Ante Čačić has continued his unbeaten record since taking over in charge as coach of Croatia after his side drew with Hungary 1-1 on Saturday at the new Groupama Arena stadium in Budapest…
Croatia, still without Barcelona star Ivan Rakitić, were missing captain Darijo Srna, Dejan Lovren, Milan Badelj, Nikola Kalinić and keeper Danijel Subašić from Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Israel. In came to the starting line-up Hajduk Split keeper Lovre Kalinić, Šime Vrsaljko, Gordon Schildenfeld, Domagoj Antolić and Mateo Kovačić.
After a quiet opening 25 minutes with no real chances, Croatia, playing for the first time in their new blue kit, slowly started to control the game and enjoy more possession. Croatia’s first real attack of the match led to their first goal just before the half-hour mark. Good midfield build up from Real Madrid pair Luka Modrić and Kovačić before Brozović released winger Ivan Perišić down the left. The Inter Milan star, who found the back of the net himself on Wednesday night, then whipped in a cross across the face of the goal which was met at the far post by striker Mario Mandžuzkić who made it 1-0 in the 29th minute.
There was not much action in the final 15 minutes of the first half, although Kalinić, who has been very impressive in the limited game time he has had in a Croatia shirt, was called upon to make a good save from a long-range Hungarian effort. Apart from the ever-impressive Perišić, Kovačić also looked good in spells in the first half making a few mazy runs.
In the opening minute of the second half Hungary had a half chance to level, but it was Kalinić again who denied a long-range effort with a good save. Just like on Wednesday night against Israel, Croatia started to lose their shape and rhythm in the second spell and looked passive at times as Hungary started to threaten with more possession.
Croatia had a chance to double their lead in the 76th minute when substitute Srna fired just wide from a free kick on the edge of the box. Two minutes later, from a similar position, Hungary managed to level the match when Dsdudzak curled his free kick around the wall and past Kalinić to make it 1-1.
The final 10 minutes failed to provide any further goals and Croatia had to settle for a 1-1 draw in its second build-up match for Euro inside 3 days. The lack of intensity and creation of chances in the second spell will be a worry for Čačić against a side Croatia were clearly technically superior than.
Hungary 1 – 1 Croatia
(79’Dsdudzak) (29′ Mandžukić)
Groupama Arena stadium, Budapest
Hungary: Tibus – Fiola, Lang, Guzmics, Korhut – Gera, Nagy – Nemeth, Klen, Dsdudzak – Priskin.
Croatia: Kalinić – Vrsaljko, Ćorluka, Schildenfeld, Vida – Modrić, Antolić – Brozović, Kovačić (Srna), Perišić – Mandžukić.