World Cup - Group D
Iceland1Croatia2

World Cup 2018: Iceland out after defeat by group winners Croatia

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Highlights: Iceland 1-2 Croatia

Iceland failed in their attempt to reach the World Cup knockout stage for the first time as Croatia secured a late win to top Group D on maximum points.

The Nordic nation knew they had to win to stand any chance of reaching the last 16, and their colourful support looked dejected as their side missed key chances late in the first half.

Alfred Finnbogason and Birkir Bjarnason both went close before the interval in Rostov-on-Don but Milan Badelj stylishly slammed home for Croatia after the break.

That forced Iceland to chase the game and, after Sverrir Ingason hit the bar, Gylfi Sigurdsson converted a penalty to level following Dejan Lovren's handball.

In the dying minutes, with Argentina leading Nigeria 2-1, Iceland knew a win would see them jump ahead of the South American side in second place.

But their attacks became less frequent as Croatia took more control and Ivan Perisic - one of only two players to retain his place from the win over Argentina - fired home in injury time.

His side now face Denmark in the last 16 on Sunday, a day after Argentina play France.

Spirited Iceland's missed chance

Croatia win Group D and have conceded just one goal in their three wins so far. Argentina came second, Nigeria third and Iceland bottom
Croatia win Group D and have conceded just one goal in their three wins so far

With a population of about 300,000, Iceland's achievement in becoming the smallest nation to reach the World Cup means their fans will travel home with a sense of pride, albeit tinged with disappointment.

They arrived in southern Russia knowing even a win may not be enough had Nigeria beaten Argentina, but the manner in which they missed chances at key moments - against a side that made nine changes - will perhaps feel like an opportunity wasted.

Heimir Hallgrimsson's side were the lowest scorers of the European sides who qualified automatically for the tournament, and a lack of end product undoubtedly proved key in their exit.

They had grown into the opening 45 minutes as a Croatia side showing little intent ended the period on the back foot despite having 65% possession.

Finnbogason side-footed into the side-netting from 18 yards, Bjarnason could only drive against the legs of keeper Lovre Kalinic and Aron Gunnarsson was denied by a one-handed save on the stroke of half-time.

Iceland's players found their family members in the crowd afterwards but the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson appeared dejected
Iceland's players found their family members in the crowd afterwards - and the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson appeared dejected

Badelj made them pay as, moments after rattling the bar from 30 yards, he powered a shot into the ground which flew into the net.

The instant fight shown epitomised the qualities which have endeared Iceland to so many, with Ingason forcing a save then planting another header onto the bar from the resulting corner.

Sigurdsson lifted home a penalty which Lovren had conceded with his first touch but Iceland - perhaps finally feeling the effects of long spells out of possession - succumbed to Perisic's powerful left-foot strike.

Croatia's fresh faces maintain momentum

Milan Badelj scores
Milan Badelj (left) drove the ball into the floor powerfully and it fizzed into the net for Croatia's opener

Croatia appear a side rejuvenated under Zlatko Dalic, who only took charge with one World Cup qualification match remaining.

His side were beaten to top spot in qualifying by Iceland but have not yet lost a competitive game under him, and this win - with a much-changed line-up - perhaps points to a confidence running through the squad.

Only Perisic and Luka Modric remained from the 3-0 win over Argentina, but players such as Fiorentina midfielder Badelj showcased the depth of talent.

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.

This was far from an intense or overly impressive display by the group winners, but they spent long spells keeping possession without ever looking like over-exerting themselves. Ultimately, the result only adds to their momentum.

They have now won three World Cup matches in a row for the first time and, in doing so, win a group at the tournament for the first time too.

Dalic says he is convinced the last 16 will not be the end for his side. They look set to arrive in Nizhny Novgorod for Sunday's meeting with Denmark fresh and dangerous.

Analysis - Could Croatia and their 'animal' win it?

Perisic fired his winner left footed across the keeper
Perisic fired his winner left-footed across the keeper

Former England and Man Utd defender Phil Neville: The teams underneath the top sides have relaxed and enjoyed the tournament. I can't see Argentina improving that much, Germany have problems in their camp, France have not impressed me.

It might be a World Cup when we have a Leicester City-type winner.

Croatia have probably been the best team in the competition. In terms of consistent performances they have been the best team in the competition. If Denmark play like they did today, I can't see them beating Croatia.

I like the style of play. They are solid at the back, the three in midfield control the game and Mario Mandzukic is an animal up front.

BBC Sport South American football expert Tim Vickery: What a midfield Croatia have. They are the team who could do serious damage. I saw them at Anfield when they played Brazil and in the first half Brazil couldn't get out of their own half.

Man of the match - Mateo Kovacic

In addition to completing 99% of his passes, Mateo Kovacic won four tackles - a high for Croatia. With 98 touches he saw more ball than anyone on the pitch and in a display in which Croatia were happy to keep the ball for long spells, his role was pivotal.
In addition to completing 99% of his passes, Mateo Kovacic won four tackles - a high for Croatia. With 98 touches he saw more ball than anyone on the pitch and, in a display in which Croatia were happy to keep the ball for long spells, his role was pivotal

'Waiting to show our power' - manager talk

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic: "We have three wins, nine points, with a goal difference of 7-1. That only goal we got was from the penalty, so we have to be happy.

"The first place was our goal, we did it. I am convinced that this game in the Round of 16 will not be our end, we are waiting for Sunday to show the true power, this is the day of truth for us."

Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson: "We have not played many games like this one, against a strong team like Croatia, and created so many chances so we are disappointed with that but I am proud of the performance and the character.

