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Azerbaijan Shock Croatia In Euro Qualifying With 1-1 Draw

September 8, 2019

kolaž novi hrvatska vs azerbajdžan



Croatia Starting XI: Livaković – Bartolec, Lovren, Vida, Barišić – Brozović, Modrić – Vlašić, Perišić, Rebić – Petković. 


It wasn’t the way the Vatreni drew it up. After an impressive 4-0 win over Slovakia on Friday, Croatia laid an egg Monday night in Baku, drawing Azerbaijan – the 109th ranked country in the world – 1-1.



Manager Zlatko Dalić decided to use the same starting lineup as he did against Slovakia. And it once again looked like the perfect formula for the first 20 minutes. Luka Modrić had a powerful shot deflected onto goal, only for Azerbaijan goalie Emil Balayev to make a wonderful one-handed save. Shortly after, Modrić would convert a penalty for a handball in the box to make it 1-0 Croatia. But that was it offensively for the Vatreni. Ante Rebić missed two wide open chances that would have broke the game open. He missed a clear break away against the Azeri keeper and the entire Croatian team looked lethargic outside of Luka Modrić and Nikola Vlašić the rest of the night.



With Azerbaijan only down 1-0 late in the 72nd minute, Tamkin Khalilzade whipped through Marcelo Brozović and Dejan Lovren in the box and shot past Dominik Livaković for the equalizer. On top of that, Azerbaijan put the ball in the back of the net on two other separate occasions – both being clearly offside.





Although a draw against Azerbaijan is nothing you should be proud of, the point puts Croatia in sole possession of first place in Group E as Slovakia defeated Hungary 2-1 on the day. With three matches remaining for Croatia and the top two teams qualifying directly for Euro 2020, Croatian fans should not worry one bit after the Azerbaijan draw.



Next matches: vs. Hungary in Split – @ Wales in Cardiff – vs. Slovakia in Rijeka.



Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 102 comments

  1. The truth says:

    If we look at rakitic Instagram over the past two days we can see where his head is out

    No congratulations message to the national team

    Instead one pic of him and his family looking at a river

    And another pic that looks like he’s at the lion king with the message hakunah mata

    Perhaps fitting

    Hakunah matata what a wonderful phrase
    Hakunah matata good bye to your repka daaaaaays

    It means no worries, for your national teaaaaaaaammm

    Keeps his weekend freeeeeee, faking another injuryyyyyy

    Hakunah matataaaaaaaa

  2. Maminjo says:

    Modrić scores a penalty.

    I’m glad I missed it. I would’ve had a heart attack seeing him step up to take it lol.

  3. vuki says:

    If you have any kind of cable or anything and in the US, just go on and find it. That’s where I’m watching

  4. Maminjo says:

    Rebić is an amazing creator, but a horrible finisher.

    He botched a golden chance in every game in the World Cup. I watched the tournament a second time and couldn’t believe how many chances he had… But most of them were created by him, so you can’t really get upset.

  5. Mile says:

    Love the Azerbaijan guy. Thinks he scores the tying goal and is shocked that he is called offside. On the replay, he is 3-4 yards offside.

  6. Maminjo says:

    I don’t like that we didn’t capitalize on those chances and score that insurance goal.

    Azerbaijan is very physical and hardworking. They’ll keep playing until the end.

    We’d better not sit back and rely on this one goal lead.

  7. Maminjo says:


    I think he was more shocked that the chance presented itself.

    He was strolling back (and not running) then they got possession and his teammate stupidly passed him the ball while he was deep offside.

    Had he run back onside, he could have had a chance. Probably would’ve been a lot harder to score with Vida next to you, but you can always flop.

    That’s the danger with teams like this.

  8. Cromiza says:

    Sounds like they dominating in every statistic other than the actual score. Hope AZ does not get a lucky accidental goal.

  9. Mile says:

    For those of you who can’t watch this match, I am jealous. What a joke of a game. Should have been 4-0 and now it’s 1-1. And Azerbaijan has more chances in the second half. So much for the 2018 team being back.

  10. Mile says:

    This is like the Hungary game, only 10x worse because it’s friggin’ Azerbaijan. And I don’t know why Rebic is still on the field.

