- European World Cup Qualifiers
- 16 October 2012, 6:00pm
- Gradski Vrt
90 mins:FULL TIME: CROATIA 2-0 WALES. Some will say that this Welsh performance was an improvement from the Serbia debacle. But Croatia should have scored a lot more than six tonight and Chris Coleman's side will feel fortunate not to have been completely embarrassed once more.
90 mins:That should be the final effort of the game as Kranjcar's long ball over the top is taken first time by Mandzukic and Price makes another good stop.
90 mins:We are into four minutes of added time.
90 mins:Almost a last gasp consolation for Wales as Pletikosa fumbles Bale's free-kick but grabs it before Church can tap home.
88 mins:Brilliant from Bale! The Spurs man has carried the only attacking threat and done it all alone tonight and does so again by running fifty yards, beating four defenders and only a good stop from Pletikosa denies him.
86 mins:A late change for Croatia with Perisic replacing Vida.
85 mins:Croatia have had the best part of 30 shots on goal tonight now. One-sided does not do this game justice.
84 mins:Lovely again from Modric who has been utterly superb all night with a little backheel into Perisic who curls narrowly wide.
83 mins:Wales bring on Hal Robson-Kanu on for Joe Ledley.
82 mins:Superb once more from Luke Modric who loses two with a clever shifting of his weight before firing a low shot just beyond the far post.
80 mins:Into the final ten minutes now and the pain is almost over for Wales.
78 mins:Croatia are going to replace Eduardo with Niko Kranjcar.
76 mins:Another cross creates another chance for Croatia as Strinic finds Mandzukic's far post run but Price makes the save.
75 mins:And from the blocked shot Rakitic crosses for Eduardo whose header clatters back off the underside of the bar before a huge scramble begins in which Wales somehow survive.
74 mins:Superb skill from Modric as his stepover completely bemuses Allen but the shot is blocked by Williams.
73 mins:A change for Wales with Sam Vokes replacing Andy King.
71 mins:A Welsh break now with Allen bursting forward to try and get involved but his cross into the box is cleared by Simunic.
68 mins:What a chance! Wales' first effort of the second half almost brings a goal as King rises to meet Allen's cross but Pletikosa makes a superb stop right on his own line.
67 mins:You could argue that Croatia have played Wales off the park by an even greater margin than Serbia did last month but just without the number of goals.
64 mins:Here come the hosts once more and Eduardo is played in by Modric and when the pass for Mandzukic is closed off he forces another save from Price.
61 mins:A change for Wales with Simon Church replacing Steve Morison who has probably not even touched the ball.
60 mins:A problem for Croatia with Badelk needing treatment after a crunching challenge with Matthews.
58 mins:GOAL: CROATIA 2-0 WALES. There is the answer! From the corner Ivan Perisic rises unmarked and although Price makes the save it falls for EDUARDO to tuck home the rebound.
58 mins:A long straight ball over the top gets Mandzukic in one on one but he fires straight at Price. When will they get the second?
57 mins:Another minute, another chance! Modric gets to the byline and cuts back to an unmarked Eduardo who scuffs his shot. How many chances have they wasted?
55 mins:Again Croatia have a go and it's Perisic once more whose drive it parried poorly into the air by Price but Wales can smother Eduardo before he can fire home the rebound.
52 mins:The first booking of the game goes to Chris Gunter as he brings down Perisic outside the box and he was so nearly the last man.
51 mins:Another chance for Perisic as he gets to the near post to meet Rakitic's corner but glances his header over the bar.
49 mins:Another lungbursting run from Bale gets Wales into the other half of the pitch. He is hte only attacking spark Wales have got and he knows it.
48 mins:Lovely move from Croatia with Modric, again, at the heart of it with a clever backheel into Perisic whose effort is superbly blocked by Williams.
46 mins:The second half is underway. Can Wales mount a fightback?
45 mins:A change for Serbia at the break with Gordon Schildenfeld replacing Lovren.
45 mins:HALF TIME: CROATIA 1-0 WALES. How is it only 1-0? Croatia have been all over Wales who have barely been out of their half for 45 minutes.
44 mins:Another Croatian chance as Modric delivers a lovely reverse pass into Eduardo's run but his curling shot is always going over the bar.
