VfL Wolfsburg midfielder Ivan Perišić scored twice as Croatia won 2-1 against Mali in their first FIFA World Cup warm-up game.
Croatia were superior throughout in front of a packed house in Osijek as they stepped up their preparations ahead of the World Cup in Brazil. Niko Kovač opted to leave UEFA Champions League winner Luka Modrić on the bench, though the Real Madrid CF midfielder received an impressive ovation from the home fans when he came on in the second half.
Another Croatian player to have lifted a European trophy this month – the UEFA Europa League with Sevilla FC – Ivan Rakitić played a key role in his country's first goal against Mali, laying on a splendid through ball for Perišić to finish.
Rakitić also played a pivotal role in Croatia's second, delivering a corner from which Ivica Olić headed goalwards and Perišić redirected the ball into the net. Cheick Fantamady Diarra's 79th-minute effort made for a nervy ending for the hosts, but Croatia had done enough to secure victory.