  11. Mile says:

    An absolute embarrassment. And now they have opened the door for Wales and Hungary. If Hungary wins today, Croatia will be playing for second in the group, which would be sad.

  12. Toronto Croatia Toronto Croatia says:

    I guess the guys dont mind going back to their respective clubs and saying.. “yea we tied Azerbaijan”

  13. Anonymous says:

    Missing Rakitic today. The young guns are just that, young, we still need veteran leaders that can actually change the dynamic of a game. This game proves that doing the same thing for 90 mins isn’t good enough. Nothing changed, no switching from side to side, Dalic again not using subs. Granted the bench was thin, disappointed, but honestly not really surprised. At least we got 1 point and maintained our goal diff.

  14. Rafael says:

    Normal protocal. Blowing games like this is normal for us.

    Rebic blew 2 chances in the first half. His “easy going” approach today’s game is why Bayern wouldn’t allow Kovac to buy him and why he has struggled to become an A class star. Perisic and Rebic didn’t perform.

    Petkovic also showed why he is at Dinamo and not a top tier team in Europe. Disappointing but not suprising.

  15. Crnkovic says:

    Dalic has to take the blame for the result. rebic and perisic were both horrible against the slovaks and again today. not sharp enough with the feet. secondly if you play a team that is going to bunker you need to have a strategy. if you dominate in the last third you need players with agility and quick feet. that means brekalo and vlasic. tactically it was not the corrrect selection. i dont know why he showed so much faith in rebic today. he did nothing again. i wanted him hooked at half time for brekalo. these are important, and difficult, matches. no room for loyalty.

    also. it wasnt an easy game psychologically after the slovakia game this was always going to be a tough match. the players wanted to repeat the result of the slovakia game. so they tried to force the issue when we are winning 1-0 away from home. they failed to manage the game effectively and exhausted themselves trying to score more goals, leading to the tired defending which cost us the goal. lesson learnt. move on

  16. Pavo says:

    So what’s are take on the next group game. Slovakia to win, keeps us at the top, a tie, which keeps us at the top, or Hungary win, which leaves Slovakia nearly out, and only Wales can challenge for second. What’s everyone thinking?

  17. Mile says:

    Best scenario for Hungary-Slovakia is a tie. Then if Croatia beats both Hungary and Slovakia at home, they more than likely qualify.

  18. Dalmatia says:

    Where is the heart and fight with these players. They are representing Hrvatska and they play with heart of a rec team. Is this a reflection of a shit coach. Why would you put Breakalo at EB he should have replaced Rebic who was pathetic today. Perišić Was also completely useless….no heart. Also why not put Pašalić in instead of Oršić. We need a true striker.

  19. Vis says:

    Dalic outcoached by the Azerbaijan who is Croatian.
    Are these types of games the reason why we have not won a major tournament?

  20. Pavo says:

    One way to look at it is that half way though qualifying and we are sitting at the top. If it was done today we would be in. As much as today’s result feels like a failure, we’re good, we still got 2 home games. Win both of those and were in.

  21. The truth says:

    Board meltdown!!!

    We need rakitic back!

    Modric is too old!

    Petkovic is not up to the task! Gotta get kramaric back!

    It’s time to reconsider dalic as coach!. Time to reconsider bilic?

  22. Maminjo says:

    Dalić played the exact same lineup as Slovakia, hoping for the exact same result.
    Growing pains from a rookie coach.

    – Rebić is not a good player against bunker teams, where accurate finishing in tight spaces is key.
    – Bartolec is very small and is too easily pushed off the ball by any physical player. This is all that the Azeris can do.
    – Taking one of your most talented and impactful players in Brekalo and just sticking him at RB is a complete waste

    All of these things were known before the game, but Dalić chose to stick with what he hoped was a “one size fits all” winning formula.

    Brekalo is a starter, especially in a game like this.
    At the very least, he should have come on at halftime at RW (not RB).

    Also, if keeping Bartolec on the field requires Modrić to cover for him… Then get him off the field. He does nothing offensively anyway. I’d rather put an extra defender in there.

    Rebić is good in the open field, but in these types of games… He reminds me of Olić. He can turn from hero to zero real quick.

