Welsh overrun by Croatia

Croatia 2 Wales 0

Wales fell to their third defeat in four World Cup qualifiers after being overrun by a dominant Croatia side in Osijek.

The Dragons did well to keep their hosts at bay until the 27th minute, when goalkeeper Lewis Price tried to clear a weak Ashley Williams back-pass but was charged down by Mario Mandzukic, who tapped home.

Former Arsenal forward Eduardo then made it 2-0 after the break with a close-range finish.

It was no less than Croatia deserved from a match in which they were superior throughout.

Wales, meanwhile, after bouncing back from a 2-0 loss to Belgium and 6-1 thrashing in Serbia in their opening two Group A fixtures with Friday's morale-boosting 2-1 win over Scotland, have been very much brought back down to earth and might well feel grateful they were not beaten by more.

Croatia bossed possession from the very early exchanges and Ivan Rakitic saw a shot blocked before Eduardo sent an effort from the edge of the box into the arms of Price, who then got down to push away a Darijo Srna free-kick.

Wales made their first real foray forward in the 12th minute as Gareth Bale earned a throw-in he could only deliver straight to goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa.

The hosts were soon back on the attack, with Luka Modric bursting into the box and tumbling under a challenge from Darcy Blake. Croatia supporters cried out for a penalty but referee Alexandru Dan Tudor waved play on.

Price was being kept busy, saving further shots from Rakitic and Milan Badelj, although in between Bale fashioned the visitors' most meaningful effort yet with a strike that fizzed wide.

The Tottenham winger - who had been the star of the show on Friday with two late goals - then won a free-kick in a dangerous position, but when he swung it into the area Pletikosa came to punch the ball out.

Wales had managed to absorb a considerable amount of pressure from their opponents, but they shot themselves in the foot just before the half-hour mark when Price struck skipper Williams' back-pass - which appeared to have been slowed down by the poor playing surface - against Mandzukic, who calmly guided it into the net.

Eduardo then completely miscued an attempted header, while at the other end, another Bale free-kick amounted to nothing.

Croatia kept pressing, with Wales surviving a scramble in the box when Price denied Eduardo.

There was no let up after the break for the Dragons, with Williams managing to deflect the ball over when Modric and Eduardo combined two minutes into the second half.

Wales did then muster an effort as Williams nodded wide from a free-kick, but normal service swiftly resumed, with Ivan Perisic heading off-target and Price just managing to keep out Eduardo and Mandzukic.

Eduardo was looking particularly threatening and he was rewarded with a goal in the 58th minute, on hand to tap in after Price had parried a header from a corner.

Eduardo then had another shot saved, before Andy King - in the Wales team for the suspended Aaron Ramsey - wasted a chance to pull a goal back, seeing Pletikosa save his header.

Another scramble ensued in the Wales box that somehow did not result in a third Croatia goal before Price saved a Mandzukic header and Modric drove wide.

Bale beat several men towards the end and drilled in a low effort that Pletikosa could not hold, but substitute Sam Vokes blasted the rebound off-target.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker