Albania strikes at the death to wipe off Croatia comeback in Berlin #2293

Albania 2 Croatia 2FT

Eliot Ben-Ner
The Football Hub
7 min readJun 20, 2024

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Albania 2 Croatia 2FT

Volksparkstadion, Berlin

The first-round matches at Euro 2024 in Germany have officially concluded. on Wednesday We would continue the coverage as match day two of the group stage progresses forward. We would kick things off with Group B. As Albania and Croatia will look to rectify opening match losses here in Hamburg. Albania has only been at the European championships one other time Back in 2016 failing to get out of the group. However, despite not a lot of expectations, things got off to a marvelous start as they scored 23 seconds into their opening match against Italy. the fastest goal ever scored at the European championships. However, individual performances prevailed for Italy as Barella and Pellegrini stood out to take a 2-1 lead. Then in the dying moments of the match. Albania had a late chance right in front of goal the effort deflected off the shoulder of Donnaruma as a possible point slipped through their fingers. However, Albania outplayed Italy for a good portion as the Italians stumbled out of the blocks in their opening match in Dortmund. The close call they had last week should give them the confidence to now and go get a result against Croatia. meanwhile, Croatia came into the tournament with a bit of optimism. They had previously made the semi-final of the World Cup only 2 years ago. The question was whether or not Croatia had anything left in the tank after having overachieved at the last couple of tournaments. At the Olympiastadion In Berlin they were ripped apart by Spain in what proved to be a huge mismatch as Spain cruised to a 3-0 victory. they were in Berlin last week. they are in Berlin now at a different Stadium perhaps they can prove that their opening day defeat was only due to a mismatch and wasn't a representation of their quality. it is a must-win for both Croatia and Albania as it will be substantially more difficult to find their way into the knockout rounds, even as a third-place team with a lost on this Wednesday early afternoon at the Volksparkstadion had to kickoff approaches in Berlin for this group B matchup between Croatia and Albania.

Albania Last week started incredibly quickly. They were looking to do the same once more. They would get off to a good start and when the chance arrived, they would not mismanage the moment. In the 11th minute Jasir Asani delivers a cross from the right side Qazim Laçi changes it down getting his head on the end of it past Livakovic into the bottom corner as Albania took a 1-0 lead. Last time out it started very similarly before Italy. stormed back. Now sitting pretty with the lead very much wanting a different sort of reaction this time around. Albania kept pushing the pressure in the 15th minute Nedim Bajrami seize his shot. deflected off of the Croatian defense then a minute later Elseid Hysaj suffered the same after looking for traction from distance. Albania finding themselves in a very good position as they keep the aggressiveness falling. Croatia in the 20th minute Marcelo Brozovic takes a stab at it from outside the box But doesn't threaten Thomas Strakosha. In the 26th minute Croatia would work it through the air Wolfsburg midfielder Lovro Majer sends the ball into the box for Bruno Petkovic the Zagreb Striker gets his head on the end of it but glides it wide. A few chances back-to-back for Croatia as they tried to formulate the momentum back towards them. However, Albania was playing this very well in the 31st minute Kristjan Asllani takes a low strike from distance into the bottom corner as Livakovic Make the big time save to prevent the match from getting out of hand. The first half starts to come to a close blow would be exchanged by both Croatia and Albania. In the 38th minute it's Marcelo Brozovic from deep as Thomas Strakosha comes up with the save. then immediately on the other end in the 45th minute Rey Manaj gets his head on the end of a cross that flies into the hands of Livakovic as it signifies the end of the first half with Albania holding a 1-0 lead. thanks to a header from Qazim Laçi In the 11th minute.

Albania, once again got themselves off to an immaculate start. However, they have been able to hold off Croatia for a little while now. They have defended well Not to mention when they burst forward they are finding their moments. still a very narrow game right now. meanwhile, Croatia haven't done nearly enough. will need a strong start to the second half to give the momentum flowing in their direction. In the 49th minute. Bruno Petkovic makes a run into the box as Josip Juranovic sends him the cross he gets on the end of it but collides with the Albanian defense. A minute later Luka Sucic puts his head on the end of a cross from Ivan puts his head on the end of a cross from Ivan Persic But is denied by the goalkeeper. The aggressiveness from the croatians continued in the 53rd minute. Mateo Kovacic strikes from distance Thomas Strakosha getting his hands on another one. Croatia continued to put forth chance after chance after chance. however, as time has ticked on, things have become more difficult on themselves. They can't seem to break through. In the 62nd minute Ivan Persic It's a curler from deep but still ends up in the hands of the Albanian keeper. A minute later Kristjan Asllani forces Livakovic into action again as he makes the save from deep. Croatia's time at this tournament seems to be slipping out of their hands. However, based down their moment in the 74th minute Ante Budimir delivers a nice ball into Andrej Kramaric as he collects the ball from inside the box before driving it into the bottom left corner beating the goalkeeper as they get the equalizer.

Four minutes later in the 76th minute Croatia put pressure on Albania. they send a cross from the left side into traffic. unfortunately, a deflection comes off of Albania into the back of their own net in a matter of minutes. Croatia scores twice to put themselves in front. Rather harsh on Albania after having done such a good job maintaining this game up until this point. Albania scored early against Italy and lost to one and now with less than 20 minutes to go they need to find a way to break through to avoid what happened last weekend. In the 80th minute Strakosha denies A well-taking effort from Ante Budimir to keep Albania in it. Albania continued to fight for a potential late door. It seemed like as if it wasn't going to arrive. however, in the 95th minute they gave themselves a real go as Klaus Gjasula drive the ball into the box before sending it into the bottom corner as Albania get the equalizer as they keep themselves alive at Euro 2024. A full-time whistle goes as Croatia and Albania split the spoils in Berlin with both sides. hanging on to a little hope with one final mash remaining.

This was very well deserved by Albania. they fell asleep with about 20 minutes remaining, having surrendered their advantage after taking an early lead yet again. They never gave up as they have the mentality and courage to take risks late in the match. the goalkeeper kept him in it when it looked like Croatia was going to pull away then up steps. Albania with late equalizer get something out of the game. It could be argued considering how Albania played from start to finish. they probably could have even taken maximum points. they have to go through a bit adversity after surrendering their lead but still manage to stay firm and find their moment in the end. the point they have earned today will give them a chance, although probably a slim one in the end. as they have Spain in their final match of this group. Meanwhile, last week we talked about why Croatia struggled in this way. Spain our elite and have shown some true capabilities. It looked like a mismatch from the beginning. It wasn't clear if this Croatia side was past it considering the huge mismatch they had to deal with. However, based on the performance we saw from them against Spain and then again a problematic performance again here against Albania. It does seem that this era of Croatia football as successful as it has been has come to a stop. They could win against Italy. it's not out of the possibilities. However, even if they get out of this group it does not look as if they're going to be going on a deep run past this. they're just not the team and they don't have the necessary pieces required to do what they have previously done. They did a good job to get the lead back, but they see it slip in the end which is indicative of the way they have played of this tournament they no longer having the quality to go on a deep run. Albania and Croatia split a four-goal draw in Berlin with Albania stealing a point in the end.

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