FIFA World Cup

Croatia vs. Mali: Score, Report and Post-Match Reaction

ST GALLEN, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 05: Ivan Perisic of Croatia in action during the international friendly match between Switzerland and Croatia at the AFG Arena on March 5, 2014 in St Gallen, Switzerland.  (Photo by Marc Eich/Getty Images)
Marc Eich/Getty Images
Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterMay 31, 2014

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:

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. 

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