(E) Brazil draw with Croatia in Split, Croatia 2005
Brazil draw with Croatia in friendly
SPLIT, Croatia, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Croatia held Brazil to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday in a friendly dominated by the world champions.
The home side's early hard work paid off in the 32nd minute when CSKA Moscow forward Ivica Olic hit the post and Niko Kranjcar slotted in the rebound. Brazil hit back 10 minutes later when Ricardinho sent an 18-metre free kick into the top right-hand corner of the net. The South Americans went close to taking the lead in the 69th minute when Adriano struck the post. Adriano also went wide with a header, as did Ronaldo with a shot from the edge of the box. Both countries fielded their strongest possible teams as they warmed up for World Cup qualifiers in September. Brazil were only without Ronaldinho and Roque Junior, who are suspended for the tie with Chile on September 4. "It was evident that my players are not yet in their best condition. They are still lacking regular competitive rhythm. Taking all that into consideration, I think that a draw was a fair outcome," Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira told reporters. Croatia, who missed injured Rangers striker Dado Prso, top European Zone Group Eight with 16 points. They are one point ahead of Sweden and six ahead of Hungary. Croatia go to Iceland for their next qualifier on September 3 before meeting Malta four days later. Croatia coach Zlatko Kranjcar said: "We showed that we can compete with the best players in the world. "My team fulfilled the tasks I gave them and I'm convinced we can look forward to our coming World Cup qualifiers with optimism." Brazil have not lost to a European team since they were beaten 2-1 by Portugal in March 2003.