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Iceland 1 Croatia 2: Perisic strikes late on to secure maximum points

30 June, 2018, 16:39 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Gylfi Sigurdsson_cropped

Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic put out a much-changed 11 against Iceland, with qualification already assured.

With Five minuets remaining in the half, Iceland had another go at Kalinic's goal as Alfred Finnbogason's effort from distance sailed inches wide of the upright.

Milan Badelj scored only his second goal for Croatia, with this his first since scoring against Malta in September 2011 during qualifying for Euro 2012.

If there is a World Cup afterlife for those who performed heroic deeds in a losing cause, Sverrir Ingi Ingason will deserve his place in the FIFA-sponsored equivalent of Valhalla, having forced Lovre Kalinic to tip one header over the bar, before crashing a second against the woodwork a minute later.

After a couple of half chances, Iceland drew level in the 74th minute when they were awarded a penalty after was adjudged to have handled in the box.

Zlatko Dalic's side enhanced their status as one of the form teams in the World Cup, as goals from Milan Badelj and Ivan Perisic proved enough to dispatch a risky Iceland side. The goal does not change the group standings but does mean that, if Argentina and Iceland both win 2-1, Iceland are through.

Croatia won 9 points, placing the country at the top of the group.

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The defending champions were sent packing after just one win from their three Group E games, as Sweden and Mexico qualifying for the knockout stages instead.

Iceland vs Croatia match of Group C will be telecast on Sony Ten 2/Sony Ten 2 HD (English), Sony Ten 3/Sony Ten 3 HD (Hindi) and Sony ESPN (Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu) TV channels.

A Nigeria draw or loss opens the door for Iceland, which must win and win any potential tiebreaker with Nigeria (in the event of a draw in the other Group D match) or Argentina (in the event of a win over Nigeria).

Hallgrimsson was the head coach's assistant at the Euros, but took the helm to lead the tiny island nation to its first World Cup after 14 failed attempts.

As the first half progressed it was the Icelanders who looked increasingly risky. Gudmundsson hits it towards goal after a scramble.

Ultimately, however, Iceland were unable to produce the required quality in the closing moments to force a fairytale finish, as Croatia caught them on the break through Perisic, who rounded his marker to send an exquisite finish past Halldorsson to confirm top spot in the group.

Real Madrid's Mateo Kovacic came into the side, and in 82 minutes completed 78 of his 79 passes in a composed display, while former Tottenham defender Vedran Corluka was robust and completed a game-high nine clearances.


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