Nikola Vlasic (17th) gave Croatia the lead at Hampden Park, while the Scots equalized through Callum McGregor (42nd) just before the break. After the break, goals from stars Luka Modric (62nd) and Ivan Perisic (77th) ensured the much-needed breakthrough. The Croatians will continue in the round on Monday (6 pm) in Copenhagen against the runners-up in Group E (Sweden, Slovakia, Spain and Poland). The Scots finished as the bottom group with one point in their first title match since the 1998 World Cup.
After a disappointing performance so far, Croatian team boss Zlatko Dalic turned his team mainly on the offensive. Josip Brakalo and Ante Rebic had to give way to a 1–1 draw against the Czech Republic, with Vlasic and Bruno Petkovic opening for them. For the Scots, Stuart Armstrong moved to the starting line-up, replacing shooting star Billy Gilmour. The 20-year-old – still selected man of the game in Friday’s 0-0 draw against England – had then tested positive for the coronavirus.
Photo gallery with 11 pictures
Cold Shower for Major Bulkheads
The hosts made an ambitious start at Hampden Park, with Scotland earning two corners in the first minute. First for a good chance was Che Adams, who narrowly escaped a cross from John McGuin and was then guided to the goal by goalkeeper Dominic Livakovic (sixth).
With their first really dangerous attack, the Croatians took the lead and gave a cold shower to the Scots, who were then dominant. Perisic allowed a Modric cross to Ricochet to Vlasic, who hit two defenders in the bottom left corner (17th).
Vlasic scores 1-0 for Croatia (17th minute)
Nikola Vlasic chases the ball to the bottom left corner when he falls.
With the goal, the match became more open, and the Croatians had a chance to make it 2–0 with Modric’s long-range shot. Keeper David Marshall was able to drive the ball over the goal with his fingers (22nd). Livakovic, on the other hand, saved the visitors from equalizing in a volley from McGinn (24th).
McGregor ends Scottish goal disappointment
As a result, the Croatians took control of the game, but the Scots scored their first goal in this European Championship after almost two and a half games – as the last of all 24 teams. McGregor picked up a rebound and hit the left corner from the edge of the penalty area (42.). With 1:1 – a result that would have meant a premature end to the European Championship for both teams – it went into the break.
McGregor level off (42nd minute)
Callum McGregor shoots from about 16m and hits it perfectly to equalize.
The ailing Grant Hanley was replaced by Scott McKenna in the 33rd minute, with both coaches waiving the replacement at halftime.
Dream goal from “King of Croatia”
The Croatians had their first chance after the break: Josko Guardiol made a perfect start in a hole pass from Vlasic, but the ball was put too far ahead and collided with Marcel in the penalty area (50th). The Scots were also dangerous in a counterattack, but a straight short from McGinn crossed the gate a hair’s width (59th).
In the 62nd minute, Modric once again put the visitors on their way to victory. The 2018 world footballer made an amazing kick into the Scottish goal by combining several stations just outside the penalty area and thus earning his nickname “King of Croatia”.
Perisic puts an end to Scottish hopes
The Scots, who were two goals away from the 16th round, did not give up, but did not miss more than half of their chances to Scott McTominay (73rd) and the recently replaced Ryan Fraser (74th).
In the 77th minute, the Scottish dream of surviving the opening rounds of a major tournament for the first time ever came to an end. Perisic carefully extended a Modric corner through the inside bar to make it 3-1 in the goal. With this goal, the Croatians also pushed the Czech Republic to second place in the group.
Perisic moves to 3:1 (77th minute)
Ivan Perisic extended a Luka Modric corner to 3-1.
Voices for the game:
zlatko dalik (Coach Croatia): “We were lethargic after the 1-0 win. But we remained calm. We didn’t give up, we believed we could do it. We played calmly and with concentration. Not long ago It’s about when we could score a goal.”
steve clark (Scotland coach): “Today we played against a team that has a lot of tournament experience. You knew how to play the third group game, we probably didn’t. So we are going home and Croatia is ahead. I promise it won’t be another 23 years before the next final.”
Luka Modric (Captain and goalscorer Croatia): “We were not satisfied after the first two games. We knew we could play better and we showed it. If we play like this, we are dangerous for any opponent.”
John McGuino (Midfielder Scotland): “I’m devastated. We wanted to be the first Scottish team to make the opening round. We expected it to be a prologue and it’s over.”
Callum McGregor (Scotland scorer): “He had a lot of quality at the end, you could see it with Modric’s goal. So it is already difficult to proceed at this stage. We played well and learned a lot. But of course we are disappointed.”
European Football Championship, Group D, 3rd match day
Croatia – Scotland 3:1 (1:1)
Glasgow, Hampden Park, 12,000 spectators, SR Rapalini (ARG)
1:0 Vlasik (17.)
1:1 McGregor (42.)
2:1 Modric (62.)
3:1 Perisic (77.)
Croatia: Livakovic – Juranovic, Lavren, Vida, Gvardiol (71./Barisic) – Kovacic, Brozovic – Perisic (81./Rebic), Modric, Vlasic (76./Ivanusek) – Petkovic (71./Kramarik)
Scotland: Marshall – O’Donnell (84./Patterson), McTominay, Hanley (33./McKenna), Tierney, Robertson – Armstrong (70./Fraser), McGregor, McGregor – Dykes, Adams (84./Nisbet)
Yellow Card: Loveren or McKenna
Best: Vlasic, Modric, Perisic or McGinn, Tierney, Robertson
Total coffee specialist. Hardcore reader. Incurable music scholar. Web guru. Freelance troublemaker. Problem solver. Travel trailblazer.