Peep-peep, it's all over! Croatia hang on in a match they dominated in terms of possession and chances. That was a valiant effort from Wales, who looked like they'd emptied their tank in the middle of the second half. The goal from Brooks set up a riotous final ten minutes, in which he missed a glorious chance to double his tally and nick a draw for Wales. A tough defeat to take for Wales, who had their chances, but there's plenty of good things for Ryan Giggs to take from that.
- 2nd Half
- 1st Half
- Lawrence (o.g.)17'
Croatia - Wales
Euro Qualifying - 8 June 2019
Euro Qualifying – Follow the Football match between Croatia and Wales live with Eurosport. The match starts at 14:00 on 8 June 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Matondo launches a Hail Mary cross into the Croatian area, but Livakovic gathers comfortably. That might be the last chance.
Skoric replaces Perisic for Croatia.
There are five additional minutes here. Brozovic takes a yellow card for a tactical foul to break up all the fun.
TWO HUGE CHANCES! Kramaric again finds acres of space on the left, cuts into the area and Hennessey does well to parry the shot away. Wales break immediately, Bale's cross finds Brooks with an open look at goal from eight yards but he can't connect properly with his left foot, and Livakovic gathers at the second attempt. Phew!
Bale fires a deliciously dangerous cross right across the Croatian six-yard box. It takes one bounce on its way through, but Wilson can't control his header at the back post and it flies to safety. What a cross.
BIG CHANCE FOR CROATIA! A sumptuous long pass from Luka Modric finds Kramaric in the penalty area, having ghosted away from the Welsh centre-backs. Kramaric brings it down but can only hammer a half-volley into the side-netting. That was the game right there.
Croatia almost open Wales up. A long ball down the right is squared across to the dangerous Perisic, but an off-balance Roberts just manages to clear the danger.
A thundering version of the Welsh anthem in the stands; the fans fancy this. There's still danger from Perisic though, who is played into the Welsh area but shoots well off target from an acute angle.
Wales are forcing the issue now, and Brozovic needlessly concedes a corner. Mepham gets his head to it, but with no power and Livakovic gathers easily.
Another change for Wales, Matondo on for James.
GOAL! Croatia 2 Wales 1 (Brooks 77)
Well well, this makes things interesting! Wales work the ball back and forth across the Croatia area. David Brooks works his way into a shooting position, and unloads a shot with his right foot. The ball skims off the head of Vida, wrongfooting Livakovic as it flies into the net. Game on!
A change for Croatia, Kovacic off and Badelj on.
Bale hits a speculator from wide on the left of the area, which Livakovic palms behind for a corner. Wilson lobs it into the penalty area but Croatia clear.
Bale and Allen try to get something going, playing a quick one-two to release Allen into the area. His attempted cross is deflected though and Livakovic gathers.
Allen is dumped over by Brozovic this time, but Wales can't make anything of the free-kick.
Daniel James accelerates past Vida on the left touchline. In response, Vida cleans him out with a preposterously wild sliding tackle and goes into the book. The players stop for another cooling break, which Joe Allen seems to need; during the substitutions he was losing his rag with a couple of the Croatian players and mild shoving ensued.
More danger from Perisic down the left again, released into oceans of space again with a long ball. He's dispossessed as he tries to cut into the area, but he's got a complete free run down that side.
Substitutions aplenty here. For Wales, David Brooks replaces Matt Smith and Danny Ampadu comes on for Vaulks, while Pasalic replaces Brekalo for Croatia.
In the fug around the goal, it seems that the referee booked Gareth Bale for protesting.
CHANCE FOR BALE! Joe Allen picks him out with a long ball, leaving Bale one on one with Lovren. Bale cuts across him but hits a tame shot straight at Livakovic from twenty yards out. A disappointing finish, for that was a good chance on his left foot.
A lull here, after a flurry of goalmouth action and bookings. Croatia are settling into possession again.
Bale tries a whip and dip combo. The ball clears the wall but doesn't come down in time, and sails over the bar.
Free-kick in a dangerous position for Wales here. Lovren seems to beat Bale to a high ball fairly, but the referee thinks differently and books Lovren to boot. A chance for Bale to unload one here...
