Iceland sunk by late Croatian goal

Kristopher Nichols
June 27, 2018

Croatia had its first clear chance when Milan Badelj's missile crashed onto the bar six minutes into the second half.

And while Iceland returned to the 4-5-1 that worked against Argentina, they failed to challenge through much of the first half, with Croatia retaining 75 percent possession over the first 30 minutes.

Perisic, along with Luka Modric the only players not rested, struck in the last minute to confirm their last-16 clash with Denmark after Milan Badelj's second-half goal had been cancelled out by Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty. A Nigeria win would send the Icelanders and Argentinians both home.

Croatia topped Group D with three wins.

After a quiet opening with little action, Iceland started to gain control and apply pressure. "We have not played many games like this against a strong team like Croatia and created as many chances as we did", he said.

Iceland and Croatia were in the same qualifying group for the World Cup and landed in the same group at the World Cup. Dalic took off captain Modric and Marko Pjaca limped off as Iceland starting to press for an equaliser. Sigurdsson made no mistake from the spot.

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The smallest nation by population ever to qualify for the tournament, Iceland's giant-killing performances in Euro 2016 sent an early warning that they would not be in Russian Federation just to make up the numbers.

Both sides pushed for a victor with Dalic introducing Rakitic for Kovacic.

Five minutes before the break, Alfred Finnbogason played a one-two with Sigurdsson, but his shot from just inside the box went wide.

Nothing less than a win will do for Iceland against Croatia if they are to emulate their Euro 2016 success by making it to the knockout stage at their first World Cup, but it will be a tall order against a familiar foe that leads Group D. It was a deserved win in the end but it was not easy.

"We gave the squad a chance to play in the World Cup but from this moment on the group stage is over, we have done our job", he said.

GOALS: Badelj 53′, Sigurdsson 71′ (P) Perisic 90′.

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