Perisic Keeps Croatia Alive in Euro 2020

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Perisic Keeps Croatia Alive in Euro 2020

With England and Scotland set to meet late on Friday evening, both Croatia and the Czech Republic had an opportunity to put themselves in a great position to qualify from the group, yet after a dismal display it was only Ivan Perisic who kept Zlatko Dalic's alive in the tournament.

After reaching the final of the 2018 World Cup, nobody anticipated Croatia would be as poor as they were in the tournament opener against England.

Friday afternoon's clash with the Czech Republic was no different, even though they were buoyed by the return of the experienced defender, Dejan Lovren.

Neither side made a particular mark on the first half, yet it was the Czech side who took the lead through a penalty ten minutes before half-time.

What appeared in real-time as an innocuous aerial collision between Patrick Schick and Lovren was referred to VAR, which showed that the former Liverpool defender had rather clumsily elbowed the former Roma forward in the face.

Quite where the controversy came from with the decision is difficult to point to, it was a clear act of foul play, although it appeared Croatia's team were more incensed that the images of the incident had been shown on Hampden Park's big screen.

Schick converted the penalty powerfully into the left-hand side of the net, taking his tournament tally to three, setting him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Croatia couldn't have played any worse in the second half, yet it took a moment of brilliance from Perisic to keep the country in the tournament.

Having been switched to the right flank from the left at half-time, the former Bayern Munich winger cut inside, troubling the Czech defenders, before firing a powerful shot into the roof of the net past Tomas Vaclik.

No points from the opening two matches would have been a disaster for Croatia, but they are now in a position where they realistically could take four, playing Scotland on the final day of the group phase.

Four points could be enough to see the runners-up from 2018 through, although more and more teams are approaching the four-point mark, which could clog the pipes somewhat.

Source: MARCA