Mario Pasalic’s second-half goal gave Croatia an upset victory over Denmark in Copenhagen in their Nations League clash.
Denmark dominated the first half but could not take advantage with Croatia’s defence stout and goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic denying the best effort on goal from Denmark’s hero in Paris, Andreas Cornelius.
Luka Modric’s introduction at half time completely changed the flow of the game and it was no surprise when they took the lead after Marcelo Brozovic’s cross deflected into the path of Pasalic who nudged home from close range
Denmark had the ball in the net in the closing stages but Jonas Wind’s effort was correctly ruled out after a check with VAR.
Croatia are now level on points with second-place Austria in Group 1, two behind Denmark, who remain in top spot.
TALKING POINT – MODRIC GLITTER DUST IRREPLACEABLE
Croatian boss Zlatko Dalic will be hoping Real Madrid do not ask Luka Modric to do much heavy lifting in the first three months of the Spanish season. You might have to go back to Diego Maradona to see a player being so important to a national side. In the first half they were a side who, albeit with a stout defence, had next to no threat on the opposition goal and were unable to even gain possession in their opponents’ half. Fast forward to the second half and they were the team they have been for much of the last decade, capable of twisting opponents with slick triangles, with the little master pulling the strings. He has signed a new contract with Real Madrid until next summer but Dalic will dearly hope they let the younger midfielders set up their assault for silverware domestically and in Europe before the 36-year-old leaves for Qatar.
MAN OF THE MATCH – JOSEP SUTALO (CROATIA)
It was very tempting to give the award to Modric, but Sutalo was even more important in Croatia getting a positive result from the evening. He made a number of clearances in the first half and a particularly eye-catching interception when Christian Eriksen aimed a diagonal ball for Andreas Skov Olsen to run onto but the centre back got across to snuff out the danger, stop a likely goal and start a counter-attack taking the ball out of defence.
Denmark: Schmeichel 6; Wass 6, Andersen 6, Christensen 6, Maehle 7; Eriksen 7, Hojbjerg 6, Delaney 6; Damsgaard 6, Cornelius 6, Skov Olsen 7.
Subs: Kristensen 6, Wind 7, Braithwaite 7, Skov 6, Poulsen 6
Croatia: Livakovic 7; Vrsaljko 7, Erlic 7, Sutalo 8*, Juranovic 7; Jakic 6, Brozovic 7; Ivanusec 6, Pasalic 7, Orsic 6; Kramaric 6.
Subs: Modric 8, Stanisic 6, Kovacic 7, Vlasic 6, Budimir 6.
11′ MAEHLE WITH A GREAT CHANCE! Hojbjerg finds Maehle behind Vrsaljko but with time to line up his shot he could only find the side-netting.
40′ FINE STOP FROM LIVAKOVIC! Cornelius lines up a shot, curling a low effort at goal from 25 yards out but the Croatian ‘keeper saves diving to his right.
70′ GOAL FOR CROATIA! Pasalic latches onto the ball when Brozovic’s cross deflects off Hojbjerg and he puts the visitors in front.
86′ GOAL FOR DENMARK! A neat finish from Wind from close range but VAR will check this for offside.
86’ GOAL DISALLOWED! A quick decision. He was half a yard beyond the last Croatian defender.