"We were unlucky today but we can carry our heads high and say we did everything we could."

Croatia like the second-half - the key stats

  • Ivan Perisic has scored three World Cup goals for Croatia - only Davor Suker (6) has scored more.
  • Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty for Iceland was the 17th scored at the 2018 World Cup, equalling the most penalties scored in a single World Cup tournament (also 17 in 1998).
  • Croatia scored with both of their shots on target in this match.
  • Sigurdsson became the second player to have scored a goal and missed a penalty at the 2018 World Cup, after Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Milan Badelj scored only his second goal for Croatia, with this his first since netting against Malta in September 2011 during qualifying for Euro 2012.
  • Of Croatia's last 11 goals at the World Cup, 10 have been scored in the second half.

Line-ups

Iceland

  • 1Halldórsson
  • 2SaevarssonBooked at 84mins
  • 5Ingason
  • 6R SigurdssonSubstituted forSigurdarsonat 71'minutes
  • 18Magnússon
  • 20HallfredssonBooked at 59mins
  • 17Gunnarsson
  • 7Berg Gudmundsson
  • 10G Sigurdsson
  • 8BjarnasonSubstituted forTraustasonat 90'minutes
  • 11FinnbogasonBooked at 64minsSubstituted forGudmundssonat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Fridjónsson
  • 4Gudmundsson
  • 9Sigurdarson
  • 12Schram
  • 13Rúnarsson
  • 14Árnason
  • 15Eyjólfsson
  • 16OI Skúlason
  • 19Gíslason
  • 21Traustason
  • 22Bödvarsson
  • 23AF Skúlason

Croatia

  • 12L Kalinic
  • 13JedvajBooked at 83mins
  • 5Corluka
  • 15Caleta-Car
  • 22Pivaric
  • 10ModricSubstituted forBradaricat 65'minutes
  • 19Badelj
  • 8KovacicSubstituted forRakiticat 82'minutes
  • 20PjacaBooked at 14minsSubstituted forLovrenat 69'minutes
  • 4Perisic
  • 9Kramaric

Substitutes

  • 1Livakovic
  • 2Vrsaljko
  • 3Strinic
  • 6Lovren
  • 7Rakitic
  • 11Brozovic
  • 14Bradaric
  • 17Mandzukic
  • 18Rebic
  • 21Vida
  • 23Subasic
Referee:
Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
Attendance:
43,472

Match Stats

Home TeamIcelandAway TeamCroatia
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home16
Away14
Shots on Target
Home6
Away2
Corners
Home10
Away5
Fouls
Home10
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Iceland 1, Croatia 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Iceland 1, Croatia 2.

Corner, Iceland. Conceded by Filip Bradaric.

Corner, Iceland. Conceded by Dejan Lovren.

Attempt missed. Aron Gunnarsson (Iceland) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Gylfi Sigurdsson with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Iceland. Conceded by Dejan Lovren.

Corner, Iceland. Conceded by Vedran Corluka.

Foul by Josip Pivaric (Croatia).

Albert Gudmundsson (Iceland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ivan Perisic.

Goal!

Goal! Iceland 1, Croatia 2. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Milan Badelj.

Substitution

Substitution, Iceland. Arnór Ingvi Traustason replaces Birkir Bjarnason.

Milan Badelj (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Björn Sigurdarson (Iceland).

Attempt missed. Andrej Kramaric (Croatia) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Milan Badelj.

Attempt missed. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Sverrir Ingi Ingason (Iceland).

Substitution

Substitution, Iceland. Albert Gudmundsson replaces Alfred Finnbogason.

Attempt missed. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

Booking

Birkir Már Saevarsson (Iceland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Ivan Perisic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Birkir Már Saevarsson (Iceland).

Booking

Tin Jedvaj (Croatia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Tin Jedvaj (Croatia).

Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Iceland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Dejan Lovren (Croatia) header from very close range misses to the left. Assisted by Ivan Rakitic with a cross following a corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Croatia. Ivan Rakitic replaces Mateo Kovacic.

Corner, Croatia. Conceded by Birkir Már Saevarsson.

Attempt saved. Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Iceland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Iceland 1, Croatia 1. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Iceland) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.

Penalty conceded by Dejan Lovren (Croatia) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

Offside, Croatia. Josip Pivaric tries a through ball, but Andrej Kramaric is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Josip Pivaric (Croatia) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Andrej Kramaric.

Attempt missed. Birkir Bjarnason (Iceland) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Alfred Finnbogason.

Offside, Iceland. Hördur Björgvin Magnússon tries a through ball, but Alfred Finnbogason is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Iceland. Björn Sigurdarson replaces Ragnar Sigurdsson.

Substitution

Substitution, Croatia. Dejan Lovren replaces Marko Pjaca because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Marko Pjaca (Croatia) because of an injury.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Uruguay33005059
2Russia32018446
3Saudi Arabia310227-53
4Egypt300326-40

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain31206515
2Portugal31205415
3Iran31112204
4Morocco301224-21

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France32103127
2Denmark31202115
3Peru31022203
4Australia301225-31

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia33007169
2Argentina311135-24
3Nigeria310234-13
4Iceland301225-31

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Brazil21103124
2Switzerland21103214
3Serbia21012203
4Costa Rica200203-30

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Mexico22003126
2Germany21012203
3Sweden21012203
4South Korea200213-20

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England22008266
2Belgium22008266
3Tunisia200237-40
4Panama200219-80

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Japan21104314
2Senegal21104314
3Colombia21014223
4Poland200215-40
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