    I’m not too concerned yet. I’m glad we beat Slovakia. That was a huge game, and now we need to ensure we protect home field against Hungary and Slovakia. I’d be surprised if we didn’t exact revenge on Hungary in Split.

  23. The truth says:

    Well you can’t say this wasn’t expected. Happens every cycle. And against Azerbaijan before!

    I kept wondering why would dalic not put brekalo in with about thirty minutes to go

    My thinking is he thought in case Azerbaijan scored he wanted an ace up the sleeve to go all offense with brekalo on without having to take rebic off

    With about score 1-0 hr didn’t want to put brekalo at rb and weaken the defense but didn’t want to sub rebic out and lose his potential all offense line up

    Or, his move was just stupid and he’s got no idea what he’s doing

  24. Crnkovic says:

    people over reacting. they played well enough. they just didnt manage the expectation of another big score in the right way. modric was brilliant throughout the game, so was brozovic, so was vlasic. petkovic was also good. its just one of those things

  25. Razbijač says:

    Exactly we played well enough, it’s just our coaching let us down:

    1) Rebic shoulda been subbed out much earlier for Brekalo. As Rebic started to fade, and Brekalo woulda given the Azeri’s something to worry about.

    2) As the Azeris were gaining momentum in the second half, Brozo (who is on a card) shoulda been subbed off for Badelj to shore up the defense. It kinda sucks having your CDM play on a card.

    That’s why I think he was hesitant to forcefully challenge the Azeri goal scorer (before he scored), for fear of picking up a second yellow.

  26. Iggy Iggy says:

    Well our remaining 3 games are all against the better teams in the group so those will obviously be telling. Hopefully at least a draw vs Wales and a win and a draw in the other 2 home games should be enough i would say

  27. AWOL says:

    Hungary just lost. Disappointing that we need to have their loss to increase our standing. I am not a cheerleader, that was good effort today but still shit result.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Azeri goal our defenders clearly went in soft to avoid a card or giving up a penalty. If you mis time the tackle on a guy slaloming through the box like that he is gonna go down easy every time and you are gonna give up a PK – especially after you already had a PK in your favor.

    Understand the reason they were soft in the challenge on the goal but still no excuse. Should have still had better defensive positioning so they could win the ball clean. They cause us sleeping.

  29. Andrej L says:

    Hindsight is always 20/20. Ya Rebic missed 2 chances but credit to the keeper for closing down quickly. Mustafazada was playing out of his mind as well. Maybe we were tired but we definitely seemed out of ideas when trying to break down their defensive bunker. A lot of walking and passes going a bit too slow. Credit to Jurcevic for a great game plan today.

    I’m not sure if this was strategy or not but Petkovic came deep to collect the ball a lot. Maybe this was in order to pull their CB out of position so that Perisic/Rebic could run into free space. Maybe this is why he kept Rebic in. Otherwise, the 70th min Brekalo for Rebic seemed like the sub to make like last game. At the same time, that weak shot from Brekalo near the end showed his immaturity. He’s only averaging 36 mins/game this year.

    We’re still first and no team can afford to fully bunker against us in the next 3 matches. Good international break for Petkovic and Vlasic.

  30. The truth says:

    O actually don’t usually like to pin things in effort and focus… Usually i prefer to say the players aren’t that good

    But i think this was actually the case here

    Little urgency to get back and defend and stay compact

    Azerbaijan got several shots on goal and actually scored two goals before that!

    Those goals were offside but offside or not… It shows your defense is not focused that penetrating passes can get in

  31. vuki says:

    So I just got home from work. Watched just about the whole game, only really missed the beginning of the 2nd half, but here’s what I thought about the game overall. We honestly, started really really well and simply needed to score again and Azerbaijan would definitely have crumbled and it probably would have been another rout. Perisic (I think it was him) played a great ball over the top to Rebic who then had a 1v1 with the GK. The goalie made a great save, but it was also just a poor finish. Rebic chose to shoot across the goal instead of just hitting it with a little bit of curl around the keeper, but I can’t blame him, it was good keeping overall.