Jedvaj is a luckly lad here. He catches Joe Allen with a nasty, studs heavy tackle and gets booked. Jedvaj could easily have gone for that.
GOAL! Croatia 2 (Perisic 48) Wales 0
A defensive disaster for Wales. Modric and Kramiric almost work an opening into the Welsh area. From a tackle the ball ricochets about, Lawrence is slow to clear and Perisic shoulders Roberts too easily off the loose ball. With his right foot he slams a low shot through the legs of Hennessey an into the net.
DISALLOWED GOAL! Modric leads a break down the right, and feeds Brekalo. He cuts into the area and his low shot is saved by the legs of Hennessey. The ball balloons out to Kovacic, who slams it into the net from twenty yards but an offside has been called and it's ruled out.
The teams are back out on the pitch. No substitutions for either side, and we're away again.
There is a suggestion that Wales should feel aggrieved by the Croatian goal, as before the ball was transferred into the Welsh half Wilson went down on the edge of the Croatian area. Whether it was a foul is debatable; Wales still had chances to deal with the break thereafter.
A long, raking pass from Vaulks almost releases Wilson through the middle. Croatia clear, and that's your lot for the first half. It was difficult at times for Wales, who looked like they might unravel after the goal, but they'll take heart from the two chances they've created.
Wales have their tails up suddenly, and James wins a corner. Vaulks whips it in, but Livakovic relocates his handling skills and catches well under pressure. There will be one minute of added time.
BIG CHANCE FOR WALES! The first glimpse of Daniel James here - from the left he loops a cross to the unmarked Harry Wilson, who volleys a cut back to the onrushing Vaulks. From ten yards Vaulks hits it first time and Livakovic spills the shot, but gathers it again just in time with Bale lurking dangerously. Close.
Roberts gets away down the right for Wales, but he can't quite catch up with the ball and only scuffs a low cross into the arms of Livakovic.
Modric presses Mepham in the Welsh area, as the ball holds up on the dry pitch. For a split second it looks like a John Stones-esque disaster might ensue, but Mepham just about recovers to hack the ball clear. Seconds earlier, Perisic had danced his way into a dangerous crossing position on the left again. Wales are under it here, and need half-time to regroup.
CHANCE! Modric finds Kramaric in space near the Welsh area on the left again, with a gorgeous through ball. Kramaric, one on one with Mepham, cuts across his man and into the area but curls his right-footed shot just over the bar.
Wales just can't get the ball here, Croatia are bossing this. In this kind of heat it could be a long afternoon. A looping ball from the right almost gets Kramaric in behind the Welsh defence, but Wales clear.
Gareth Bale bursts into life, sizing up Vida and scorching past how down the right. He's soon crowded out though, and with little support Croatia regain the ball and clear.
The game has settled into a pattern now, with Croatia in charge. How Wales must be rueing that miss from Harry Wilson.
Bale gets put on the deck again, this time by Brekalo just as it looked like he might get away and lead a break. For his troubles, Brekalo goes in the book.
We're back. A long throw from Vaulks is spilled by Livakovic, but there are no Welsh players around to take advantage and the goalkeeper scoops it back up.
Gareth Bale is clattered by Kovacic, who is lucky to escape a booking. Giggs is off the bench to vent his annoyance. It's a good time for a cooling break, so the players take a 90 second breather to rehydrate with water.
Kovacic makes hay down the Welsh right now, bursting past Allen, but Mepham steps in to snuff out the danger. Wales are creaking here, and need to get some bodies in there to plug the holes.
That's a sickener for Wales, but the warning signs have been there. James Lawrence had no choice but to try and play at the ball, as there was a tap-in for Croatia otherwise.
GOAL! Croatia 1 ( Lawrence own goal 17) Wales 0
This has been coming. A long ball into the channel vacated by the attacking Roberts finds Perisic in acres of space but in a wide position. He composes himself, and drills a low cross-cum-shot across the six yard box. The ball clatters into Lawrence, rushing back to cover the danger, and trickles into the net.
More danger down the left from Perisic, who is giving Connor Roberts all kinds of headaches, his floated cross is headed back to Hennessey.
