Croatia’s national team draws 2-2 with Albania and stands last in Group B, Euro 2024, praying for victory over Italy in the upcoming match.

Many Croatian players are confident of beating Italy in the final round to advance to the Euro 2024 round of 16, after their team drew 2-2 with Albania and remained at the bottom of Group B.

“We often find ourselves in situations like this,” forward Andrej Kramaric said after the match. “But we will trust until the end. I think Italy is the strongest in the group and it will be a great game. We pray for a win to advance.”

In the match at Volksparkstadion, Hamburg on June 19, Croatia started poorly by letting Albania take the lead thanks to Qazim Laci in the 11th minute. In the second half, within two minutes from 74 to 76, Croatia scored two consecutive goals thanks to Andrej Kramaric and an own goal by Klaus Gjasula to reverse the situation. However, Croatia lost the victory when they conceded a goal in the fifth minute of injury time.

Kramaric was happy with his individual performance, scoring on his 33rd birthday, but regretted that Croatia dropped two points at the end of the match. The Hoffenheim striker in the Bundesliga believes Croatia wasted many opportunities to score the third goal and had to pay the price.

Ante Budimir, a substitute who assisted Kramaric to equalize 1-1, admitted that Albania dominated the first half and praised goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic for his excellent saves to help Croatia avoid defeat. Budimir also believes that Croatia wasted many opportunities in the second half and the 2-2 draw is unfair to their efforts.

The draw with Albania leaves Croatia with only one point after two rounds, still at the bottom of Group B and at risk of being eliminated from the group stage of Euro 2024. Budimir sees the final round against reigning champions Italy on June 24 as a “final” and is confident Croatia will win if they perform like the second half against Albania.

Similarly, midfielder Lovro Majer believes Croatia will squeeze through the narrow door to the Euro 2024 round of 16. “We could have made everything much easier, but we shot ourselves in the foot. It will be difficult, but we are confident that the team can still make it through the group stage,” he said.

Meanwhile, head coach Zlatko Dalic admitted that Croatia made a mistake by retreating deeply to defend at the end of the match and let Albania equalize. “We retreated without needing to,” said 57-year-old Dalic. “I wanted the team to continue attacking and score the third goal. That was a mistake. We should not have allowed the opponent to press high and close to the penalty area like that.”

In the last two World Cups, Croatia finished second and third respectively. Euro 2024 could be the end for Croatia’s golden generation, with Luka Modric at 38, Ivan Perisic at 35 and Andrej Kramaric at 33. “This is a different tournament, a different story,” Dalic said. “We didn’t expect it to be this difficult. The World Cup took place two years ago and many players have aged.”

⚽️ UEFA Euro 1960 to 2021 with 16 tournaments and 10 national champions

⏩ Germany won the Euro 3 times (1972 – 1980 – 1996)

⏩ Spain won the Euro 3 times (1964 – 2008 – 2012)

⏩ France won the Euro 2 times (1984 – 2000)

⏩ Italy won the Euro 2 times (1968 – 2020)

⏩ Soviet Union won the Euro once in 1960

⏩ Czechoslovakia won the Euro once in 1976

⏩ Netherlands won the Euro once in 1988

⏩ Denmark won the Euro once in 1992

⏩ Greece won the Euro once in 2004

⏩ Portugal won the Euro once in 2016

With the participation of the strongest European teams according to the FIFA ranking on February 15, 2024 such as France (2nd) – England (3rd) – Belgium (4th) – Netherlands (6th) – Portugal (7th) – Spain (8th) – Italy (9th) – Croatia (10th) and bright stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku to promising young talents, Euro 2024 promises to deliver top-level and dramatic matches.

EURO 2024 will take place in Germany from June 14 to July 14, 2024 in 10 cities in Germany with 24 participating teams. The teams are divided into 6 groups to select the first and second teams in each group, and the 4 third-placed teams with the best performance to get a ticket to the knock-out round. The opening match is scheduled for June 14 between host Germany and Scotland.

⚽️ Detailed EURO 2024 match groups:

⚽️ Group A: Germany, Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland

⚽️ Group B: Spain, Croatia, Italy, Albania

⚽️ Group C: England, Denmark, Serbia, Slovenia

⚽️ Group D: Poland, France, Netherlands, Austria

⚽️ Group E: Slovakia, Romania, Belgium, Ukraine

⚽️ Group F: Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic, Georgia

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