Highlights of Scotland's Group A match against Croatia from Hampden Park. Commentary by Liam McLeod and Billy Dodds.
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Auto The coach makes four changes to the side beat at home to Belgium.
The Champions League winner Mandzukic is upfront.
Stephen Naismith will earn his 25th cap tonight.
Mandzukic is a major influence in the team.
The fifth meeting between the nations. The third here. Croatia
have yet to beat Scotland. Three draws and that solitary Scottish
success at the end of last season. The goal scoring hasn't been a
problem for the national team. Only Serbia and Belgium stopped that
happening in two-and-a-half years. It is keeping them out at the other
end that proved troublesome. Can Scotland avoid the wooden spoon
tonight? Croatia are here with revenge on their minds. Yeah, I am
looking forward to the game tonight, pressure free. The players will go
out and express themselves. They finished off with wins and is that
because they are finishing off playing without pressure? That's a
wonderful take as well by Kalinic. Scotland did just enough to get away
with that. Maybe it is that lack of game time
you are talking about. Steps forward. There was an excellent
chance for Kalinic. Early pressure coming from the
visitors. Wonderful skill from Kranjcar. You can see the threat
right away of the full backs. It could yet be the worst of the
runners-up. And launched into the penalty area by Srna. He doesn't
think twice about delivering it into that area.
A lovely touch for Scott Brown. Naysmith. The intervention from
initially from Mandzukic made the difference.
It brings it back to Naysmith and just can't get it on target.
Martin. Looking for Bannan again. Scotland are certainly lacking
height when it comes to attacking. It is Croatia attacking just now.
This is a chance for Croatia. A tackle comes from Anya and
unfortunately for Scotland they had enough bodies back. One of those was
Hutton and he scoops it clear. I think Hanley and Mulgrew get
themselves in some mess. Hanley gets a flick on. Mulgrew tries to
recover. There is a severe lack of communication between the left
fullback and Hanley. It should have been 1-0 when you see that.
It is a good challenge. Mulgrew in the overlap. It does go to Charlie
Mulgrew. It is towards Snodgrass. He has done it again!
The hero from Southend is a hero and Scotland have stunned the Croats
again! And it is all about the quality from
chrly Mulgrew. -- Charlie Mulgrew. Mulgrew carries on his run. Naysmith
opens it up and waits for the overlap. Everything is exceptional
from Scotland. He attacks it. It is an excellent header. There is no
chance and Modric starts it deep and he can't defend after it, but we do
our bit, that's for sure! Isn't he happy?
Naysmith went down. The referee isn't going to give a free-kick, I
don't think. They are zipping the better now. They are looking for a
second goal. Anya. A safe option. Morrison. Naysmith. And the
woodwork. It would have been two 2-0. Mulgrew. What a vital pitch
that is because that's flying in the bottom corner. What a great save!
Pletikosa, the 34-year-old, down and low to make the save from Snodgrass.
Naysmith wins it again. Snodgrass. Barry Bannan. Can Morrison pick
someone out? He found Bannan again. Hutton. To Brown. He tried to work
it back out to Barry Bannan. It looked like it might fall for
Scotland there. There is a foul on Modric again. They look as if they
don't like being on the back foot, Croatia, especially when Scotland
get into wide areas and get the crosses in the box. You can see
there, we can get it in areas that hurt them. We just can't get our
final delivery on that occasion, but really good play all around.
It has been as well Scotland played at Hampden Park in a long time,
isn't it? Yeah, especially at home. It would be nice to finish off with
a win. At the start, Croatia were forcing us back and they have really
grown into the game. We look as if we can get right at them. The win is
not assured. The confidence has grown as the game went on.
A good turn by Kalinic. Kalinic just feeds it wide and Kalinic just runs
into the box. Vaouk Vukojevic wants it to end up in the net.
The Scotland fans who made the trip to the national stadium are very
happy with the way the game has gone.
This is a better build-up from Croatia.
As good as we have seen from Scotland at Hampden Park for a long,
long time as Robert Snodgrass heads up the tunnel having given Gordon
Strachan's team the lead. The header from the Mulgrew cross. It is
half-time at Hampden Park. It is Scotland one, Croatia nil.
Scotland looked reasonably comfortable so far. Croatia have
never beaten Scotland. Snodgrass and Hampden Park dreaming.
