Harry Wilson scored twice to lead Wales to a historic 2-1 victory over Croatia in Cardiff on Sunday. With this victory, Wales’ chances of qualifying for Euro 2024 were given a new lease on life.
The team led by Rob Page has moved into second place in Group D in qualifying, moving ahead of the semi-finalists from the World Cup. As a result, Croatia is in danger of not qualifying for a major event for the first time since the 2010 World Cup.
After a terrible beginning to Wales’ qualification campaign, Page’s spot on the team was in serious jeopardy.
Their chances of qualifying for a third consecutive European Championship appeared to be all but over after they suffered a 4-2 setback at home to Armenia and a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the group leaders, Turkey.
In addition to losing Gareth Bale because of his retirement from international football, Wales was also missing two of their most dangerous offensive players, Aaron Ramsey and Brennan Johnson, because of injuries.
The Fulham winger Wilson, however, became a new hero for his country after scoring two magnificent goals early in the second half.
The victory was nothing less than what Wales deserved, especially considering how Croatia’s big stars fell short of expectations.
Dominik Livakovic produced some outstanding saves to prevent the home team from taking the lead before halftime. Wilson’s free kick and Neco Williams’ looping effort from the edge of the box were both turned away by Dominik Livakovic.
Even though Croatia’s head coach Zlatko Dalic showed his unhappiness by making three replacements throughout the half, his team did not wake up from their slumber despite the coach’s efforts.
David Brooks’s miraculous comeback from a cancer diagnosis to playing at the highest level for his country was helped along by the fact that he provided an assist for the first goal scored by Wilson.
Wilson was able to outrun Domagoj Vida and loft the ball over the advancing Livakovic thanks to the effort of the Bournemouth attacker who lofted the ball over the Croatian defence.
After that, the small Wilson scored with a cushioned header off of Dan James’ cross thanks to the effective usage of his head.
Before they were forced to see out a tense conclusion, James’ curling effort was only centimetres away from a Welsh third place finish.
A quarter of an hour before the game was over, Mario Pasalic finished a corner at the back post.
But players like Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic were unable to find a way through the Welsh defenders for a second time, which means that the group is still in a precarious position as we head into the last two rounds of qualifying next month.
The qualifying of Turkey was ensured with their victory over Latvia by a score of 4-0.
Wales and Croatia both have 10 points, but Wales leads Croatia in the head-to-head record thanks to their 1-1 draw in Split earlier in the group stage. Croatia is currently in second place in the group.
The next stops for Croatia are in Latvia and Armenia, both of which will be in Zagreb.
In their final two matches, Wales will play either away against Armenia or at home against Turkey.