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Croatia advance with win against Iceland

30 Juin 2018

The two sides were placed in the same qualification group and that time it was Iceland which managed to leapfrog the Croatians to clinch the automatic qualification berth.

The Vatreni held the lion's share of possession in the areas opening 15 minutes but they were unable to threaten the Iceland goal.

That forced Iceland to chase the game and they hit the bar through Sverrir Ingason before Gylfi Sigurdsson won a penalty through a Dejan Lovren handball and converted it to level.

Iceland's Gylfi Sigurdsson challenges Croatia's Mateo Kovacic.

With three wins out of three in Group D, "the focus now moves to the Denmark game, it will be a moment of truth", he said. One of the beauties of the lovely game is the number of different ways it can be played. "I couldn't have been more proud".

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Croatia showed the same quick and precise passing that they did in the 3-0 victory over Argentina forcing Iceland to camp in their own half.

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.

Croatia, which had already qualified for the next round before Tuesday's match, took the full nine points in the group stage.

Bjarnason, harrying Pjaca from behind, gets a flailing arm in the face and goes down, bleeding.

"It's actually a disadvantage for us, it's unusual to say it but now we have players coming in who are still at the highest level, all motivated players who want to punch themselves into their first team", he said.

Croatia are hoping to emulate the previous golden generation of players who reached the World Cup semi-finals in France 20 years ago. Six Croatia players picked up yellow cards in first two matches, including Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic.

Regardless of the late drama in the first period, it was Croatia who came out on the front foot in the second period and Badelj might have opened the scoring when he saw his effort from range deflected onto the crossbar with Hannes Thor Halldorsson beaten.

As bats fluttered overhead, Iceland fans stood and clapped and were greeted by both teams.

Croatia advance with win against Iceland