Croatia fire straight back; a dangerous low cross from the right is put behind by Mepham for a corner. The Croatians work a short one, and with a pre-planned move Modric finds Perisic in the penalty area with a good look at goal, but his first-time shot again flies wildly over the bar.
BIG CHANCE FOR WALES! A long throw-in from Bale catches out the Croatia defence and Harry Wilson is suddenly free, central, and on the edge of the Croatian area. He lets the ball bounce up but doesn't quite catch his volley true, and it goes straight into the arms of Livakovic. What an open look at goal, from absolutely nothing.
More danger down the Welsh right as Perisic gets a bit of space and blazes a shot over the crossbar from twenty yards out. An early concern for Giggs.
Kramaric gets one on one with Chris Mepham on the left of the area. He tries a step over before bursting outside him, but the defender expertly uses his body to see the ball out for a goal-kick.
Croatia press high and force Wales to pass back to Hennessey, who slices his clearance out for a throw-in. Wales are in their red home kit here while Croatia sport their ultra-stylish black and blue checked away threads. Go figure.
Another Perisic cross from the left, but it's slightly deflected and Hennessey plucks it out of the bright blue sky.
A mammoth bout of possession for Croatia as they look to establish the pattern of the game. Modric, as ever, is central to it all. Perisic has a jaunt down the left, but his low cross is hacked clear.
After a minute's silence for the recent passing of Lennart Johansson, we're underway.
The Croatian team and fans blast through their own epic national anthem, and we're ready to go.
Bale and Modric lead out the teams onto what looks like quite a hard pitch. It's time for the anthems, with the frankly magnificent Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau up first.
Almost time to go here on what looks like a blazing afternoon in Osijek. It's thirty degrees apparently, and UEFA are allowing water breaks today.
There will inevitably be a lot of focus on Daniel James today. His jet-heeled wonder goal against Brentford in the FA Cup last season has been part of a meteoric rise in the game, leading to his imminent transfer to Manchester United. Giggs, who knows a fair bit about running down the wing for that club, has a player of some potential on his hands, who could develop into a devastating foil to Gareth Bale in the Welsh attack.
For Wales they’re looking to build on a good start to the group in March, when Daniel James hit an early winner in Cardiff against Slovakia. Wales have never beaten Croatia in four attempts, and manager Ryan Giggs sounds pragmatic with a hint of bullishness in the pre-match interview. There’s still a hint of a World Cup hangover about this Croatian side; can Wales take advantage?
Croatia are looking to bounce back today after a surprise defeat to Hungary in Budapest in March. There’s still a huge margin of error in qualifying for Euro 2020 given that the top two teams from the group qualify and there exists the potential safety net of the play-offs for finishing third, but Croatia won’t want another misstep here.
Wales are hampered by the absence of Aaron Ramsey in midfield, though Joe Allen hits the milestone of cap number 50 today. In defence Ben Davies returns at left-back.
The Croatia team is a bit of a patchwork effort. Ivan Rakitic and Ante Rebic dropped out of the squad late, while full-backs Sime Vrsaljko and Ivan Strinic are long-term absentees. They still have their inspirational captain and Ballon d’Or holder Luka Modric though, picking up his 121st cap today.
And the Welsh team: (4-3-3): Hennessey; Roberts, Mepham, Lawrence, Davies; Allen, Smith, Vaulks; Wilson, Bale (c), James
SUBS: Gunter, Taylor, Williams, Vokes, Ward, Levitt, Brooks, Matondo, Ampadu, Lawrence, Davies, Lockyer
Your referee overseeing all the fun will be Istvan Kovacs from Romania.
Your Croatian team for today (4-2-3-1) : Livakovic; Barisic, Vida, Lovren, Jedvaj; Brozovic, Modric; Perisic, Kovacic, Brekalo; Kramaric
SUBS: Melnjak, Caleta-Car, L Kalinic, Skoric, Benkovic, Pasalic, Halilovic, Caktas, Badelj, Petkovic, Bartolec, Sluga
Welcome to live coverage of Croatia versus Wales in Euro 2020 qualifying Group E. Teams to follow shortly.