    Then it seemed like literally everyone got selfish to me. Any time we got near the box, whether it was Rebic, Perisic, Vlasic, Petkovic, Modric, or Brozovic, it almost always ended with a long range shot. Sure some of them were good and the keeper made some great saves, but I think we just wasted so many opportunities. Petkovic came back down to earth a bit. I didn’t think he was horrible, but he was trying too hard to score another solo goal and it was quite annoying to watch. This is the type of game where Kramaric would have been big. He saved us at home against Azerbaijan with tidy finish after we were up against it. The second half was just bad. We were just about all over them in the first 30 minutes of the match, but we just slowly let them back into the game. Then came their fury of attacks. Both teams were trying to counter attack and that literally never works out for us. We saw that in the friendly against Tunisia to a degree. Yes, it was a bit of a throwaway and Dalic seemed to be testing things, but we let them play fast-paced and did not try to control the game. The same thing happened here. They had some quick players who kept getting in behind down the wings and then our fullbacks would have to chase them. Early on, I thought Bartolec looked pretty decent. I even remember him communicating well with Lovren and showing confidence basically waving him off so he could go back to the middle, but boy I just think he got nervous after a while. I heard Dalic yelling “KARLO” a few times and it seemed like he was telling him to stay back and not go so far forward all the time.

    We also got saved by their attackers being idiots and just standing in offside positions over and over. Like truth said, our defenders were just not prepared for those passes. The goal finally came and boy was it dreadful, at least in my opinion. First off, yes the guy is quick, but Brozovic, for all the credit we’ve been giving him defensively, he just got beaten way too easily for me. Then, Lovren, Bartolec, and to a lesser degree, Vida, all got beat sooooo easily. Lovren, in my opinion absolutely should be getting the ball there. He has to stick his foot in and at least try to get a piece of the ball. I’d much rather he gave away a penalty being aggressive than just backing off to let him shoot. After, that our boys looked down and Azerbaijan just kind of tried to get whatever counters they could while having all of their players behind the ball. And although I don’t agree with Dalic’s subs, I credit him for at least trying to make something happen. Ante Cacic would have waited until the 89th minute and then made a sub like Badelj for Brozovic or something. God that was frustrating.

    AT LEAST Slovakia beat Hungary so our position is in our hands. Hopefully this motivates our guys finish this group off with 3 wins. I’m happy that our setbacks happened now rather than in the last 3 games. We’re lucky to be in first right now. Thankfully it was only a draw not a loss and we basically just need 2 wins from 3 to qualify. However, I definitely would like to finish first in the group. I’m hoping Dalic ripped them in the dressing room for the lack of effort and they come out looking to kill against Hungary.

  32. vuki says:

    Geez, I did not think that post was that long. Sorry about that, haha. I just needed to get that all off my chest as it’s been stewing all day at work.

  33. Maminjo says:

    Well the good news is, we only have to wait a month to see what happens next.

    In the old qualifying cycle, the next round of games would be like six months away, lol

  34. Mr Simeonic says:

    It’s not a shock we usually play down to our opposition. I told many people on this site we might lose points to Azerbaijan and we did. The 4:0 win against Slovakia had deflected goal and a few mistakes by the Slovakia goalkeeper. Some people on here said we should have scored 6 against Slovakia funny comments.

  35. Mr Simeonic says:

    We also had a 0:0 draw against Azerbaijan a few years ago and only a 2:1 win at home against them this qualifying campaign. Croatia will always surprise and disappoint. We shouldnt be expecting much anymore after the World Cup. Slovakia done us a favour if we had won we would have been well ahead.

  36. Croat Canadian says:

    Holy fuck that was painful to watch. We should be embarrassed to tie Azerbaijan. This feels like a loss. Everyone thought we were back on track after the Slovakia game and were delusional to think we were back in form. LOL not even close! That performance was even worst than the first back in March in Zagreb. Now that Slovakia has won and Wales got a scrappy win over Azerbaijan. The group is up for grabs and anything can happen now. It’s funny how we think we’re so good after dominating Slovakia but then they slap Azerbaijan and beat Hungary twice. That game at Hungary will be huge game.

  37. Maminjo says:

    Croatia always does well against the best teams, but we also play poorly against weak teams.

