Ivan Perisic scored twice as Croatia continued preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a 2-1 victory over Mali on Saturday in an international friendly in Osijek, Croatia.
Perisic put Croatia ahead in the 16th minute, finishing from Ivan Rakitic's fine pass. He doubled the lead from close range in the 64th minute after Ivica Olic headed on a corner.
Kalilou Traore scored a consolation goal for Mali, converting from a corner 11 minutes from time.
Croatian midfielder Luka Modric, who played in the UEFA Champions League final last weekend with Real Madrid, started on the substitutes' bench and entered the match in the 74th minute.
Croatia used Saturday's friendly as a tune-up for the World Cup, which is set to begin in less than two weeks. After departing for Brazil, Niko Kovac's side will play the hosts in the tournament's opening match on June 12 in Sao Paulo.
As B/R's Aleksandar Holiga noted, Croatia's performance left room for improvement ahead of the showdown with Brazil:
2-1 FT. Only the 1st prep game and not exactly impressive, but it's OK. We could have seen and learned some positive things.— Aleksandar Holiga (@AlexHoliga) May 31, 2014
There are some problems as well, but I think we couldn't see much of our main issues as Mali are decent, but not strong enough.— Aleksandar Holiga (@AlexHoliga) May 31, 2014
Following the World Cup opener, Croatia will face potentially tricky matches against Cameroon and Mexico as they try to advance from Group A. Croatia went out in the group stage in 2002 and 2006 after a third-place finish in 1998 (they did not qualify in 2010).
Croatia's final pre-World Cup tune-up, against Australia, is scheduled for June 6 in Salvador, Brazil. Mali did not qualify for the World Cup.