Croatia v Czech Republic: Patrik Schick scores again as Group D qualification goes down to the wire
Patrik Schick scored his third goal of Euro 2020, although in controversial circumstances, as the Czech Republic drew 1-1 with Croatia in Group D.
The Czech Republic striker has taken the lead in the race for the Golden Boot after firing home from the penalty spot (37), but it came after the first real moment of VAR controversy we have seen at the tournament. Returning centre-back Dejan Lovren was penalised for inadvertently catching Schick in the face as the pair jumped during a Czech Republic corner. VAR intervened and after a check of the pitchside monitor, referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande awarded the penalty.
4 - Ivan Perisic has scored in each of the last four major international tournaments (2014 World Cup, EURO 2016, 2018 World Cup and EURO 2020), becoming the first Croatian to score in four separate such tournaments. Rocket. #CRO #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/vlkh8gsfY4— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2021
But Croatia hit back almost immediately after half-time after a wonderful solo effort from Ivan Perisic. Both sides had chances as the half wore on, with Nikola Vlasic missing the best chance to win it when he skied an effort across the face of goal. The point apiece means qualification from Group D remains wide open, with much resting on England vs Scotland later on Friday.
How the points were shared at Hampden Park
Czech Republic began well, with Tomas Soucek fizzing a header onto the top of the net from a corner inside four minutes. Jakub Jankto was giving Croatia all sorts of problems down the left too in the opening minutes, with one of his crosses finding Vladimir Coufal over on the right of the area. He then cut the ball back for Schick, but he could not get the right connection as the ball bobbled into Dominik Livakovic's hands. Just as Croatia began to find their feet, they were sucker punched with a controversial penalty decision. Lovren caught Schick in the face as both jumped for a Czech Republic corner, leaving the striker with a bloodied nose. It appeared that the incident was nothing more than an accident, but VAR thought differently and reviewed the incident. The referee was sent over to the monitor and soon awarded the Czech Republic a penalty, as Lovren pleaded his case - demonstrations included. Schick - with blood still coming from his patched-up nose - powered the penalty home into the far corner for his third goal of the tournament. Croatia could have hit back with an instant reply as they produced their best chance of the game. The Czech Republic were easily beaten in midfield before Ante Rebic was slotted through into the area. He only had the goalkeeper to beat, but fired his effort well wide of the target. But after two half-time changes from Zlatko Dalic, Croatia were massively improved and equalised inside two minutes. It was the moment of quality they had been lacking in the first period as Andrej Kramaric won the ball in midfield before slotting in Perisic down the left flank. He worked his way into the area before beating Coufal and arrowing a superb effort into the back of the net. Both sides continued to see chances fall their way. Another driving run from Perisic down the left saw Josko Gvaridol skew a header wide at the back post. At the other end, Soucek tried his luck from range, but the fizzing half volley just went wide of the post. Croatia should have doubled their lead in the 72nd minute after a gut-wrenching miss from Vlasic. Gvaridol sent in a cross from the left, which Perisic - who arguably should have gone for goal himself - nodded down into Vlasic's path. He held of Coufal well, but his eventual effort flashed well wide. Late on, Bristol City defender Tomas Kalas made a vital interception as second-half substitute Bruno Petkovic sent a fizzing shot goalwards, but it was ultimately seen behind for a corner as the points were shared in Glasgow.
Man of the match - Ivan Perisic
Perisic showed his class for Croatia, particularly in the second half. His goal was absolutely superb and he showed absolutely no trouble in running at Coufal, knowing he would likely beat him. The forward has now scored his eighth major tournament goal for Croatia (World Cup & Euros), with only only Davor Suker (9) doing so more for the nation. Perhaps the only criticism would be the chance later in the half, he should have nodded the ball goalwards rather than laying it down for Vlasic. But it shows his selflessness and he still produced the quality Croatia needed at the vital time.
Opta stats - Another Croatia-Czech draw
-Croatia have failed to win both of their opening two games of a major international tournament (World Cup & Euros) for the first time since the 2006 World Cup, and the first time at the European Championships since the 2004 edition.
-Three of Croatia and Czech Republic's four international meetings have been drawn (Croatia won the other), including both at the European Championships (2016 and today).
-Czech Republic's Patrik Schick is the first player to score each of his nation's first three goals of a European Championship tournament since Mario Gomez for Germany in 2012. Indeed, Schick is the first player to score as many as three goals in his first ever two European Championship appearances since Mario Mandzukic for Croatia in 2012.
Croatia play again at Hampden Park in their final group game against Scotland on Tuesday. The Czech Republic head to Wembley to take on England on the same day.
Latest Euro 2020/Croatia newsz
Latest Euro 2020/Czech Republic news
Latest news on JJA Sport Studio
Journalist at JJA Sport Studio
Covering athletics and cycling
Latest from Bridget Mason
- Barcelona receive financial boost as credit agency gives club positive debt rating
- USA's Lee taking gold home to her father and Hmong community
- Everton midfielder Delph slams Covid-19 'conspiracy theory'
- Dortmund confirm Malen signing from PSV
- Miedema breaks Olympics record after scoring twice in Netherlands' 8-2 rout of China