After Mascherano captained Argentina on Wednesday, tonight was the turn of Barça’s Spanish and Croatian internationals to feature in friendlies. There was bad news for the former, who were beaten 1-0 by France in Paris, but Croatia had few problems beating Cyprus 2-0.
In their first outing since the disappointing showing in Brazil, Vicente del Bosque picked an unfamiliar starting eleven that only included one Barça player, Sergio Buaquets, with Jordi Alba, Bartra and Pedro all on the bench. Despite dominating the French for most of the first half, the ball didn’t want to go in and after the break the home side took more of the initiative and started creating a stream of problems for Spain keeper De Gea. The only goal came after 72 minutes when substitute Rémy struck home with his left foot.
Spain looked considerably brighter after Pedro Rodríguez was sent on to join the attack, but although Alcácer and Silva came close to equalising, there was to be no further scoring.
Croatia also had a friendly tonight, against Cyprus, although Barça’s Ivan Rakitic was not involved. But Alen Halilovic of Barça B was on for the first 70 minutes of a game that his side won by a fairly comfortable 2-0. Both goals were the work of Atlético Madrid’s Mario Mandzukic.