42 mins:Still Croatia press forward and Eduardo falls down in the box and wants a penalty but it's a pretty blatant dive and the referee isn't interested.
40 mins:What a mess! Srna's low cross is poorly defended once more and the ball drops at the feet of Eduardo who instinctively pokes a poot at it and Price makes a good reaction stop.
38 mins:If Wales can get to half time at 1-0 then they will be delighted because they have been completely dominated by the Croatians so far tonight.
35 mins:More problems at the back for Wales as Rakitic's cross isn't cleared and Mandzukic gets it back across towards Perisic who almost bundles it in.
32 mins:Should be 2-0! A devilish cross from Strinic finds Eduardo unmarked in the six yard box but the former Arsenal man completely misses his header.
30 mins:Having held out against the Croatian onslaught for the best part of half an hour, Wales boss Chris Coleman will be devastated with the manner in which his side have conceded.
28 mins:GOAL: CROATIA 1-0 WALES. Oh dear! A poor backpass from Williams and Price comes hurtling out but, for some reason, crashes his clearance against the onrushing MANDZUKIC who is left with the simple task of rolling it into the empty net.
27 mins:Panic stations in the Welsh penalty area as Price comes for a cross and gets nowhere near it but Eduardo can't quite hook the loose ball on target.
25 mins:Lovren was booked for the challenge on Bale.
24 mins:What a run! Gareth Bale runs three quarters of the length of the field to relieve pressure and is eventually chopped down just outside the box by Lovren.
23 mins:Super save! A rasping 25 yard volley from Badelj brings a top class diving stop from Price. That looked destined for the top corner.
20 mins:Gareth Bale is almost definitely going to be involved in anything Wales can do in attack tonight. He shows his skill but cutting inside his marker and firing narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
17 mins:Ivan Rakitic chances his arm from 25 yards with a fierce half volley that Price does well to hold.
15 mins:Luka Modric drives into the box and goes down under challenge from Williams but the Real Madrid man is immediately to his feet to make sure the referee knows it's not a penalty.
13 mins:At long last Wales have the ball and can spread it wide to Gareth Bale who is instantly surrounded by three defenders.
10 mins:Darijo Srna is Croatia's resident set-piece expert and he tries his luck from 25 yards and it forces a good save from Lewis Price.
7 mins:First chance of note as Eduardo chests down for Rakitic to strike but it's blocked by a combination of Williams and Blake.
6 mins:Wales cannot get a foot on the ball as Croatia continue to look dangerous early on.
3 mins:A good start from the hosts who have got hold of the ball and are looking to pin Wales back.
1 mins:We are underway.
Wales: Price, Williams, Ben Davies, Gunter, Blake, Edwards, Vaughan, Bale, Allen, Ledley, Morison.
Croatia: Pletikosa, Strinic, Simunic, Lovren, Srna, Badelj, Perisic, Rakitic, Modric, Mandzukic, Eduardo.
Wales are already on the brink of losing any chance of qualifying from this tough group and will be looking to avoid a similar defeat to the one they suffered in Serbia last month.
Croatia have enjoyed a good start to their qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014 and will fancy their chances of another three points tonight.
Welcome to Osijek as Crotia entertain Wales.
- European World Cup Qualifiers
- 16 October 2012, 6:00pm
- Gradski Vrt
Wales fell to their third defeat in four Group A World Cup qualifiers after being overrun by a dominant Croatia side 2-0 in Osijek on Tuesday.
The Dragons did well to keep their hosts at bay until the 27th minute, when goalkeeper Lewis Price tried to clear a weak Ashley Williams back-pass but was charged down by Mario Mandzukic, who tapped home.
Former Arsenal forward Eduardo then made it 2-0 after the break with a close-range finish.
It was no less than Croatia deserved from a match in which they were superior throughout.
Wales, meanwhile, after bouncing back from a 2-0 loss to Belgium and 6-1 thrashing in Serbia in their opening two Group A fixtures with Friday's morale-boosting 2-1 win over Scotland, have been very much brought back down to earth and might well feel grateful they were not beaten by more.
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 Gareth Bale earned a throw-in he could only deliver straight to goalkeeper Stipe 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 Andy 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.