    It the reason why we have excellent records against the elite teams in the World, and it’s the reason why we have a World Cup bronze and a World Cup silver.

    So long as we get those five remaining points we need to qualify, I’m happy. Qualifying is actually harder for us than the actual tournament, lol.

  38. Morski Kurac says:

    I think Croatia’s problem is that when she plays teams she should destroy she shows solidarity by
    Playing down to their lower ranked opponent. Against better countries like England or Spain we give them hell.
    In my opinion this is due to the socialist Yugo mentality that the country still suffers from.

  39. Mile says:

    Croatia’s success depends a lot on the tactics of the opponent. We’ve seen many times that a team that bunkers can shut them down. Azerbaijan’s coach is Croatian, so he knows this. That is why we have success against the Englands, Spains , etc. They don’t bunker. They attack and we attack. There is open space against these teams. Even in the World Cup, the toughest game we had was against Denmark, who focused on defending. That’s why I hate these qualifying games against crappy teams. The good news is that their last three opponents can’t afford to bunker. They needs points to qualify. I can’t see Croatia not beating both Hungary and Slovakia at home. If they win both, they qualify.

  40. Crotown says:

    Play the bloody kids in crap games like this- their the guys who want to make something happen in their lives so they can move to a good club and get noticed. Lunacy that we play anything but the kids against Azerwho? Some of our senior guys looked like they kept looking to the bench for a veal sandwich or a glass of wine- wake up Dalic- you can be replaced very easily with another TV repairman.

    What are we doing?

  41. T Bone says:

    Yes Croatia has tied or lost to crappy teams in qualifiers many x over the years. I remember Georgia costing them points more than once.

    Dalic should have made subs after 60 mins as the boys looked pooched.

    A second goal before half time and the W was pretty much guaranteed.

    They should qualify as they can afford to draw 2 out of 3 matches and still finish first or second. It’s their’s to lose but complacency seems to become habitual for Croatia.

  42. BZ says:

    Why did you throw Rebic under the bus when ANY sane person knows this tie is on you!? Make a substitution please! Why?

    a) Two consecutive road games
    b) Short turnaround, a game Friday then a game on Monday
    c) Long flight to Baku with timezone changes
    d) After 3 halfs of pure dominance, a blind man could see wee came out flat and tired. Changes were clearly needed by the 60th minute

    C’mon Dalic, this tie was on you 95%. Own it.

    That said, kudos for going with the same lineup. Looked great in the first half, but given the unusual circumstances (see a-d above) we just came out flat…no biggie it’s soccer.

    I am more worried Dalic will veer from this core lineup, because of 1 mediocre half.

    Livakovic finally got tested, and didn’t step up. No free passes here bud.

  43. Elvis says:


    It’s doesnt help that we have collaborators
    In Croatia. Who the fuck wants Serb singers
    To come sing in Croatia? motherfuckers!

  44. Maminjo says:

    Don’t read Balkan Insight.

    It is an extremely pro-Yugoslavia website, that constantly romanticizes Yugoslavia and only reports negative news about Croatia or any of the other republics that go against Yugoslav ideals.

    Don’t ever bother clicking on those articles. They’re just biased drivel.

  45. Canuckcro says:

    i just spy on that site. that commy udba bullshit ..just curious how those fuckers operate with their fake news.thats day they will rot in hell till they state the truth the world.Back to soccer now.

  46. Cromiza says:

    Matjaz Kek has made Rijeka perform well for years, as well as SLO national team in 2010. Looks like he is at it again. A Croatia/Slovene euro 2020 final would be great.

  47. Maminjo says:

    Zuti took a bit of a hit with his failed attempt with BiH.

    There’s no reason for them to lose to teams like Armenia and Finland, in addition to a home draw to Greece (who can’t even beat Liechtenstein). Armenia and Finland have stepped up this campaign, but there’s still a talent gap in his favor.

    He needs to find success with another team before getting a chance with us.

    Guys like Bjelica and Kek are way ahead of him.
    Bjelica has been great with Dinamo, and has had a lot of success in the past with other teams. Kek is killing it right now with Slovenia, and they haven’t done this well since the LAST time Kek was their coach. I’d even put Tudor in the mix if he has a couple good seasons with Udinese (and can manage to keep his emotions in check). We all know that Bilic would love another chance, lol.

