HomeEuro 2024Albania Stuns Croatia with Dramatic Late Equaliser at EURO 2024

Albania Stuns Croatia with Dramatic Late Equaliser at EURO 2024

Albania’s Dramatic Equaliser Denies Croatia in EURO 2024 Thriller

Late Drama in Hamburg

Albania scored a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser to deny Croatia a victory that severely dents the 2018 World Cup finalists’ hopes of reaching the knockout stage of EURO 2024. In a chaotic yet captivating finale, Klaus Gjasula side-footed home in the 95th minute, sending the Albanian supporters into rapturous celebration.

The game seemed destined for heartbreak for Albania, who had let slip an early lead. Qazim Laci struck in the 11th minute, and his side then defended resolutely for over an hour, seemingly on the verge of a significant upset. However, Croatia staged a comeback at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion. Former Leicester forward Andrej Kramaric equalised, and shortly after, Luka Sucic’s shot rebounded off Gjasula into the Albania net.

Yet, Gjasula’s late strike means Croatia must now defeat defending champions Italy in their final Group B game to have any hope of progressing. Albania, facing a tough test against Spain next, will remember this performance and result for years to come.

Albania’s No-Fear Approach Pays Off

The EURO 2024 tournament has delivered some highly entertaining matches, and this clash between Albania and Croatia ranks among the best. Albania’s fearless approach and determination have been evident throughout their campaign in Germany, demonstrating they are not merely there to make up the numbers.

This is Albania’s second appearance at a European Championship, following their debut in 2016. Their fans have fully embraced the experience, bringing vibrant energy and support. Before kick-off in Hamburg, supporters packed the harbourfront walkways, and their vocal presence in the stadium was unwavering throughout the game.

The players mirrored this energy, employing a fast-paced, counter-attacking style that left Croatia unsettled. Albania’s 1-0 lead at half-time was thoroughly deserved. When Croatia scored twice to turn the tide, it must have felt like déjà vu for Albanian fans, reminiscent of their defeat to Italy in their opening match. However, unlike against Italy, Albania did not falter. They pushed hard for an equaliser in the closing stages, with Gjasula’s late goal a just reward for their perseverance.

Questions Over Croatia’s Future

Having finished as runners-up at the 2018 World Cup and reaching the semi-finals four years later, it seems unthinkable that Croatia could exit EURO 2024 at the group stage. Although drawn into a challenging group with Spain and Italy, Croatia would have targeted this match against Albania as a must-win to keep their knockout stage hopes alive.

Despite their talented squad, led by the iconic Luka Modric, many of Croatia’s key players are now over 30, and it appears age might be catching up with them. In this match, Croatia struggled to match Albania’s mobility and tempo. While their comeback was impressive, with some fortune from the own goal, they failed to maintain their advantage.

Instead of pressing their advantage, Croatia sat back, a decision that proved costly as Albania seized the opportunity to equalise dramatically. This result leaves Croatia facing a daunting task against Italy to salvage their EURO 2024 campaign.

Looking Ahead

Albania’s spirited performance against Croatia has undoubtedly lifted their fans and added to the excitement of EURO 2024. Their next challenge against Spain will be tough, but they have shown they can compete with Europe’s best.

For Croatia, the draw against Albania is a stark reminder that no game can be taken for granted. They must now regroup and deliver a stellar performance against Italy to keep their tournament hopes alive.

More News