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June 10, 2013
• Stade de Genève, Carouge
Referee: S. Studer
• Attendance: 13334
Cristiano Ronaldo 36'
That's it from Stade de Geneve. Thanks to all of you who joined me for tonight's action. Until next time, goodbye!
FULL-TIME: CROATIA 0-1 PORTUGAL. Ronaldo's first-half strike is all that separates these two in the end as the national side celebrates Portugal day in suitable style. A lot of the talk after tonight's action may well be of Alen Halilovic's impressive first outing for his country. Surely the first of many caps for the 16-year-old.
90' + 2'
From the resulting corner Croatia head wide once more and that could be that.
90' + 2'
They almost do! Modric swings in a corner which Eduardo comes to punch. The keeper makes contact but send his clearance back otwards his own goal but it bounces wide. Croatia almost level in the most bizarre of fashions.
90' + 1'
We're into three minutes of stoppage time now. Croatia are pushing for a late equaliser. Can they find it?
He's at it again moments later, taking the ball from the bye-line and cutting inside onto his trusty left foot once more. This time his effort is blocked by a defender.
HALILOVIC!!! What a moment that would have been. The Croatian wonderkid has plenty of space on the right wing but plenty of work to do too. He drives at the Portuguese defence and shifts the ball onto his left foot before striking goalwards and only a fingertip stop from Eduardo denies the 16-year-old a debut goal for his country.
Portugal are threatening a second goal in these final few minutes. Only a couple of important blocks has stopped Vierinha and Oliveira running through on goal.
More substitutions flow as we enter into the final five minutes. The number of changes has definitely had a negative impact on the second half.
Hrvoje Milic has been solid on his debut and he almost provides an assist to mark it. The left-back gets forward and fires a low ball across the box but it's turned behind before it can reach any of the blue shirts in the centre.
Portugal come forward again. This time Vieirinha decides to go himself, cutting onto his right foot and curling an effort just past the right-hand post.
Nelson Oliveira is on and he tries to make an immediate impact with a first time effort that flies past Subasic's post.
There's an opening! But it isn't taken. Modric swings in a dangerous cross from the right and Ivan Perisic gets his head to it. He goes for goal though and heads over when young Halilovic was screaming for the knockdown.
Just 15 minutes of action left now. The second half has been far less of a spectacle than the opening forty-five. Could those tired legs produce the opening both sides are searching for.
Ivo Ilicevic - one of the surprise starters this evening - makes way for another of the Wolfsburg contingent in action tonight, Ivan Perisic.
Hugo Almeida glares at Vierinha and he has every right to. The Wolfsburg winger dispossesses a weary Srna and drives into the area from the left. He only needs to tap the ball to his teammate, wide open at the back post, but Vieirinha's pass is inexplicably played behind the Besiktas striker and the stand-in captain is denied a simple tap in.
A sloppy past from Milic inside his own area goes unpunished as the first signs of fatigue begin to kick in. It's been a long season for them all and it's almost feet up time.
Croatia are beginning to show a bit more bite. Srna wins a corner as his volley is blocked behind for a corner. From the resulting set piece Eduardo is forced into his first meaningful save as he gets down to hold Kovacic's effort from outside the area.
Igor Stimac mixes up the pack once more, sending on Mateo Kovacic and Nikola Kalinic for Vukojevic and Olic.
Portugal have still been able to control the majority of possession in the second half but as you'd expect, they're struggling to create chances without Ronaldo.
A move from the training ground sees Modric float a corner to the back stick to Srna. The defender clips in a cross that finds Olic but he fires his header over the bar. The Wolfsburg striker was offside in any case.
Yellow Card Ognjen Vukojevic
Another Croatian goes into the book as Vukojevic is penalised for tugging back Vierinha.
Arijan Ademi takes to the field to replace Ivan Rakitic and pick up only his second cap.
Croatia now have a set piece but any opportunity is dashed by the referees whistle as he spots a foul on Eduardo.
Ricardo Costa has just drawn a fantastic one-handed stop from Subasic. The Monaco keeper is forced into the fine reflex stop from Costa's flick header from a free kick.
Yellow Card Vedran Corluka
The referee finally loses patience with Corluka and the defender is booked after his umpteenth foul.
You can tell Croatia like to play their football through the centre of the park, however Portugal just aren't allowing them to do so. Their three midfielders have stayed compact all afternoon and the side in blue can't find a way past.
Coentrao has just sent a header over the bar from inside the six-yard-box. The offside flag may be up but it's still a poor miss.
Here comes the wonderkind. Ivan Strinic is the man to make way. Halilovic has 40 minutes to show us what he can do.
As ever, I want to hear from you. Any predictions, thoughts or opinions for the second half get in touch. You can use the chat box in the match centre or tweet in to @harryslavin. The choice is yours.
The action is back underway in Switzerland. Ronaldo and Bruno Alves have made way for Vieirinha and Sereno for the second half.
Despite being behind, this is a arguably an improvement from Croatia following their humiliating defeat to Scotland last Friday. They had 19 shots that night and couldn't make a single one count. Can they take their chances in the second half?
I think a lot of you will be excited with this news. There are suggestions that wonderkid Alen Halilovic will make his debut in the second half here. The 16-year-old scored twice in 18 appearances for Dinamo Zagreb this season, becoming the youngest ever player to play and score in Croatia's top division.