  48. Maminjo says:


    There is no more UDBa.

    Just spoiled brats who bash all the luxuries they currently enjoy, in favor of romanticizing totalitarian regimes from the past, wearing a Che Guevara shirt and using their iphones and facebook to do it, lol.

    The site is run by a handful of these spoiled millennials from some of the former Yugo countries. There are like two authors for all of the articles on the site. They’re too young to have ever experienced Yugoslavia, but I assume they are all on board with sending people to their deaths in Goli Otok or having children die in the villages due to no access to hospitals or antibiotics.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Petkovic – poor man’s mandzukic – holds up play well-not even close to as good in the air (Mandzo had to be top 3 in Europe for headers in his prime) still rollin and lucky break for Bruno on his feet for goal against Slovakia-it made him look better then he is – there’s a reason he plays for dinamo and I’m BBB all the way but when it comes to the Repka we need more efficient firepower up front and he’s not it

    We need a foreign coach sad to say !! If not, prosinescki or bilic -(very questionable but had some solidarity) adjusted to
    lineups well. Kek/ are u kidding me ? Stop with the well wishing of some of these Croat coaches…if were gonna mention that.., let’s give another tv repair man a chance or how about Prso as he can fix your engine as well adjust the lineup at the same time! If we had more experienced coaching with a Croat who bleeds the savez (not many/ no HNL coach can fill the void) that would Impact us huge but not to be found! Dalic’s time is up- horrible subs/lack of proper subs/timing against azerby who ? and this brekalo RB situation is ridiculous.

    If we had Lippi or Trappatoni we’d be champions of Europe
    Or the world by now as the talent is there – Suker that scumbag- sell more tickets to get your get greedy grubby hands on more kunas you bastard

  50. Marko says:

    Marko comments btw. We need a coach who can handle the copious amounts of talent at our disposal and maybe it’s finally time to look at foreign coaches who can bring the best out of our squad and not have brain farts or lineup adjustments that make no sense

  51. Iggy says:

    I think we know the real question is

    FIFA or Pro Evo 2020 this year?

    Which one has licensed Hrvatska? Suker still demanding more money to allow them to use our licences?

  52. Chopper says:

    Surely with the payout we got from making the WC final, we must invest in a quality and proven coach to take us to the next level; and by that I mean win Euros

  53. ziva truth says:

    how quick people jump off the ship with dalic. the man got us to the final of the world cup, we will qualify for the Euro. We had key players out, we had a number of players retire, no coach has yet solved croatia playing down or up to its competition. Apparently its in our blood, we played well for the most part against Azerbaijan, their goalie was ridiculous, probably the game of his career. shit happens its how the game goes. we will be okay.

  54. CroatiaU14 says:

    @Iggy haha although there’s no Hrvatska in FIFA, there’s no way I’m playing PES. At least Fifa has Dinamo.

  55. Jarac says:

    Modric and it ain’t even close. Also I feel like raketa played very well for us in the World Cup there was a noticeable difference when he was on vs in the pitch. I wonder if he felt slighted that modric was getting all the buzz. Also that awesome video of grdovic playing guitar and singing raketa was only lil bitch sitting down and looked like he was pouting or he didn’t know the songs while all the others were partaking in celebration. I also feel he thinks he is a Spaniard now that his wife has brainwashed him. I use to question his allegiance but they wrote a piece about him picking cro and what the jersey meant to him. Raketa we need u!!!

  56. Anonymous says:


    “There is no more UDBa.”

    Yes there is, you wouldn’t know shit about it though, lol too busy following the lives of the Croatian footballers on instagram and other social media platforms like a little kid, or should I say balavac.


  57. Tomas says:

    The UDBA is different now. It lives in the EU. Post something the government doesn’t like and they pay you a visit. Merkel is rich East German communist. Courts trying to fine people for ZDS. UBDA lives. The rich communists have turned into the rich globalists. Remember the student protests and Croatian Spring againist these commie rich fucks? Learn history.

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