Croatia Beat Iceland To Secure First Place In Group D

Milan Badelj hit a sweet half-volley for his side early in the second half, and Ivan Perisic struck in a 90th-minute victor for Croatia after Gylfi Sigurdsson had pulled Iceland level from the penalty spot.

Milan Badelj, moments after hitting the bar, scored the opening goal in the 53rd minute.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said Iceland showed "good character, discipline, and fight" but that even though his side were already through to the last 16, "only a win was satisfactory" for him.

Iceland have been eliminated from the World Cup after a 2-1 defeat against Croatia in their final Group D game.

A potential 2-1 win for the European team, combined with a 2-0 victory for the Argentines, will see both teams equal in every criteria.

Should they draw or lose then they definitely won't continue to the round of 16, no matter what happens when Croatia face Iceland.

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

"We have not played many games like this against a strong team like Croatia and created as many chances as we did", Hallgrimsson told reporters. We can look at each other in the eye and say we can carry our heads high.

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.

Iceland 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. But Ivan Perisic punished a defensive error to make it 2-1 at 90 minutes. In 2013, the two were pitted together in the playoff round of UEFA World Cup qualifying, with Croatia denying Iceland its first trip to the World Cup.

Iceland reacted swiftly. Sverrir Ingason forced Kalinic into another spectacular save seconds before his header shaved the top of the bar.

"We did not look the best on the pitch today, but it's important to win on such occasions", said Perisic.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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