Niko Kovač showed faith in NK Rijeka’s Andrej Kramarić by giving him a starting birth up front ahead of Ivica Olić, and the young forward did not disappoint when he opened the flood gates in the 11th minute with a clinical finish from a Darijo Srna cross. A brace by substitute Ivan Perišić with the head, and a turning shot by Dinamo Zagreb’s Marcelo Brozović sent Croatia to the break 4-0 up.
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modrić converted a penalty after the break, before an own goal ended Azerbaijan’s misery on the night.
“We are over the moon. I am very happy with how it went tonight. We were excellent, there is nobody I want to single out, the whole team was great. We could have scored some more at the end but the players started to hold back, which is understandable as tomorrow they set off for their clubs,”said a happy Kovač after the win, adding that is never easy to play the smaller nations and that his side has a lot more room to improve.
Croatia, now top Group H on a maximum 9 points with a superior goal difference over Italy, who they face next in Milan on 16 November.