Wales v Croatia
Bale 21′ (pen)
Lovren 77′ Eduardo 87′
- FT 90 +4
- HT 1-0
Eduardo struck three minutes from time as Croatia broke Wales' hearts in their 2014 World Cup qualifying match at the Liberty Stadium.
The visitors had trailed to Gareth Bale's first-half penalty, after Dejan Lovren brought down Joe Ledley.
Bale was a constant threat and should have added a second only to shoot over.
Lovren made amends with a long-range equaliser that swerved to fool Wales keeper Boaz Myhill, before Eduardo's snap-shot completed Croatia's comeback.
The defeat, coupled with Serbia's win over Scotland, drops Wales to fourth place in Group A and realistically ends any lingering hope of catching top two Croatia and Belgium.
Fifa 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group A
With the midfield already missing David Vaughan, Andrew Crofts and Dave Edwards, Wales manager Chris Coleman handed Crystal Palace's 19-year-old Jonathan Williams his first start after an impressive debut off the bench at Hampden Park.
Andy King also started in midfield, while James Collins was preferred to Sam Ricketts in defence.
Wales had won three and lost just one of their last four games, but that defeat had come away to Croatia, who arrived in Swansea seven points ahead of their hosts and 62 places above them in the world rankings.
Croatia started with the high pressing game that had served them so well in their 2-0 win in Osijek the last time these two sides met, but Bale and Ledley combined effectively while Jonathan Williams caught the eye out on the right as Wales held their own.
Bale caused the first flutter of excitement, skipping past Luka Modric and bearing down on goal, only to be stopped by a clumsy challenge from Vedran Corluka.
The tackle earned the defender a yellow card which rules him out of Croatia's next game against Scotland, but Bale could not exact further punishment as he blazed the free-kick over the bar.
Croatia responded as Eduardo set up Sammir, but the Dinamo Zagreb forward's shot was deflected just wide. From the resulting corner James Collins failed to clear and only a frantic scramble saw the ball finally hacked away.
Wales had not led in any of their five previous Group A games, but that all changed in the 21st minute when Ledley surged into the visitors' box.
Lovren saw the danger too late and his sliding tackle sent the Celtic midfielder tumbling.
Referee Luca Banti had little hesitation in pointing to the spot, before showing Lovren a yellow card that also rules him out of the Scotland game, and Bale then thumped the ball straight down the middle past the diving Stipe Pletikosa.
Wales' remaining Group A World Cup qualifying fixtures
6 September: Macedonia (a)
10 September: Serbia (h)
11 October: Macedonia (h)
15 October: Belgium (a)
Croatia were stung into action and it was all hands to the pumps for Wales, with Collins pulling off one outstanding challenge to deny Mario Mandzukic as he broke through on the right before Milan Badelj's shot was deflected just wide with Myhill wrong-footed.
A thrilling half ended with two excellent chances for Wales to double their lead, both falling to Bale, but Pletikosa produced a fine save plunging to his left before the Spurs forward - released by Hal Robson-Kanu - then wasted a glorious chance by shooting over the bar as the Croatian keeper advanced.
Croatia coach Igor Stimac responded at half-time by sacrificing Badelj, allowing Gordon Schildenfeld to take up station as a sweeper in an effort to nullify the pace of Craig Bellamy and Bale.
There was an early scare for Wales when Bellamy went down clutching his knee after a collision with Ivan Strinic, but the Cardiff man eventually hobbled to his feet after treatment.
Wales had to survive a series of corners as Croatia penned them back and Eduardo lost his marker to clip a header off the top of the bar, before Jonathan Williams drifted infield to send a snap-shot just past the post for the hosts.
Myhill then had to pull off a brilliant reaction save to keep Wales' lead intact, throwing out a hand as the ball cannoned off Eduardo.
Croatia replaced Sammir with Inter Milan's Mateo Kovacic, while Wales boss Coleman countered by sending Ashley Richards on for his second cap in place of Robson-Kanu.
Modric became the third Croatia player to rule himself out of their next game against Scotland with a clumsy tackle on Richards.
With 18 minutes left, Stimac played his last card by sending striker Ivica Olic on for defender Strinic, and the Wolfsburg player was soon in the thick of the action as Croatia continued to force Wales deep.
The pressure eventually told.
Chris Gunter did well to block a shot on the left but the ball fell to Lovren, whose shot seemed to move late across Myhill to nestle in the net.
Wales refused to buckle and Bale galloped up the left to send a shot across goal, before Olic wasted a great chance after being teed up by Ivan Rakitic, scooping his shot over the bar from eight yards.
The home side looked like they had weathered the storm, only to have their hopes crushed two minutes from time as Eduardo showed great skill to bring down Olic's cross and strike a left-foot volley past Myhill.
