Press release – EURO 2016 participants Hungary and Croatia played out a 1-1 draw in Budapest yesterday, Hungarian captain Balázs Dzsudzsák’s late trademark free-kick cancelling out Mario Mandzukic’s 29th-minute close-range opener at the Groupama Aréna.
Croatia had taken the lead with the match’s first shot on target but they rarely created anything of note thereafter and Hungary fully deserved their equaliser. A raft of substitutions saw several stake their claim for a place at this summer’s tournament with Hungary’s Zoltán Stieber looking lively and Croatia veteran Darijo Srna going close with a vicious free-kick.
An industrious start to the game saw both teams push to create chances without quite being successful, a wicked cross from Dzsudzsák just evaded Krisztián Németh at the far left post. Gordon Shildenfeld then flicked a header wide from a Marcelo Brozovic right-wing corner before Hungary’s László Kleinheisler had the first shot at goal, his effort from distance flying wide of Kalinic’s left post, and Priskin followed up with a drive from similar range which flew high and wide.
On 26 minutes the ball sat up well for Domagoj Antolic but his volley barely troubled Hungary goalkeeper Dénes Dibusz, but then Croatia took the lead, Ivan Perisic finding space down the left, collecting Antolic’s through pass and crossing for Mario Mandzukic to tap in at the far right post with the first shot on target in the match.
Dzsudzsák and Kleinheisler found space 25 metres out as the home team sought to hit back but their drives went just wide, the latter’s well-saved by Lovre Kalinic low to his right. Sandwiched between these two efforts was Perisic’s fierce, rising effort as the Hungary defence stood off him but that flew over. Overall, Croatia deserved their half-time lead for their clinicism in front of goal but in truth neither team had managed to conjure the neat inter-play across the pitch of which they are both capable.
Hungary made four changes at the break and Bernd Storck’s team were on the front foot immediately, Kleinheisler’s vicious, swerving shot beaten out by a momentarily-bamboozled Kalinic as Hungary sought to profit from their own high-pressing game, but further chances proved hard to come by. Indeed it was Croatia who nearly extended their lead through substitute Daijo Srna but his wicked 17-metre free-kick rocketed just wide of the far, right, top corner.
Instead it was Hungary through their captain Dzsudzsák who converted a set-piece, his 22-metre free-kick taking a slight deflection on its way into the right side of the goal in the 79th minute. Ákos Elek and Luka Modric both had late sights of goal but couldn’t find a winner.
Hungary 1-1 Croatia (Scorers: HUN: Dzsudzsák 79′; CRO: Mandzukic 29′)
Hungary: Dibusz (Bogdán 46′); Fiola, Lang, Guzmics, Korhut; Gera, Nagy (Elek 46′); Németh (Nikolic 46′), Kleinheisler (Böde 80′), Dzsudzsák (Stieber 82′); Priskin (Szalai 46′).
Croatia: Kalinic; Vrsaljko, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Vida; Antolic, Modric, Kovacic (Srna 76′); Brozovic, Mandzukic, Perisic.
No disrespect to Hungarian squad, but come on this was nothing to be proud of. Croatian squad was depleted and the game was only tied because of a deflected free kick scored on a 2nd choice keeper. “Share the spoils” lol what spoils?! It was a friendly match.
I would not share your opinion. First of all this Croatian team is very well compared to the Hungarian. We know they have missing players like Rakitic or Kalinic etc. but other good players played. In the first half Croatia possessed more the ball and made a few chances, but in the second half Hungary played better than Croatia so they deserved at least the tie. Any Croatian keeper even Pletikosa or Subasic would not keep the free kick, and a note: Croatia scored on a secon choice Hungarian keeper. Fans in Hungary do not believe Hungary will win the EC2016 but finally we have a team who fight till the final whistle and compete with bigger teams like Croatia.