World Cup: Wales outclassed in Croatia as they slip to 2-0 defeat

Last Updated: 16/10/12 10:59pm

  • Share:

Sky Bet

Wales' hopes of World Cup qualification suffered a setback as they lost 2-0 to Croatia in their latest Group A encounter.

Chris Coleman's side had been looking to build on their victory over Scotland on Friday with another positive result, but they contributed to their own downfall as Croatia strengthened their grip on the group.

It was comical defending that allowed Mario Mandzukic to open the scoring as goalkeeper Lewis Price tried to clear Ashley Williams' short back-pass, only to be charged down by the Croatia striker and turn to see him roll the ball into an empty net.

The hosts continued to dominate and were eventually rewarded with a second goal just before the hour mark when Eduardo pounced from close range.

Gareth Bale provided a few bright moments for Wales and Andy King came close to reducing the arrears with a header that was saved right on the line by Stipe Pletikosa, but largely it was one-way traffic.

Croatia carved out numerous opportunities to win by a greater margin but some wasteful finishing, as well as desperate defending, limited the damage.

The result leaves Wales with just three points from their four games, seven points adrift of the leaders, and they must now wait until March before travelling to Scotland and hosting Croatia.

Bossed

Croatia bossed possession from the very early exchanges and Ivan Rakitic saw a shot blocked before Eduardo sent an effort from the edge of the box into the arms of Price, who then got down to push away a Darijo Srna free-kick.

Wales made their first real foray forward in the 12th minute as Bale earned a throw-in he could only deliver straight to goalkeeper Pletikosa.

The hosts were soon back on the attack, with Luka Modric bursting into the box and tumbling under a challenge from Darcy Blake. Croatia supporters cried out for a penalty but referee Alexandru Dan Tudor waved play on.

Price was being kept busy, saving further shots from Rakitic and Milan Badelj, although in between Bale fashioned the visitors' most meaningful effort yet with a strike that fizzed wide.

The Tottenham winger - who had been the star of the show on Friday with two late goals - then won a free-kick in a dangerous position, but when he swung it into the area Pletikosa came to punch the ball out.

Wales had managed to absorb a considerable amount of pressure from their opponents, but they shot themselves in the foot just before the half-hour mark when Price struck skipper Williams' back-pass - which appeared to have been slowed down by the poor playing surface - against Mandzukic, who calmly guided it into the net.

Eduardo then completely miscued an attempted header, while at the other end, another Bale free-kick amounted to nothing.

Croatia kept pressing, with Wales surviving a scramble in the box when Price denied Eduardo.

Threatening

There was no let up after the break for the Dragons, with Williams managing to deflect the ball over when Modric and Eduardo combined two minutes into the second half.

Wales did then muster an effort as Williams nodded wide from a free-kick, but normal service swiftly resumed, with Ivan Perisic heading off-target and Price just managing to keep out Eduardo and Mandzukic.

Eduardo was looking particularly threatening and he was rewarded with a goal in the 58th minute, on hand to tap in after Price had parried a header from a corner.

Eduardo then had another shot saved, before King - in the Wales team for the suspended Aaron Ramsey - wasted a chance to pull a goal back, seeing Pletikosa save his header.

Another scramble ensued in the Wales box that somehow did not result in a third Croatia goal before Price saved a Mandzukic header and Modric drove wide.

Bale beat several men towards the end and drilled in a low effort that Pletikosa could not hold, but substitute Sam Vokes blasted the rebound off-target.

CroatiaTeam StatisticsWales
2Goals0
11st Half Goals0
17Shots on Target3
8Shots off Target4
10Blocked Shots0
10Corners2
12Fouls13
2Offsides0
2Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
85.8Passing Success74.1
16Tackles17
81.2Tackles Success82.4
66Possession34
65Territorial Advantage35
572Total Passes286
41Total Crosses14
152Lost Balls151
57Recoveries49
70.41st Half Poss.29.6
622nd Half Poss.38

  • Share:

Related

Croatia v Wales

Joe Allen: Believes Wales still have a slim chance of World Cup qualification

Allen: Wales will fight on

Joe Allen believes that Wales still have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup, and the team will fight.

Chris Coleman: Had hoped poor conditions might work in his side's favour

Coleman - Pitch didn't help us

Wales boss Chris Coleman admits he had hoped the poor conditions in Croatia on Tuesday night would benefit his side.

Chris Coleman: Not too discouraged following Wales' loss to Croatia

Coleman takes positives

Chris Coleman bemoaned Wales' bad luck after the defeat by Croatia but had praise for a battling performance.

Most Popular

Features

Magnificent seven?

Magnificent seven?

We look at how Tottenham’s seven high-profile signings of 2013 have fared at White Hart Lane.

Pedro can help United

Pedro can help United

We look at what Barcelona winger Pedro could bring to Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United.

Athletics in perspective

Athletics in perspective

Sky Academy Scholar Mark English puts a stuttering start to the season in perspective after losing two close friends.