Modric and Budimir strike as Croatia clinch first ever victory over Portugal

football08 June 2024 18:52| © Reuters
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Luka Modric © Getty Images

Goals in each half by Luka Modric and Ante Budimir got Croatia a historic first win over Portugal in eight matches when they beat the hosts 2-1 in an international friendly on Saturday, as Cristiano Ronaldo remained on the bench.

Vitinha brought down Mateo Kovacic in the box soon after kick-off, resulting in a penalty.

Portugal keeper Diogo Costa rightly guessed where Modric would aim, but his dive to the right fell just short as the Real Madrid midfielder scored his 25th goal for Croatia.

But halftime substitute Diogo Jota brought Portugal level three minutes after coming on, when fellow substitute Nelson Semedo found him inside the six-yard box with a short cross from the right. The Liverpool forward made no mistake with the close-range finish.

But Croatia restored their lead eight minutes later, despite Costa's best efforts as he did well to deflect Budimir's attempt to the crossbar. The rebound went right back to Budimir who headed it into the net with ease.

Portugal, who won six of their previous seven matches against Croatia, begin their Euro 2024 Group F campaign against Czech Republic on 18 June. 

Croatia face Spain in their first Group B fixture next Saturday.