Croatia 2-2 Albania
19th June 2024 – Euro 2024

Euro 2024 Group B: Croatia 2-2 Albania – A Thrilling Draw with Late Drama

Key Moments

  • 8′ – Qazim Laci heads Albania into a shock lead
  • 75′ – Andrej Kramaric equalizes for Croatia
  • 77′ – Klaus Gjasula scores an own goal, giving Croatia the lead
  • 90+5′ – Gjasula redeems himself with a dramatic equalizer

Group B Table After This Game


In a pulsating encounter at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion, Croatia and Albania played out a thrilling 2-2 draw that left both teams’ Euro 2024 hopes hanging in the balance. The match was a rollercoaster of emotions, featuring early Albanian dominance, a Croatian comeback, and a last-gasp equalizer that sent shockwaves through the tournament.

Albania, buoyed by their spirited performance against Italy in their opening match, started the game with unexpected confidence. Their early pressure paid off in the 8th minute when Qazim Laci ghosted in behind the Croatian defense to nod home a perfectly weighted cross, stunning the 2018 World Cup finalists.

Croatia, clearly rattled by the early setback, struggled to find their rhythm in the first half. The experienced midfield trio of Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, and Mateo Kovacic were uncharacteristically subdued, unable to dictate the tempo as they usually do. Albania’s disciplined defensive shape and quick counter-attacks kept the Croatians at bay, with the underdogs heading into halftime with a deserved lead.

The second half saw a different Croatia emerge from the tunnel. Coach Zlatko Dalic’s halftime adjustments, which included the introduction of Luka Sucic and Mario Pasalic, injected new life into the team. The Croatians began to dominate possession and create chances, with Andrej Kramaric particularly lively in attack.

The pressure finally told in the 75th minute when Kramaric, on his 33rd birthday, swept home a low cross to level the scores. The goal seemed to deflate the Albanians, and just two minutes later, Croatia took the lead in fortuitous circumstances. A cross from the right was deflected into his own net by Klaus Gjasula, leaving Albanian hearts broken.

However, the drama was far from over. As the clock ticked into the fifth minute of stoppage time, Albania launched one final attack. A low cross from the left found Gjasula, who had pushed forward in desperation. The midfielder, seeking redemption for his earlier error, side-footed the ball past Dominik Livakovic to spark wild celebrations among the Albanian players and fans.

The draw leaves both teams in a precarious position in Group B. With Spain and Italy looking strong, Croatia and Albania will need positive results in their final group matches to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

Player Ratings and Analysis


Dominik Livakovic (6/10): Made a couple of decent saves but could do little about either goal. Distribution was sometimes erratic.
Josip Juranovic (5/10): Struggled to contain Albania’s attacks down his flank and offered little going forward.
Josip Sutalo (5/10): Looked shaky at times and was partly at fault for Albania’s opener.
Josko Gvardiol (6/10): The best of Croatia’s defenders, made some crucial interventions but couldn’t prevent the late equalizer.
Ivan Perisic (7/10): A constant threat down the left, his crossing was a source of danger throughout.
Luka Modric (6/10): Not at his imperious best but grew into the game in the second half.
Marcelo Brozovic (5/10): Subbed at halftime after failing to impose himself on the midfield battle.
Mateo Kovacic (6/10): Showed flashes of his quality but struggled to consistently influence the game.
Lovro Majer (5/10): Anonymous in the first half and replaced at the break.
Bruno Petkovic (6/10): Held the ball up well at times but missed a good chance to score.
Andrej Kramaric (7/10): Croatia’s most dangerous attacker, took his goal well and was a constant threat.

Luka Sucic (7/10): Made a significant impact after coming on at halftime, adding energy to the midfield.
Mario Pasalic (6/10): Helped Croatia gain control in midfield after his introduction.
Ante Budimir (6/10): Provided a different option up front in the closing stages.


Thomas Strakosha (7/10): Made several important saves to keep Albania in the game.
Elseid Hysaj (6/10): Solid defensively but offered little going forward.
Ardian Ismajli (7/10): Commanding presence at the back, made several crucial interceptions.
Berat Djimsiti (6/10): Battled hard against Croatia’s attackers but caught out of position for the equalizer.
Ivan Balliu (6/10): Defended well for long periods but tired towards the end.
Ylber Ramadani (7/10): Energetic performance in midfield, breaking up Croatian attacks.
Kristjan Asllani (6/10): Showed flashes of his potential but struggled to consistently influence the game.
Qazim Laci (8/10): Scored the opening goal and was a constant threat with his runs from midfield.
Nedim Bajrami (6/10): Worked hard but couldn’t replicate his impact from the Italy game.
Sokol Cikalleshi (5/10): Isolated for long periods, struggled to make an impact.
Jasir Asani (6/10): Lively in the first half but faded as the game wore on.

Klaus Gjasula (7/10): A rollercoaster performance, scoring an own goal before netting the dramatic equalizer.
Taulant Seferi (6/10): Added fresh legs to the attack in the closing stages.
Mirlind Daku (N/A): Not on long enough to make a significant impact.

Tactical Analysis

Croatia started with their familiar 4-3-3 formation, relying on the experience and quality of their midfield trio to control the game. However, Albania’s compact 4-4-2 system effectively nullified Croatia’s creative hub in the first half. The Albanians pressed intelligently, forcing Croatia into errors and capitalizing on the space left behind when the fullbacks pushed forward.

Dalic’s halftime changes proved crucial. The introduction of Sucic and Pasalic allowed Croatia to overload the midfield, pushing Modric into a more advanced role where he could influence the game. This tactical shift, combined with increased pressing, pinned Albania back and led to the equalizer.

Albania’s coach, Sylvinho, deserves credit for his team’s resilient performance. Despite being under intense pressure in the second half, the Albanians maintained their shape and discipline. The decision to bring on Gjasula, despite his own goal, ultimately paid off with the midfielder’s late heroics.

Impact on the Group

This result leaves Group B finely poised. Spain and Italy, who face each other in the next round of matches, will be pleased to see points dropped by both Croatia and Albania. For Croatia, considered by many as dark horses for the tournament, this draw feels like a defeat. They now face a must-win game against Italy to have any chance of progressing.

Albania, on the other hand, will take heart from their performance against another heavyweight of European football. While their task of qualifying remains difficult, the belief gained from this result could be crucial when they face Spain in their final group game.


Q: What does this result mean for Croatia’s chances of qualifying?
A: Croatia’s qualification hopes have been severely dented. They will likely need to beat Italy in their final game and hope for favorable results elsewhere to progress.

Q: How significant is this result for Albania?
A: This is a historic result for Albania, earning a point against a recent World Cup finalist. It keeps their slim qualification hopes alive and showcases their improvement on the international stage.

Q: Who was the standout player of the match?
A: Qazim Laci of Albania was particularly impressive, scoring the opening goal and consistently troubling the Croatian midfield with his energy and movement.

Q: How will this result affect the dynamics of Group B?
A: The draw benefits Spain and Italy, who now have a clearer path to qualification. It sets up a crucial match between Croatia and Italy in the final group game.

Q: What tactical changes influenced the game?
A: Croatia’s halftime substitutions and shift to a more aggressive pressing game changed the momentum in the second half. Albania’s defensive discipline and quick counter-attacks were also key tactical elements.

Next Fixtures

Croatia: vs Italy (June 24, 2024)
Albania: vs Spain (June 24, 2024)

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