Nathan Broadhead was Wales’ hero on his debut in Croatia as he rescued a point deep into injury time with a last-gasp equaliser. It was the only shot on target Wales managed in the entire game, and they were camped in their own half for the majority, but they pulled off a last minute raid to walk away with a point.
"I got a bit overwhelmed to be honest, a bit emotional,” the Ipswich Town striker said after the 1-1 draw.
"I've been waiting for this moment for so long. We needed a point, we came here to try and win but to get a point is good as well. We are made up."
Wales stayed in the game and Croatia simply could not kill them off, after Andrej Kramaric had given the hosts a first half lead. Wales rode their luck at times, but their dogged spirit that has defined them over the past decade has remained - even after Gareth Bale’s retirement.
Wales got away with one in the first half as Ivan Perisic turned the ball into the net, and they were only saved as the referee adjudged a Croatian player to have fouled somebody when jumping for a header. It was a soft foul, but Croatia wouldn’t be denied for long as Kramaric bundled his way through Neco Williams before finishing with the outside of his right foot - low past Danny Ward. It was a tremendous finish but the young Welshman will feel he shouldn’t have let Kramaric past him so easily in the build-up.
Modric hit a volley wide of the post and Wales didn’t have much to shout about, but they should have been level in the second half when Dan James missed a huge chance. Harry Wilson raced through and found a cross to the unmarked Fulham man at the back post, but he volleyed wide when he really should have scored.
Croatia came again. This time just inches from putting the game to bed. Luka Modric played a wonderful cross-field ball to Ivan Perisic and he hit it first time with his left-foot but the ball came crashing off the crossbar. It would have been one of the best goals of his career, yet instead he was denied by a lick of paint.
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Modric was just a joy to watch. He is simply so composed on the ball, his touch is perfect and his passing range was remarkable. He gave the Welsh midfield the run-around, but to their credit, Rob Page’s men managed to stay in the game as long as possible. And then they made it count.
Conor Roberts’ long throws had been a threat all night with no end product and then as the game ticked towards its conclusion, the visitors stole an unlikely point. Chris Mepham got his head onto the throw-in, and flicked it to the back post, where Broadhead had ghosted past statue-esque Croatians to poke home.
Ben Woodburn in September 2017 was the last Welshman to score on his international debut, until Broadhead produced that composed finish at the back post that sparked absolute bedlam for the 1,800 Welsh fans in attendance. Croatia finished third at the World Cup just three months ago and Wales went toe-to-toe with them, and stole a point.
That Welsh spirit. You just can’t beat it.