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Croatia coach Dalic complains about ‘very bad’ extra time during a draw in Albania

<a class= van Zlatko Dalic"koppeling " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/croatia/" gegevens-i13n="sec:inhoud-canvas;subsec:anker_tekst;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Kroatië;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Croatia</a> is facing a possible early exit from the Euro 2024 (GABRIEL BOUYS)” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/zZ3n_IatU_xhUs.oZP9D9Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https:/ /media.zenfs.com/en/afp.co.uk/c8d1a726a9731e28d6bb0599fd0ed49b” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/zZ3n_IatU_xhUs.oZP9D9Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PT k2MDtoPTY0MA–/ https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp.co.uk/c8d1a726a9731e28d6bb0599fd0ed49b”/><button class=
Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia faces possible early exit from Euro 2024 (GABRIEL BOUYS)

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic regretted a “very poor” stoppage time performance from his team after they squandered a late lead against Albania in what was a damaging 2-2 draw at Euro 2024 on Wednesday.

The 2022 World Cup semi-finalists and last year’s Nations League runners-up recovered from a poor first half and a one-goal deficit to take the lead with fourteen minutes remaining.

But they sat back late on and were made to pay when Albanian midfielder Klaus Gjasula grabbed the equalizer in the 95th minute.

“We wanted to go deep without it being necessary,” Dalic said at a post-match press conference.

“We didn’t tell them to drop deep, we wanted them to score the third goal and put pressure.

“So it was weird, it was a mistake. We shouldn’t have allowed the opponent to come at us.

“This extra time was really bad, there was a battle without the need to play like that.”

Croatia will now likely have to beat Italy in their final Group B match on June 24 to advance to the knockout stages for a fifth straight major tournament after suffering a 3-0 defeat to Spain last week.

Croatia has enjoyed an unprecedented period of success since its surprise appearance in the 2018 World Cup finals, when the country lost to France.

There are fears that the European Championship in Germany could mark the end of an era for a team that includes 38-year-old Luka Modric, 35-year-old Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric, who celebrated his 33rd birthday with a goal on Wednesday.

“This is a different tournament, a different story,” Dalic said.

“We didn’t expect to have such a difficult story in these two games, so it was a struggle.

“Maybe that is the way to come out even better. The World Cup was two years ago and our players are getting older.”

Croatia aren’t the only side keen to mislead in the group stages so far, with favorites France and England enjoying 1-0 wins over Austria and Serbia respectively.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal needed a late winner to beat the Czech Republic, while Belgium suffered a shock defeat to Slovakia.

“This tournament was difficult. Portugal, it was difficult for them against the Czech Republic, England against Serbia… so this tournament is very open and the teams are quite even,” Dalic added.

“The most important thing is that we are still alive, we have to go for the win against Italy.”

jc/pi

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