CROATIA does not open the euro best. In the first game of Group D, England celebrated 1:0 with Sterling’s goal in the 57th minute.
The game was reviewed by Index expert commentator Matjaž Kek.
England deservedly won. This is a strange and atypical game, especially in England. England got what they wanted from the beginning. They controlled the game from the first minute to the last minute. They did this in a slow-paced, dog-like manner, and controlled the defense after scoring, so Croatia did not create a chance in 90 minutes.
The England team didn’t play any great games, but they played smart and wise, just like Southgate set. I must admit that I was surprised by the discipline of the British. They did not jump out of the agreement, they were patient, they waited for the opportunity, they were not in a hurry, they celebrated well-deservedly.
The Croatian team did not play well. Especially at the beginning, in the first 15-20 minutes, England’s dominance was evident, and it was pure luck that did not score a goal or two. In my opinion, the biggest problem in Croatia’s game is that Modric played too high, he did stand very close to Rebic, and Brozovic made a lot of mistakes. Under such circumstances, the Croatian team suffered a creative loss and could not get the ball.
After the first 20 minutes, especially after scoring a goal, my impression is that England deliberately withdrew. It’s hard to say, but I think they have respect for Croatia, and the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia went through their minds. They are afraid of some Croatian counterattacks and the deep ball that might surprise them.
It is obvious that Klamarić did not play a role on the right. He is too absent, that position is not suitable for him. However, I don’t want to reconsider Dalic’s decision because he knows best which player he needs most at a given moment. For me, the bigger problem than Kramarić’s position is to raise Modric too high, because it made Croatia lose control of the game.
Both sides are too respectful, and the risk is too small. England withdrew after scoring, and then Croatia had to play more aggressively and vertically. Croatia held the ball in the last 20 minutes, but did nothing in the last third of the frontcourt. I want to repeat, England’s control and discipline of the game surprised me, but I still think Croatia must have more desire and determination to equalize the score. In my opinion, the Croatians are too nervous and I am surprised that they overreacted after every other decision of Orsat.
Croatia’s defeat was too bad, but it was not a tragedy. The England team is the most popular team. They are a great team. They play at home and they are worthy of victory. Croatia now needs to prepare for the remaining two games, it must look for opportunities. Now that the Czech Republic follows closely behind, this will be a completely different story. Croatia had to take more risks in that game than today. It is not easy. It is expected that the Czech team’s defense will be tight, but Dalic’s team has players who know how to break through and have stronger defensive blocks than the Czech team, so I am looking forward to Croatia’s victory in that game.