Brave Iceland sunk by late Croatia strike

Argentina v  s Nigeria

Argentina v s Nigeria

Perisic, with Luka Modric the only first-choice player 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. Croatia enters the round of 16 with tons of confidence as the victor of Group D over pre-tourney favorites Argentina.

Croatia kept its flawless record at the 2018 FIFA World Cup while sending Iceland home on Tuesday.

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

Iceland came close to leading before the break but Birkir Bjarnason had two shots from corners blocked, and Lovre Kalinic pulled off a fine flying save to keep out Aron Gunnarsson.

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.

Iceland made three changes from their defeat to Nigeria, with Johann Gudmundsson the most notable change back in midfield, replacing Rurik Gislason.




The Iceland defender Sverrir Ingason almost scored twice just moments later, heading just over and then again off the crossbar. "We know everything about Iceland and they know everything about us".

Iceland and Croatia have crossed paths plenty in recent years.

Ivan Perisic has scored three World Cup goals for Croatia - only Davor Suker (6) has scored more.

Midway through the period it was the Nordic side, who had beaten Croatia in qualifying for Russian Federation, who took control, threatening from set-pieces and interceptions.

Croatia lost 1-0 to Iceland in a World Cup qualifier and had to go through the playoffs to reach the finals so they will be taking nothing for granted despite speculation that coach Zlatko Dalic could field a second-string team.

Iceland might not be known for their passing but he showed his range of short and long deliveries all evening, enjoying the best pass completion rate of anyone in a white shirt (80.6%) - and the highest number of passes too (36).

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