Well, it will feel like a result given the turmoil that went before
and they are on the offence early in the second half. Yeah, the pass and
he picks up a handball. It was Snodgrass firing it through.
He has been booked and that would mean he would miss the first leg of
Croatia's play-off. It is Bannan.
It is disappointing. There was plenty of power on it, but it is
always on the way up and can't get it down quickly enough. He won't be
taking a the next one, will he? He is note taking a. What would he have
had to say to his players at half-time? Just keep it going. Just
make sure we don't get murdered. Typical Brown. Anya. He picked out
Bannan. Anya and Snodgrass and Naysmith wait in the middle. He gets
it to Hutton and the challenge comes to Scotland and it will be the first
corner kick of the night. Morrison, that was the pass, but just delayed
that to Anya and that freed up Bannan. Both Croatian players go
from right to left, but it is a vital block against Hutton. Good
defending in the end. Barry Bannan to deliver. It looked like punch,
but he got away with it. That was a nervous moment because he was
embarrassed and I could see he was struggling a little bit. But he got
a bit of the ball and managed to knock it back. He has come along way
since that first-half against Wales here.
It is a free-kick. No matter what Brown says. Yeah, Brown is telling
him that your call got the free-kick. When you see that again,
Martin is showing his studs. It came through to McGregor from
Modric. We know he packs a punch. He has a good strike on him, but that
won't trouble McGregor. Hutton. That's Bannan. Al Anya, a little bit
of time to control. Looking for a Teammate. Morrison didn't catch it.
It is a descent cross in. It managed to slip it through. A real chance
for the leveller, but he can't take it. And just a touch too far. It
started by McGregor's poor kick out. Just a poor ball. He took it
probably a yard too far on his right foot as well and tried to force it
in at the angle. McGregor does just enough, but it is a good chance, but
it is not taken. There is that touch. It is really poor for
somebody of the quality of standards.
That is zipped in and flicked over by Mandzukic. He should be doing
better. Good pressure again from Hanley. Neigh smit has done a really
good job tonight. Snodgrass and finds Bannan. And a penalty. It is
the tricky Anya again brought down by Vida and Scotland have a chance
for a second goal! That was positive from Anya. There is nothing in the
ball. I think that's a penalty. The correct decision from the referee.
Better angle. No touch of the ball and takes Anya out. A clear penalty.
Well, well, well, the final 18 minutes of the game and Barry Bannan
who is yet to score for his country has the chance to do so from the
spot! What a moment for him!
He wunds tried to wrestle a spot kick off Darren Fletcher. Fletcher
overruled him. The spotlight, the limelight, firmly
on Barry Bannan now. And a chance for a second goal on the night. It
is saved, but it goes in. Steven Naismith with just his third
goal for his country might have just beaten Croatia in this campaign, a
horror campaign to end on the brightest of notes.
Bannan goes to his left. Naysmith gets off. Take nothing away from
that man. He is loving that. He certainly showed the instincts
there. He doesn't look too happy, but he will be delight. Scotland
lead the top seeds. If only this was the start of the campaign. Those two
horrible results against the Welsh coming home to roost. The ifs and
buts, of course, if it was two games the other way, Scotland would have
been in the mix for a play-off spot. Anya dragged the ball on to his left
foot. It almost fell to Naysmith again. It is swashbuckling out there
and the Scots are loving it. They are down to ten at the moment
because Anya is on the deck. Naysmith plays on. It was a great
tackle. They are going to find space. They are going to have to get
a goal back and really open up and that's going to leave them exposed
because you can see here. Snodgrass who scored earlier, he has a new
daughter as well. All thanks to that. Heading home the Mulgrew cross
and he got the winner against Croatia last time and he got the
first tonight and he is replaced by James McArthur.
A lovely ball. He is still smiling. It does look as though they are
heading for the play-offs. That's another foul on Stephen
Naysmith. I am not sure about that at all.
Hanley has been solid tonight. A sigh of relief. Naismith or Hutton
got the final touch on to that. We are into the final few minutes.
Ambitious. They will take that all night if that's all they can offer.
30 yards out. He did well to beat McGregor.
And towards Naysmith. Scotland are threatening to score again. He freed
himself up well tonight, Naysmith. A good ball in by Dorrans.
