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National Teams

Mandžukić hat-trick

Efficient Croatia
cruises at Kosovo,
scores six

Efficient Croatia cruises at Kosovo, scores six
photo by: HNS
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Croatia national football team visited the Albanian city of Shkoder to play Kosovo in the second round of 2018 FIFA World Cup European qualifiers.

KOSOVO - CROATIA 0:6 (0:3)
2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Group I.
Loro Borici Stadium, Shkoder, Albania.

Referee: D. Fernandez Borbalan (Spain)

Goals: 0:1 - Mandžukić (6'), 0:2 - Mandžukić (24'), 0:3 - Mandžukić (35'), 0:4 - Mitrović (68'), 0:5 - Perišić (83'), 0:6 - N. Kalinić (90+2')

Cautions: B. Berisha (18')

Kosovo: Ujkani, Perdedaj, Pnishi, Pepa, Paqarada, Kryeziu, V. Berisha, Rashica, Zeneli (77' Shala), B. Berisha (58' Halimi), Celina (68' Bunjaku). Head coach: A. Bunjaku. 

Croatia: Subašić, Pivarić, Vida, Ćorluka (46' Mitrović), Vrsaljko, Badelj, Kovačić, Brozović, Perišić, Kramarić (71' Rog), Mandžukić (59' N. Kalinić). Head coach: A. Čačić.

Croatia has started its qualifying campaign with a Zagreb draw against Turkey (1:1), while the first victory was recorded on Thursday, away at Kosovo, despite Modrić, Rakitić, Lovren, and Pjaca missing out due to injuries.

The Vatreni took the lead after just six minutes, when Kramarić found Mandžukić, and Juventus striker did not make a mistake beating Ujkani. In 24th minute, Mandžukić doubled this lead scoring with his shoulder following Perišić's cross from the left.

Ten minutes before the break, Mandžukić completed his hat-trick with a header, Vrsaljko this time assisting from the right. Mandžukić had two more great opportunities in the first half, while Subašić made two excellent saves from Celina and Zemeli.

Croatia's fourth goal was scored by young defender Mitrović, a half-time substitute for Ćorluka, at Brozović's assist and a good reaction at the far post.

Perišić made it 5:0 with a cool finish following Brozović through ball in 83rd minute, while Nikola Kalinić wrapped things up in the final seconds of the match, scoring at Kovačić's assist with a low show from the edge of the box.

Ante Čačić's men leave for Tampere on Friday, where they will face hosts Finland on Sunday. 

Finland lost to Iceland 3:2, throwing away 2:1 lead, while Turkey came back from two goals down to draw with Ukraine 2:2.

Group I:
1. Croatia 4
2. Iceland 4
3. Turkey 2
4. Ukraine 2
5. Finland 1
6. Kosovo 1

World Cup 2018 - qualifiers, 06.10.2016.. Spectators: 14612
Referees: Fernandez Borbalan David (ESP), Cabanero Martinez Raul (ESP), Alonso Fernandez Roberto (ESP)
Fourth referee: Clos Gomez Carlos (ESP)
1Ujkani Samir23Danijel Subašić
2Perdedaj Fanol9Andrej Kramarić
4Pnishi Alban8Mateo Kovačić
6Pepa Avni5Vedran Ćorluka
7Rashica Milot2Šime Vrsaljko
9Celina Bersant
4Ivan Perišić
14Berisha Valon19Milan Badelj
15Zeneli Arber
17Mario Mandžukić
19Paqarada Leart21Domagoj Vida
20Kryeziu Hekuran11Marcelo Brozović
23Berisha Bernard
22Josip Pivarić
12Nurković Adis12Lovre Kalinić
16Hajdini Bledar1Ivan Vargić
8Halimi Besar
13Tin Jedvaj
10Bunjaku Albert
3Ivan Strinić
11Shala Herolind
14Duje Čop
3Sulejmani Valmir16Nikola Kalinić
5Kabashi Labinot6Matej Mitrović
13Rrahmani Amir15Marko Rog
17Meha Alban7Domagoj Antolić
18Muriqi Vedat
21Zejnulahu Eroll
22Bytyqi Sinan
Albert BunjakuAnte Čačić

On Thursday, Croatia plays Kosovo at Albanian city of Shkoder, in the second round of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Following the September draw (1:1) with Turkey in Zagreb, Ante Čačić's men continue their qualifying campaign at Kosovo and Finland in October. In Shkoder, Kosovo will play its first official home match, and Croatia will thus remain in the history books as the debut opponents.

"We need to justify our role of favourites against a very motivated hosts. In Finland, they've presented great teamwork despite lack of preparations, and they have a couple of interesting attacking players. However, our aim is clear, to reach the World Cup, and therefore we need a win. Of course, there is always the possibility of surprise in football, but I believe Croatia will have more possession and more shots on goal. Experience is on our side as well. We have great respect towards Kosovo and we'll need 90 minutes of hard work to make our quality makes the difference", said Croatia head coach Ante Čačić.



Croatia will be without the injured captain Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Dejan Lovren, and Marko Pjaca, with Vedran Ćorluka taking the armband.

"I'll support my teammates. The injured players have called us and support us, they be our fans in both upcoming matches. Regardless of injury problems, I expect an ambitious Croatia. We have to win, and we'll try to do that from the first minute. Croatia can replace any player and this is an opportunity for those who maybe play a little less, to prove their quality, that they are the future of our football. We have prepared well, and we are happy to play in front of a home crowd", said Ćorluka.

All teams in qualifying Group I start the second round of matches with a single point, having drawn 1:1 in September. Kosovo secured the point away at Finland.


foto: HNS