Croatia 1-1 Wales
Croatia's Mladen Petric scored a late equaliser to deny Wales a famous victory as the two sides met in a pre-EURO 2004™ international friendly in Varazdin tonight.
Tottenham Hotspur FC midfield player Simon Davies opened the scoring with a superb strike after just ten minutes, beating a handful of Croatian defenders before rifling his effort beyond goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa.
Century of matches
However, once the goal had gone in, Wales were forced back for long periods. Croatia, playing in their 100th international since separating from Yugoslavia, increased the pressure on the visitors and almost equalised when Tomislav Maric sent a fizzing drive straight at goalkeeper Paul Jones.
The hosts made five changes for the second half, bringing on second-choice keeper Tomislav Butina, as well as Marijo Maric, Silvio Maric, Jerko Leko and Petric.
Just when all Wales's hard work looked like earning a fine win for Mark Hughes' side, they threw it all away in the 78th minute. Jones hacked a pass straight at Mario Maric and the ball bounced across goal for the grateful Petric to scoop in to the net.
Wales face a trip to Finland on 7 September in their opening Euro 2000™ Group 9 qualifier and must also navigate a path past Italy, Yugoslavia and Azerbaijan if they are to take their place at the finals in Portugal. Meanwhile, Croatia have been drawn in Group 8 alongside Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia and Andorra.
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