Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018: Win or bust for Iceland against Croatia
Jun 27 2018
Croatia emerged from their third match at Russian Federation 2018 with their 100% record intact, as two second half goals canceled out an Icelandic penalty sends them into the knockout stages as Group D winners.
But Iceland got one back on a penalty kick in the 76th minute, as Croatia conceded for the first time in Russian Federation 2018.
Sent into space on the left of the area the Inter Milan winger blasted a shot that ended both the game and Iceland'sWorld Cup and put Croatia through to a match against the Danes in Nizhny Novogrod on Sunday. Iceland has a single point, earned in a draw vs. Argentina, and will hope that Nigeria doesn't beat the struggling South American side.
"We did everything we could, if you do that you can't be disappointed, we can look each other in the eye and can carry our heads high", said Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson afterwards.
He was one of nine players drafted into the Croatia XI after Thursday's win against Argentina, but one wouldn't have suspected there were so many alterations based on the sustained quality of their play.
"The players showed what they're all about, we had chance to progress till the dying minutes".
"If Croatia had been in another situation nobody would have minded so we're going to do just that: mind our own business", he added, refusing to give a hint on his starting 11 - notably whether key playmaker Luka Modric would be rested.
After a quiet opening with little action, Iceland started to gain control and apply pressure.
Croatia had its first clear chance when Milan Badelj's missile crashed onto the bar six minutes into the second half.
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.
Iceland had to claim their first ever World Cup victory to have a chance of advancing and, urged on by fans chanting their famous Viking thunderclap, nearly equalised immediately.
The Iceland defender Sverrir Ingason almost scored twice just moments later, heading just over and then again off the crossbar.
They were rewarded in the 76th minute when second-half substitute Dejan Lovren handled the ball and Sigurdsson rifled the resulting penalty into the roof of the net.