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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

Maksimir Stadium (ATT 18,000) 16th October 2012 - Kick off 19:00 Ref: A Tudor

Croatia Croatia vs Wales Wales

Croatia 2

M Mandzukic (27)
Eduardo (58)


Wales 0

Sky Sports 2 HD

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

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

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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.


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.


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
11st Half Goals0
17Shots on Target3
8Shots off Target4
10Blocked Shots0
2Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
85.8Passing Success74.1
81.2Tackles Success82.4
65Territorial Advantage35
572Total Passes286
41Total Crosses14
152Lost Balls151
70.41st Half Poss.29.6
622nd Half Poss.38

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  • FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

    Tue 16th Oct - Group F
    Tue 16th Oct - Group I
    Tue 16th Oct - Group G
    • Latvia
      2 - 0
    • Bos&Herz
      3 - 0
    • Slovakia
      0 - 1
    Tue 16th Oct - Group D
    Tue 16th Oct - Group A
    Tue 16th Oct - Group B
    Tue 16th Oct - Group E
    Tue 16th Oct - Group H
    Tue 16th Oct - Group C


FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Belgium 10 26
2 Croatia 10 17
3 Serbia 10 14
4 Scotland 10 11
5 Wales 10 10
6 Macedonia 10 7

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 22
2 Denmark 10 16
3 Czech Republic 10 15
4 Bulgaria 10 13
5 Armenia 10 13
6 Malta 10 3

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 28
2 Sweden 10 20
3 Austria 10 17
4 Republic of Ireland 10 14
5 Kazakhstan 10 5
6 Faroe Islands 10 1

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 28
2 Romania 10 19
3 Hungary 10 17
4 Turkey 10 16
5 Estonia 10 7
6 Andorra 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Switzerland 10 24
2 Iceland 10 17
3 Slovenia 10 15
4 Norway 10 12
5 Albania 10 11
6 Cyprus 10 5

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 22
2 Portugal 10 21
3 Israel 10 14
4 Azerbaijan 10 9
5 Northern Ireland 10 7
6 Luxembourg 10 6

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 25
2 Greece 10 25
3 Slovakia 10 13
4 Lithuania 10 11
5 Latvia 10 8
6 Liechtenstein 10 2

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 10 22
2 Ukraine 10 21
3 Montenegro 10 15
4 Poland 10 13
5 Moldova 10 11
6 San Marino 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 20
2 France 8 17
3 Finland 8 9
4 Georgia 8 5
5 Belarus 8 4


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