Croatia defeated Australia 1-0 in their last warm-up match ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Hull City AFC striker Nikica Jelavić grabbing the winning goal in Salvador on 58 minutes.
Playing their first ever game on Brazilian soil, Croatia prepared for the tournament proper with a morale-boosting success against their fellow contenders. Coach Niko Kovač opted to give some of his back-up players an opportunity to shine and the Vatreni got the goal they were chasing when Jelavić pounced on confusion in Australia's defence.
Croatia also enjoyed the best opening of the first half, when Jelavić set up Eduardo da Silva with a fine pass after 20 minutes. The FC Shakhtar Donetsk forward neatly escaped his marker, only for his shot to be saved well by goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.
More concerning for Kovač, however, was the injury picked up by Danijel Pranjić five minutes later. The Panathinaikos FC defender sustained an ankle problem during a challenge and had to leave the pitch, giving Croatia an anxious wait to discover the extent of his injury.
Despite that blow, the European side went ahead close to the hour mark, Jelavić making the most of a lapse at the back and beating Ryan one on one.
That proved enough to settle the encounter, notable also for Kovač's continued reluctance to field Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić together. Rakitić came on for Modrić, but both are expected to start when Croatia open their World Cup campaign against the hosts on 12 June. They also face Cameroon and Mexico in Group A.