These two sides have met only twice before and both times Portugal have ran out clear winners, keeping a clean sheet on both occasions. There hasn't been any real sign of a Croatian goal this evening either. But that could all yet change in a game that has been pretty open.
HALF-TIME: CROATIA 0-1 PORTUGAL. Ronaldo's inevitable strike separates these two in Switzerland at the break. CR& could already have a had a hat-trick had he been firing on all cylinders. He's hit the bar with a header and fluffed his lines from 8-yards out. Croatia are by no means out of this though.
45' + 1'
Luka Modric skips past a couple of tackles in midfield but any Croatian attack is snuffed out as Portugal get men behind the ball. They're proving a tough unit to break down through the centre.
Into the final minute of what has turned out to be a fairly open first half at Stade de Geneve.
Croatia waste another free kick in a dangerous position. Ilicevic is brought down on the bye-line on the right wing. The free kick is floated into the area but Bruno Alves is up unchallenged to head the ball to safety.
CROSSBAR!!! Ronaldo sends a header into the ground and the ball loops up over Subasic and onto the bar!
Croatia try to respond with Modric pulling the strings. He forces a corner and Olic rises highest to nod over from the set piece.
It's almost two in two minutes for Portugal! Varela gallops down the right flank and swings in a ball that finds Ruben Amorim free at the back stick. He smashes his effort first time just over the bar. Croatia have gone to sleep momentarily.
Assist Silvestre Varela
Goal C. Ronaldo
GOOOAAALLL!!! PORTUGAL ARE AHEAD!!! Who else?! Portugal work a really fine goal as Silvio's low cross it cushioned into the path of Ronaldo by Varela, the Real Madrid man slotting his effort beyond Subasic.
Portugal are give the chance to regroup as Strinic rolls around in the penalty area after joining the attack.
It's Croatia's game now. Ilicevic's cross takes a slight nick off the toe of Bruno Alves and Eduardo has to react to swat the ball away from goal. The boys in blue are finding plenty of space on that right-hand side.
Silky footwork from Modric. The Real Madrid play-maker jinks his way down the right touchline and walks the bye line like a tightrope before cutting it back. Two blue shirts swing at the ball and miss it, allowing Portugal to clear.
That never looks good. Joao Moutinho goes down with no contact as he tries to turn past Modric. It looks like it could be a twist but the pint-sized midfielder is back on for now.
Moutinho forces the first corner of the match for Portugal. The Monaco man swings it in and finds the head of Custodio who heads wide.
Croatia meanwhile are happy to shoot on sight. Ilicevic is the latest to try his luck, curling well over Eduardo's crossbar.
Varela and Ronaldo are more than happy to take on a blue shirt with the ball at their feet. The only problem is they're being outfoxed more often than not. Portugal are struggling to create regular shooting opportunities as a result.
At least Portugal appear to have woken up now. Down the other end Croatia claim for a handball inside the area but nothing doing.
Portugal should be ahead. Everyone inside the ground was waiting for the net to bulge but all they got was a glimpse of Ronaldo's rueful smile.
WHAT A MISS FROM RONALDO!! Coentrao overlaps and finds his Real Madrid teammate unmarked in the penalty area but the no.7 miscues and fluffs his effort wide.
Portugal have had a uninspiring opening 15 minutes. I wonder if Portugal Day has taken its toll on the players.
Another foul. Another free kick. Luka Modric decides to try and test Eduardo with it but he gets it horribly wrong and fires over the top.
On the pitch, a couple of injuries has seen this game get of to a slow start. This may be a friendly but the tackles are still flying in.
Darijo Srna has started in defence this evening. That's his 104th cap for his country, taking him ahead of goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa as the most capped Croatian of all time.
Here comes Ronaldo. His first run at the Croatian goal is cut short by Vukojevic's trip. Subasic claims the resulting free kick with ease.
Croatia create the first opening of the match and some rash goalkeeping from Beto gives Olic the chance to fire at an open goal. The Wolfsburg man can't connect properly with his effort though as it skews wide of goal.
Stade de Geneve is no stranger to friendlies. England took on Argentina here in 2005 and ran out 3-2 winners. Any score like that would suit the fans just fine this evening.
We're underway in a sparsley populated Stade de Geneve. A small pocket of Portuguese fans provide the noise.
Anthems sung, hands shaken and team photographs snapped. Time for some football.
PORTUGAL: (4-3-3) Eduardo; Coentrao, Bruno Alves, Ricardo Costa, Sílvio; Custódio, Moutinho, Amorim; Varela, Almeida, Ronaldo.
CROATIA: (4-4-2) Siubasic, Srna, Corluka, Lovren, Strinic, Vukojevic, Modric; Ilicevic, Rakitic, Milic; Olic.
We aren't far from kick off. Time for some team news, starting with Croatia.
Today is actually Portugal Day, an annual celebration of all things Portuguese. Today's sporting headlines have already been dominated by one Portuguese man as Jose Mourinho held his first press conference since his return to Chelsea. Can the national team round off the days festivities with victory in Geneva?
Both these sides have been in World Cup Qualification action over the weekend, with contrasting fortunes. Portugal sneaked past Russia 1-0 to climb to the top of Group F but their opponents tonight were stunned by Scotland in Zagreb to lose touch with Belgium at the top of Group A.
Good evening and a warm welcome to Goal's live text commentary from Stade de Geneve in Switzerland as Portugal prepare to take on Croatia. I'm Harry Slavin and I'll be with you for minute-by-minute updates from the action in tonight's friendly.
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