Celtic right-back Josip Juranovic came out on top this evening as Croatia thumped Alistar Johnston’s Canada 4-1 in the FIFA World Cup, as the incoming Celtic singing’s country bow out of the tournament after two defeats from their opening two games.
It was a game eagerly watched by Celtic supporters as we got the chance to compare both Juranovic and Johnston, the man who will likely be his replacement, face off against each other in the same match.
Juranovic had an awful start to the game as he let Canadian powerhouse Alfonso Davies outjump him for the opening goal of the game just over a minute into the match.
He later tried to clear a ball over the top but completely misjudged the flight of the ball and ended up swiping clean air, leaving Celtic fans imagining the millions falling off his price tag as the game went on.
But thankfully, he shot his price right back up with an excellent assist for Croatia to equalise, as he made a blistering run forward as he got his revenge on Bayern Munich’s Alfonso Davies by outpacing him and playing a lovely ball into the path of Livaja to put Croatia 2-1 ahead.
In the second half Juranovic looked much more comfortable and didn’t have too much to contend with, but he did brilliantly cut out a pass that was putting lively Canadian attacker Buchanan through on goal with a last-ditch slide that he probably was not expected to get to.
Johnston had a mixed game himself at right-back for Canada, doing very well up against Ivan Perisic early on, stopping crosses and winning headers but he was arguably at fault for Livaja’s goal as he looked like he should have been picking him up.
In the second half as the game got stretched it seemed as though Johnston was getting caught out of position a bit more often as Canada pushed forward to try get a goal back, but that could also have been more of the manager’s fault as it appeared he seemed to be switching Johnston over to the left and into midfield at times.
Johnston has just turned 24 years old and it is a big step up for him playing at this level against players as good as Croatia have, but the experience will stand him in good stead and overall he played decently in my opinion.
Coming into Celtic and working under Ange Postecoglou will no doubt take his game on to another level.
Interestingly, the BBC commentator confirmed at the start of the match that Celtic have indeed agreed a fee with Johnston’s current MLS side Montreal, and with Canada now out of the tournament but having one remaining group stage game left to play, you would expect Celtic to announce the deal perhaps in the days after that final group stage match.