An Andrej Kramarić goal early in the first half has given Croatia a 1-0 win over Moldova in their first warm-up match for Euro 2016 in the northern town of Koprivnica on Friday evening…
Croatia, who were without stars Luka Modrić, Mario Mandžukić, Ivan Rakitić, Mateo Kovačić and captain Darijo Srna, opened the scoring in the 8th minute when Andrej Kramarić found the back of the next with a shot from just inside the box after a Marcelo Brozović through ball.
Kramaric had another chance just moments later to double the lead but shot wide. Defender Šime Vrsaljko, whose work-rate in the first half was impressive, then nearly made it 2-0 when hit the cross bar in the 12th minute with a delicate lob. Although controlling possession for the remainder of the first half, Croatia looked tired and failed to move the ball at speed through the midfield and whilst they had a few half-chances the lead stayed at 1-0 at the break.
Coach Ante Čačić made 6 changes at the halftime, giving a debut to Tottenham and Liverpool target Ante Ćorić. Croatia continued to have the better share of possession in the second spell and created a number of chances, notably two to substitute Duje Čop, who hit the post with a one. Ćorić came close with a shot just over the bar after some good lead-up work from Alen Halilović, but Croatia failed to find the back of the net and the match petered out to a 1-0 win. Croatia ended the match with 19 shots against Moldova’s 4.
Moldova, ranked 156th in the world and missing a number of their regulars due to club commitments, will be happy with their performance, whilst Čačić will be left with a few unanswered questions. Some positives that Čačić will take from this game will have come from watching Kramarić find his goal-scoring form, the performance of Vrsaljko at right back and the energy and creativity of Halilović in the second spell.
Čačić has one warm-up match left against San Marino to try out some combinations before Croatia play Turkey in their opening group game at Euro 2016 on 12 June in Paris.
“I am satisfied, we had more chances, hit the post 3 times and dominated possession. We missed a lot of players and it was a chance to see some new players, especially the youngsters in the second half. Missing 5 players and we didn’t make any mistakes at the back I can be happy with how we played,” said Čačić after the match.
CROATIA 1-0 MOLDOVA
CROATIA: Subašić, Strinić, Vida (Schildenfeld), Ćorluka, Vrsaljko, Brozović (Ćorić), Badelj (Antolić), Perišić (Halilović), Pjaca (Rog), Kramarić (Čop), Kalinić
MOLDOVA: Cebanu, Jardan, Golovatenco, Cascaval, Epureanu, Ionita, Vremea, Bugneac, Ambros, Milinceanu, Ivanov
GOAL SCORERS: Kramarić