Paolo Nicolato’s side started in a more than positive fashion in Croatia as they were able to beat an opponent who are always tough for the Azzurrini to face. The match finished 2-0 with Zaniolo opening the scoring in the 30th minute before Empoli’s Marco Olivieri doubled the lead in the 77th minute with a fantastic goal. Nicolato’s side were able to control the match throughout but narrowly avoided giving up an equaliser in the 43rd minute as Croatia missed a penalty.
“The boys did well,” said the coach after the game. “But, we have the quality to improve quickly. We were in difficulty in the opening ten minutes. Our physical condition wasn’t brilliant considering that the players were taken from summer preparations. But we played good football and had lots of chances and we’ll need to learn to make the most of them.”