Wales were trying to build on a fantastic victory at Hampden Park (where they beat Scotland, 2-1, on the 22nd March) by going out all guns blazing at the Liberty stadium, home of Swansea City, on the 26th March when they were up against tough opposition, Croatia. Croatia are ranked 9th in the World by FIFA, whereas Wales are ranked 71st so there’s obviously a big gulf in class between the teams.
Ashley Williams led the Welshmen out on his home pitch hoping they could get a result against a strong Croatian team. European stars: Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic were in the Croatian team that was trying to do the double over Wales.
Wales were sitting nicely in third place and a win would have put them right in the running for a qualifying spot. If Croatia had won they would be looking to take the top spot off leaders, Belgium.
Wales started the game pretty slowly but then started to play some nice football. Young Jonathan Williams linked up well with Gareth Bale and was looking sharp and then a foul was made on Joe Ledley in Croatia’s box. Wales were awarded a penalty. It was taken well by Bale, who scored. Soon after, Bale had a great chance to double the lead but he blasted it over the bar. Wales soldiered on through the second half but the expected equaliser soon came from a screamer by centre back, Lovren, with 13 minutes left after huge pressure on the Welsh team for quite some time.
The Croats kept on pushing and, eventually, the former Arsenal striker Eduardo put Croatia in front with 3 minutes left. The tired Welshmen were left stunned and even more disappointed when the final whistle blew and the score was 2-1 to Croatia.
It was a big effort from a promising young Welsh team but it wasn’t enough to beat giants Croatia. It was a massive disappointment and reaching the World Cup is now virtually unobtainable. Will Chris Coleman stay as Wales manager for much longer?
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