- 01 Myhill
- 02 Gunter
- 03 Davies
- 05 Collins
- 06 Williams
- 04 Ledley
- 07 Williams (Church - 83' )
- 09 Robson-Kanu Booked (Richards - 63' )
- 10 King
- 11 Bale
- 08 Bellamy
- 12 Price
- 21 fon Williams
- 13 Lynch
- 14 Nyatanga
- 15 Ricketts
- 16 Richards
- 18 Tudur-Jones
- 17 Church
- 19 Vokes
- 20 Easter
- 01 Pletikosa
- 02 Strinic (Olic - 73' )
- 05 Corluka Booked
- 06 Lovren Booked
- 11 Srna
- 07 Rakitic
- 10 Modric Booked
- 15 Sammir (Kovacic - 61' Booked )
- 16 Badelj (Schildenfeld - 45' )
- 17 Mandzukic
- 22 Eduardo
- 12 Kresic
- 23 Subasic
- 03 Pavlovic
- 13 Schildenfeld
- 21 Vida
- 04 Kovacic
- 08 Vukojevic
- 09 Jelavic
- 14 Kalinic
- 18 Olic
- 20 Petric
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.90:00 +1:46
James Collins gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Vedran Corluka. Stipe Pletikosa takes the direct free kick.90:00 +0:05
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Collins by Mario Mandzukic. Direct free kick taken by James Collins. Free kick awarded for a foul by Da Silva Eduardo on Ashley Williams. Free kick crossed left-footed by Ben Davies, Stipe Pletikosa makes a save. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ben Davies by Da Silva Eduardo. Direct free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.88:59
Da Silva Eduardo fouled by Andy King, the ref awards a free kick. Mateo Kovacic takes the free kick.87:55
Simon Church is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Stipe Pletikosa takes the free kick.86:38
Assist on the goal came from Ivica Olic.86:38 Goal scored
Goal! - Da Silva Eduardo - Wales 1 - 2 Croatia A goal is scored by Da Silva Eduardo from inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Wales 1-2 Croatia.85:16
The ball is delivered by Ivica Olic, James Collins makes a clearance.83:47
Ivica Olic gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Simon Church. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Gareth Bale from right wing, Stipe Pletikosa makes a comfortable save.82:24 Substitution
Substitution Jonathan Williams goes off and Simon Church comes on.82:24
Shot from deep inside the area by Ivica Olic goes over the bar.80:17
Outswinging corner taken by Craig Bellamy from the right by-line played to the near post.80:01
Effort on goal by Andy King from 25 yards. Vedran Corluka gets a block in.78:34
Gareth Bale has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.76:21
The assist for the goal came from Mario Mandzukic.76:21 Goal scored
Goal! - Dejan Lovren - Wales 1 - 1 Croatia Dejan Lovren gets on the score sheet with a fantastic goal from long range low into the middle of the goal. Wales 1-1 Croatia.76:06
Shot by Mario Mandzukic. Blocked by Chris Gunter.74:42
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Craig Bellamy, clearance made by Gordon Schildenfeld.74:21
The ball is swung over by Ivan Rakitic, save by Boaz Myhill.72:04
Boaz Myhill takes the free kick.
Substitution Ivan Strinic leaves the field to be replaced by Ivica Olic.72:04
Ivan Strinic challenges Chris Gunter unfairly and gives away a free kick.70:47
Ivan Rakitic delivers the ball, comfortable save by Boaz Myhill.69:23
The free kick is delivered right-footed by Craig Bellamy from right channel.69:23 Booking
Booking Mateo Kovacic goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.69:09
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gareth Bale by Mateo Kovacic.67:37
Short corner taken by Darijo Srna. The ball is sent over by Darijo Srna, blocked by Ashley Richards.65:23
Direct free kick taken by Ashley Williams. The referee gives a free kick against Gareth Bale for handball. Dejan Lovren restarts play with the free kick.65:23 Booking
Booking Caution for Luka Modric.65:19
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Richards by Luka Modric.65:02
The assistant referee flags for offside against Craig Bellamy. Gordon Schildenfeld takes the indirect free kick.63:54
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.62:57 Substitution
Substitution Ashley Richards joins the action as a substitute, replacing Hal Robson-Kanu.60:34 Substitution
Substitution Mateo Kovacic joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jorge Sammir.59:28
Shot from 25 yards from Darijo Srna. Boaz Myhill makes a brilliant save. Corner from the right by-line taken by Darijo Srna, clearance made by Ashley Williams.58:44
The ball is swung over by Jorge Sammir, blocked by Hal Robson-Kanu. Corner taken right-footed by Darijo Srna, clearance made by Ben Davies.56:59
Jonathan Williams has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide left of the target.55:14
Mario Mandzukic gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ben Davies. Joe Ledley takes the direct free kick.54:34
