Friendly Review: Moldova
Exactly two weeks before our EURO mission kicks off, our team decided to lock horns with a fairly modest Moldova side. The match was played on Kantrida (Rijeka) in front of roughly 7.000 spectators. Bilic opted for a mixed starting eleven, including the likes of Pranjic and Budan coming in to replace our usual suspects.
This payed off though, as our players started the match furiously. They pushed up their defensive line all the way up and literally cornered the opposing players to their 16yard box. Constant pressure on their back line and some neat passes on our behalf produced a string of opportunities, of which (un)fortunately only one made it to the back of the net. After a fine corner taken by Rakitic, Niko Kovac was quickest to react as he beat the Moldova keeper with a quality header.
After the goal (30. minute) though, game pretty much slew down. Both sides also introduced a number of players in the second half, so there was no real cohesion or ambition on either side to go and change things before the final whistle. But it wasn’t a dull second half, as despite these changes both teams went on to create a couple of chances. Goalies kept their cool though as the match ended with a 1:0 scoreline. Highlights:
Now, the most important thing about this match was obviously the performance of our stand-in players. Pranjic definitely made a good impression on the left side. I feel his inclusion in the side gives us so much more options on our left, something similar to what we have with Corluka covering the right. He’s got enough pace to patch a few holes in the back, and enough quality in his touch to pose a real threat when going forward. I reckon Bilic will have his hands full with this one.
Vukojevic also had a fine match, covering all the midfield gaps and adequately distributing the ball around. Man of the match? I’d say Luka Modric (again). With every touch the man had, you could see exactly why and how much he means to our NT. A key player, without a doubt. One more thing to add though, and it’s pretty important at that, is the fact that our players looked fresh out there. So here’s to all those fitness coaches and physios, whatever you’re doing it’s working. Keep it up. Next stop: Hungary (31.5.). After that, the big one with Austria.
Looks like we might have to look at a 4-2-3-1 shape with three attacking midfielders. Its going to be hard without Eduardo.
Eduardo was the key.Looking back at those chances he put away that won us tight matches, just can’t see who will do that now.So I would also consider one up front,Petric, and maybe Rakitic included.Pranjic definately will be left back I think, more like a wing back anyway like Jarni.the defence scares me the most.No one coming through so we have to convert midfielders now.
To be honest I’m a little worried after the Moldova game because it is evident that Eduardo simply cannot be replaced. Sure – Petric, Kranjcar and Srna were missing but the problem is that the strikers are not scoring. Klasnic is far away from his best, Budan is good but I don’t think a tandem Petric/Budan, Olic/Budan would do any good. So we are probably gonna see Olic/Petric and this combination didn’t look powerful in the friendly against Scotland. However, I hope they prove me wrong against Hungary.
Yea it’s an area we’re definitely struggling in. Maybe Bilic will try something similar to what Milan proposed above, playing a single striker (Petric) upfront and thus making room for Rakitic. I agree both Klasnic and Budan don’t inspire much confidence these days. I think he’ll experiment with this against Hungary.
great midfield with Modric, Kranjcar et all but the attackers aren’t inspiring at the moment
I dread a repeat of wc 06. Our strikers simply don’t score for the NT (except dudu, of course). Do we need to rely on set pieces(are we england, now)?!? playing 4-2-3-1, where to put srna? certainly not as one of the 2 holding players…and if bilic put srna on the right wing, where would he put rakitic? the only way to accomodate all of them would be to put modric alongside n.kovac but give him more freedom to advance, put rakitic as the #10(why instead of modric?because modric can defend, rakitic absolutely cannot), and have kranjcar on the left wing (with a very inviting option of having pranjic replace him in the 2nd half). Anyhow, its too messy.
A much better option(and less radical) is to play a 4-4-1-1, with rakitic playing in the hole.
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