain but he would hit the crossbar. Bruno Petković would then miss before Carvahal stepped up to score the wining penalty for Spain.  

Sign up to receive the Croatia Week Newsletter

Related Posts