Dejan Lovren gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Williams. James Collins takes the direct free kick.53:46
The official flags Craig Bellamy offside. Gordon Schildenfeld restarts play with the free kick.52:55
The referee gives a free kick against Hal Robson-Kanu for handball. Direct free kick taken by Darijo Srna.51:55
Corner taken right-footed by Darijo Srna from the right by-line, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Da Silva Eduardo misses to the left of the goal.50:30
Corner taken by Ivan Rakitic from the left by-line. Darijo Srna sends in a cross, blocked by Ben Davies.50:23
The ball is sent over by Da Silva Eduardo, blocked by Ashley Williams.49:04
Shot by Jorge Sammir. Ashley Williams gets a block in. Corner from the right by-line taken by Darijo Srna, Dejan Lovren has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.48:43
Corner taken right-footed by Ivan Rakitic to the near post, clearance made by Jonathan Williams.47:37
The ball is delivered by Ivan Strinic.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:00 +1:17 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.45:00 +0:13
Corner taken short by Gareth Bale. The ball is crossed by Gareth Bale, Vedran Corluka makes a clearance.45:00 Substitution
Substitution Milan Badelj leaves the field to be replaced by Gordon Schildenfeld.44:43
Mario Mandzukic takes a shot. Save made by Boaz Myhill.44:11
Jorge Sammir takes a shot. Blocked by Ashley Williams.42:22
Ivan Rakitic delivers the ball.41:13
Free kick taken by Stipe Pletikosa.41:13 Booking
Booking Booking for Hal Robson-Kanu for unsporting behaviour.40:49
Effort from 18 yards by Craig Bellamy. Stipe Pletikosa makes a save. Hal Robson-Kanu concedes a free kick for a foul on Stipe Pletikosa.39:44
Shot from 25 yards by Gareth Bale. Ivan Strinic gets a block in. Corner from the right by-line taken by Gareth Bale, save made by Stipe Pletikosa.38:47
Jorge Sammir challenges Chris Gunter unfairly and gives away a free kick. Chris Gunter restarts play with the free kick.37:33
Shot from inside the area by Gareth Bale clears the bar.37:01
A cross is delivered by Ivan Strinic, Ashley Williams manages to make a clearance.36:17
Unfair challenge on Luka Modric by Andy King results in a free kick. Luka Modric takes the direct free kick.36:06
Darijo Srna delivers the ball, Ashley Williams makes a clearance.34:19
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Stipe Pletikosa makes a save.32:56
Shot by Mario Mandzukic from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.32:04
Shot from outside the area by Milan Badelj misses to the left of the goal.30:56
Craig Bellamy produces a cross, save by Stipe Pletikosa.30:46
The ball is delivered by Hal Robson-Kanu, clearance made by Dejan Lovren.30:08
Effort on goal by Luka Modric from 25 yards. Boaz Myhill makes a comfortable save.29:45
Foul by Ashley Williams on Mario Mandzukic, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Darijo Srna.27:09
The ball is sent over by Ivan Strinic, James Collins manages to make a clearance. Corner taken by Ivan Rakitic played to the near post, free kick awarded for a foul by Da Silva Eduardo on Boaz Myhill. Boaz Myhill takes the free kick.24:02
A cross is delivered by Darijo Srna, James Collins makes a clearance. Darijo Srna takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post.22:52
Milan Badelj challenges Joe Ledley unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ben Davies restarts play with the free kick.22:30
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Darijo Srna by Hal Robson-Kanu. Free kick taken by Vedran Corluka.22:14
Craig Bellamy crosses the ball, save by Stipe Pletikosa.20:52
Assist on the goal came from Joe Ledley.20:52 Goal scored
Goal! - Gareth Bale - Wales 1 - 0 Croatia Placed penalty scored by Gareth Bale. Wales 1-0 Croatia.20:10 Booking
Booking Dejan Lovren is shown a yellow card.19:53
Penalty awarded for a foul by Dejan Lovren on Joe Ledley.15:48
Corner taken by Ivan Rakitic from the left by-line to the near post, Chris Gunter makes a clearance.12:45
Short corner taken by Darijo Srna. Da Silva Eduardo takes a shot. Save by Boaz Myhill. Effort from deep inside the area by Mario Mandzukic misses to the right of the target.12:25
Jorge Sammir has an effort at goal. Blocked by Ben Davies.12:04
The ball is swung over by Ben Davies, Vedran Corluka manages to make a clearance.10:50
Inswinging corner taken by Gareth Bale from the right by-line, save by Stipe Pletikosa.6:02
Gareth Bale produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.6:02 Booking
Booking The referee shows Vedran Corluka a yellow card.5:55
Vedran Corluka gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gareth Bale.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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