Modric. Another mistake from the Real Madrid man. Can they add some
gloss on to it? It doesn't look as if they can. Scotland were the first
nation knocked out, but they are a team in recovery. There is so many
green shoots just now. Finally, the 2014 World Cup qualification
campaign can be consigned to the history books. It will still be
remembered as one of the worst ones in that Scotland participated in.
There has been so many positives in Gordon Strachan's nine months.
Gordon Strachan will spend the next year preparing the players for the
2016 European qualifiers will be made in Nice on February, 23rd.
Naysmith knocking home the Barry Bannan penalty that was saved. The
headlines will make quite a reading for Gordon Strachan and his men
tomorrow. Scotland 2, Croatia nil. A fantastic result. Apologies for
the lack of sound at the start of the programme. You didn't miss much!
I am sure that sentiment was felt by the Scotland manager, Gordon
Strachan. He spoke to Alistair Lamont. I asked you beforehand what
it would mean to you to bring that home win to the fans. You have done
it. How does it feel? As a manager, you don't get too excited as the
players do. The players are enjoying themselves and rightly so. It is not
just what you have seen there, they have had to put a lot of work and
hours in the last few get togethers and this week it has been hard
training and we have decided that's what we have got to do. They can't
rest and hope they get better and they did things out there that they
have taken from the training ground and their ability and determination
made things we wanted happen. Guys, congratulations. Have you had a
better week? Yes. It started off stressful and stuff. The baby was
over due and different things like that and we cap it off with a goal
and I dedicate the goal to my daughter, she was just born, but the
main thing here was three points and delighted with that.
Stephen, it looks like Gordon Strachan seems to get the tactics
spot on? Yes, I think we have great quality of players in the squad and
we have had to believe that. We have had to gamble and play the forward
passes and get us further up the park and that's the biggest thing
the manager wanted us to do and the two performances against Croatia and
the other per fixed-termonses has shown us that. It is a building
progress so we will finish this campaign off brilliantly.
You are not getting carried away, but the passion of the fans will
think that having two wins over Croatia we can go on and achieve
something in euro 2016, can we? We have to deal with pressure of
winning games after not winning games. With he have done that. We
have dealt with that pressure. That's the hardest pressure. Now we
have to deal with expectation which is great. If you said to us about
five games ago, "When you play Croatia and you play the final game.
If the pressure then is expectation, we take it? Of course, we will take
it. Can this give us the confidence that the euro 2016 team can be a
prospect? Croatia are a great side and we have done well against them
at home and away. We are not going to get carried away. There is great
positives there. As Stephen says, we need to keep building and Gordon
Strachan is the man in place and he has got us in the right way.
And you have got to go home and change some nappies now? Yes!
Scotland fans are happy. Let's look at the other results from Group A.
This is how it looks. A good result for Wales away to Belgium.
Serbia thumped Macedonia 5-1. What does that mean for the final Group A
table? Belgium finish top of the group and Croatia, despite the
defeat in Glasgow this evening, our runners-up will go into the play-off
draw on Monday. The fear was Scotland that might finish bottom.
We have not. We are fourth ahead of Wales and Macedonia and that's
better news than we may have had otherwise.
A good result this evening, guys. Pat, was this the best Scotland
performance of the campaign? It got steadily better. It is a campaign of
two halves. It started badly, but nine points out of twelve and
against Croatia, they are a good side. People will say Croatia
weren't at their best, maybe they have not qualified, they are in the
second place. But I thought they played well and they hell on well.
We got the tactics right. Craig, how impressed were you by
Scotland? We were really good. We are going into this without a home
win the entire campaign and to get that mopgy off our back was a --
monkey ouf our back was an important thing. Our home performances haven't
been great. We have come across a system that seems to work and we
have got a great home result now. It was a descent start for Croatia.
In the 27th minute, a breakthrough for Scotland. How impressed were you
by the goal? I want to show you something. We play the ball forward.
They go forward. Look at where Anya is. He is chasing Srna. That's all
very well him doing that, but what are you going to do going forward?
You have created a big gap for us to break into. That is a great piece of
play. That is a perfect pass and you don't get a better cross there. And
I just think all in all, that's a brilliant goal and we were committed
to the game more and more at that point.
