Callum McGregor’s equalizer gave Scotland hope of an upset, but it was Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, and tournament savvy Croatia who came up with the spoils in a 3-1 win to complete their EURO 2020 group stage on Tuesday.
Nikola Vlasic also scored for Croatia, who finish second to England in Group D. Czech Republic also goes through despite finishing third, level on points with the Croatians.
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Scotland couldn’t quite get the job done after their surprising draw with England and will miss out on the final rounds.
Three things we learned from Croatia – Scotland
1. Scotland digs deep: John McGinn led a plucky Scottish effort that had no concerns for the status of their opponents as World Cup runners-up, but you had a feeling that even another supreme effort wasn’t going to be enough to keep Croatia off the scoreboard after blanking England a few days ago. So Nikola Vlasic’s opener merely raised the ask to two goals. Che Adams had a chance or two, but it was a pair of muffled headed clearances that allowed Callum McGregor a chance knife an 18-yard shot inside the far post for 1-1. Well-earned. David Marshall made several big interventions to keep Steve Clarke’s men in it, but it wasn’t enough.
2. Croatia turns it on when needed: Lifeless for much of the tournament, the Croatians stepped forward early against the underdog Scots. Vlasic’s goal might’ve been scrappier than expected, but the idea of a shocking group stage exit felt less and less likely once the red-and-white checkered shirts revealed themselves to be resolute and in control. Modric got his incredible goal and Perisic’s header added to his assist of Vlasic to include another wild card in the knockout stage.
3. Living legends stand up? Ivan Perisic has some of the more notable goals in recent Croatian history, if not ever, helping the side to a World Cup. Luka Modric has a Ballon d’Or. So it’s no surprise that both are players who made the difference versus Scotland once the score settled at 1-1. Perisic’s soaring header was good stuff, but Modric’s audacious winner was deserving of the major tournament occasion.Just filthy.
LUKA MODRIC WITH ONE OF THE BEST GOALS OF EURO 2020 🚀😳 pic.twitter.com/MgakZ6RRbS
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 22, 2021