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Croatia get past Socceroos in dull affair

Croatia celebrate their goal
Croatia celebrate their goal
Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

With so many injuries before the 2014 World Cup, Australia and Croatia seemed reluctant to risk anything much as Croatia won a dull encounter in Salvador 1-0 on Friday night.

Australia started the match well, building possession in their final preparation match ahead of the World Cup, dictating terms to Croatia.

Croatia had a couple of minor injury scares in the first half hour which really made a dour match even less likely to produce excitement as the two sides wanted to avoid any injuries ahead of the World Cup.

The biggest moment of excitement in the first half came in the 23rd minute when Daniel Pranjic went down injured and had to be substituted off, causing a scare for the Croatian team.

Right before the break Croatia were able to send in a dangerous cross, but they were denied as Alex Wilkinson managed a composed clearing header to keep it scoreless at the break.

The defending in the 58th minute was very different as Nickica Jelavic was left onside by some lax running, which saw Jelavic get through to open the scoring.

But that would be all the real excitement for the match as both sides looked more concerned with avoiding injury than showing any real attacking intent.

Despite the lack of excitement the Australians did manage to put together a good showing, as they managed some solid defensive work with a back line with little international experience, showing that they won’t be push overs when the tournament starts.

It is clear that Australia will have to produce a much improved effort in the Wrold Cup to beat teams the caliber of Spain, Netherlands and Chile but they got through the match with an improved performance and coming out unscathed, with players like Mile Jedinak getting some much needed minutes in their legs.