It seemed like a really classy moment of play this Craig? Yes,
everything about it was fantastic. We have the run on the defender and
Snodgrass and he is over the back of him as he is entitled to do. The
defender might be looking for his goalkeeper to come and give him a
hand out. It is beyond the middle of the goal. It is possible he could
have tried to get a hand on Matt and he stayed in his line and there is
only one place it is ending up and that's in the net.
A great header from Snodgrass and he is a new dad. Scotland had their
tails up and Snodgrass once again, Craig, could have made it 2-0 soon
after?after? It was Ades, excellent move. Being patient as well and
getting it wide and it does get put into the striker's feet. It is Scott
Brown who finds himself up there. He had Naysmith talking about being
positive going forward. The weight is perfect for Snodgrass to go and
hit first time. It is an excellent save to keep it out.
This little tap with Scott Brown, that's world-class. It doesn't look
like much, but that's world-class and by the way, it doesn't look bad.
That's a really sharp save by the goalkeeper. We will be talking about
another save from the penalty. First of all, I have to say, Pat, was it a
penalty for Scotland? I have to say when I saw it first, I didn't think
so. But the moment I watched it from the other angles, this is Anya, he
is attacking Srna and this angle shows you something. He put his body
between the ball and the player. Does he get a little bit of ball?
Maybe so. He gets the player as well. It gave us that opportunity.
What about this penalty? Was it a poor penalty from Bannan? It is good
height from a goalkeeper. The keeper has a chance of saving that. And he
has done. If you can get away it as a goalkeeper, you try and get away
with it. If we missed the rebound, we would be talking about that, but
it was great following up from Naysmith to be inside the six yard
box to tuck that away. Naysmith, he chased everything. He
held the ball brilliantly. He won more balls than the others. His
energy was fantastic. His attitude is the attitude you want Fred every
single -- from every single Scottish player. Look at Barry Bannan there.
That was a great moment. Does Naysmith have a future? 100%.
No worries at all putting him up. He holds the ball brilliantly. He is
willing to go beyond. He is a good goal scorer as well and he is
defending from the front. I thought he was superb and happy to be up
there. Anya? He goes with Srna and he runs
away from Srna. You are talking about a top, world-class fullback
here. Look at the ball here. He is left-back again. He saved us. That's
our winger. That's our flying winger. He kept on doing that time
and time again. Gordon Strachan has got in his head and what height is
he? Right in there. You are not asking him to do that. He is a
strong player? He is a strong player. But the defensive stuff, he
did it brilliantly. Going forwards... Going forward, he is a
threat. It was great work rate from him all night. He came off near the
end. He put in some amount of effort and going in both directions and we
were talking about perhaps he was a player against the teams you were
trying to break down. He can play against anybody and do the defensive
role as well as he can do the attacking role and here he is taking
a on the fullback. Is he with Scotland for the few? He is a great,
great fullback. He loses the ball, but he goes for it again. He has the
pace and the power to go for it again. He almost gets a corner. I
could not see one weakness in his game tonight.
Croatia have a tough time. Their coach has offered his resignation to
the Croatian FA. Has much changed with Scotland? The performances and
results have. It is hard to work out the discernible elements. What's
Strachan done that made us a better side? Well, Craig said to me
earlier, and he was spot on. What did they have to buy into? The work
rate has to be good and emp has to be in a group together and the
technical things, but the shape is important. At home, we have got one
man upfront, but it is everyone behind that. When you lose a ball
and you are not in possession, everyone has to do the right thing.
Look at it here. Freeze it here. There is five in the mid-field. Anya
is back there and so is Barry Bannan. How hard is it to get
through that five? Naysmith is creeping into the picture as well.
Naysmith would go and chase and you have ten out field players working,
chasing, closing down when they haven't got the ball and the
important thing is when you have got the park, be comfortable on it, hold
the ball. Believe in yourselves. It has to have that working together.
Gordon has got that happening in a very short period of time and he has
to keep it going. Yes, suddenly we are seeing green
shoots of recovery and Gordon Strachan doing great things. As we
look ahead to euro 2016, how hopeful are you? It is easy to get carried
away, of course, after a couple of good results? How hopeful should we
be? We should be hopeful. We are nine points from the last 12
available is a good place to start from. It will give us a lot of
confidence. This was a -- shot in the arm.
Robert Snodgrass gave us victory and we thought that things could get
better? With the new manager coming in, we knew we weren't going to
qualify. Once the pressure was off, we started to play a little bit.
