Without Ronaldo, Portugal draws with Modric's Croatia
Croatiaâs Luka Modric fights for the ball with Portugalâs Mario Rui, right, during the international friendly soccer match between Portugal and Croatia at the Algarve stadium, outside Faro, Portugal, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. (Armando Franca/Associated Press) September 6 at 5:36 PM
FARO, Portugal â" With Cristiano Ronaldo absent and Luka Modric in action, Portugal and Croatia drew 1-1 in a friendly Thursday.
In its first game since reaching the World Cup final, Croatia got on the board with forward Ivan Perisicâs goal and defender Pepe equalized before halftime.
The Portuguese had most of the scoring chances but could not break through the Croatian defense at Algarve Stadium in southern Portugal.
Coach Fernando Santos did not call up Ronaldo saying the player needed more rest following a busy summer that included a transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus.
Modric, a finalist with Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah for the FIFA player of the year award, was substituted in the second half.
Portugal was eliminated by Uruguay in the round of 16 of the World Cup. Croatia lost the final to France.
Defending European champion Portugal will make its UEFA Nations League debut against Italy on Monday. Croatia will open at Spain on Tuesday.
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