From doing that, our confidence has come back and when we get on the
ball and pass it around like we did a few times in the first-half, we
created good opportunities going forward and the last few games as
well, we have been more solid at the back, but not just the back. The
compact mid-field to stop teams playing through the middle of us has
really helped us and we are looking like a descent international side
again. 24 teams will qualify for Europe
2016. That's almost half the team in Europe. Do you think Scotland will
be there? I hope so. We have to bring through as many players as we
can. He found a few players. Anya is important. I am trying not to go on
about it him all the time! He changed the dynamic. It is not just
about Anya. Anya came on the scene and made a difference. We might need
a few others as well. We might need some of the youngsters, the
Fletchers coming back would be handy, but maybe a couple of the
youngsters up at Dundee United. Get them coming through together and we
have got a chance going through, but yeah, working this play -- looking
at it like this, playing like that, yes. We have got this win tonight,
fantastic result, but until the qualifiers, it is all friendlies and
we won't be playing competitive matches until well into next year.
Is that something Gordon Strachan will need to work out how to tackle?
Yes, I think so. He will have time experimenting with who is going to
go into that campaign. That's a long time in football. There will be
injuries. There will be different players coming into t squad and
people's form will go up and down. There is time to build towards that,
but he will experiment with a few friendlies and get a few people in,
but he has a nucleus there of a good squad if he can keep everybody fit
and Scott Brown coming in for the second half of the campaign helped
in the mid-field area. If they can keep everybody fit and keep that
bunch together, we will give ourselves a good chance.
Which players would you like to see Gordon Strachan bring in
particularly? I heard Gordon talk about it early on in the week and
young players can look really good early on and the lads up at Dundee
United are young, but you can come through as well. Hibs have Harris.
These are boys that can come through, but it might take a couple
of years, but as long as we have got a production line, we can look in
the background and see they are coming through. None of us didn't
see Anya coming through. There might be two or three more that he can get
and get the best out of them. I am getting confidence in the changes
like putting Mulgrew beside Scott Brown. I didn't see that and it is
working great for Celtic and Scotland as well. But when he is not
needed and needed at fullback he can do that. The adaptability of the
players is fantastic as well, but our goal scorer, if Naysmith can
start scoring goals we are capable of doing it. Bring back Stephen
Fletcher. We are close, but we are trying hard not to get carried away
and Gordon will get angry with us if we do!
Let's get up-to-date with the results:
Let's start with the Group A. Who will go through to Brazil 2014?
In Group C, Germany and Sweden fought a real humdinger.
Sweden about go into the play-offs. In Group D, Holland are assured of
top spot. Romania leapfrog Turkey after they beat toes tonia --
Estonia. Is auto land are in second place
after they drew 1-1 with Norway. In Group F, Russia go through as
group winners. Portugal will have to make do with a play-off round.
In Group G, what a result for Bosnia -Herzegovina. Greece are into the
play-off draw. And finally, Group I, Spain were
winners over Georgia and France were winners over Finland. That means
that Spain the World Cup holders, of course, they go through to the World
Cup, Brazil 2014 automatically. France go into the play-off on
Monday, but they will not be seeded. Well, that's it in terms of Sports
Scene for this evening. But we are back soon. On Saturday, we are back
to premiership business. ??LINEBRE On Sunday, I'm back with
highlights of the week action at 10.25pm and on BBC One.
My pAntion to Pat -- thanks to Pat and Craig. That's it. The campaign
is over for the eighth tournament in a row Scotland will not be there,
but there are signs of improvement. France 1998 was our last major
tournament. Maybe France 2016 can be our next tournament. For the moment,
it is good night.
Scotland v Croatia
Highlights of tonight's match in Group A from Hampden as Scotland play their final qualifying match. After a disappointing start to the campaign which means the national side won't be going to the World Cup Finals in Brazil next summer, Scotland have produced some much improved performances and results under Gordon Strachan. In their last match, away to Macedonia last month, they produced a 3-2 victory which moved them off the bottom of the table. However Croatia should provide tough opposition, having already secured at least a play-off place in this group. But Scotland will be encouraged by the fact that they beat tonight's opponents in a famous 1-0 victory in Zagreb in June.
Commentary from Liam McLeod and Billy Dodds
Presented by Jonathan Sutherland with Pat Nevin and Craig Gordon.