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National Teams > Men > A

4:1 on aggregate

Off to World Cup!
Croatia eases past

Off to World Cup! Croatia eases past Greece
photo by: HNS
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With a goalless draw in Piraeus, Croatia national football team booked a ticket for a tenth major competition final tournament, the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

GREECE - CROATIA 0:0 (0:0)
2018 FIFA World Cup play-offs, return leg.
Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus.

Referee: B. Kuipers (Netherlands)

Goals: -

Cautions: Tachtsidis (24') 

Croatia: Subašić, Strinić, Lovren, Vida, Vrsaljko, Brozović, Rakitić, Perišić (85' Rebić), Modrić (90+1' Mitrović), Mandžukić, N. Kalinić (78' Kramarić). Head coach: Z. Dalić.

Greece: Karnezis, Retsos, Manolas, Papastathopoulos, Torosidis, Tziolis, Tachtsidis, Zeca, Bakasetas (59' Gianniotas), Christodoulopoulos (59' Fortounis), Mitroglou (78' Pelkas). Head coach: M. Skibbe.

Following a promising 4:1 victory at Maksimir Stadium on Thursday, Croatia national football team held to a 0:0 draw away to Greece and achieved its objective, a place among the world's elite.

Croatia secured its fifth FIFA World Cup berth and tenth major competition final tournament, following the bronze medal in France '98 and group stage appearances in Japan/South Korea '02, Germany '06, and Brazil '14.

The Piraeus encounter, as expected, produced a tough, fighting match with significantly less scoring opportunities than the first leg. Papastathopoulos shot just wide on 17 minutes, with Rakitić and Perišić responding with efforts from the edge of the box. Subašić later intervened to stop a dangerous Greek move.

However, it was Perišić who provided the best chance of the half, hitting the woodwork on 42 minutes with a powerful effort from 20 metres.

The opening minutes of the second half produced more excitement on both sides, with Mitroglou's effort on 58 minutes being the most threatening.

Significantly, first Greek effort on target was recorded three minutes from time through Tachtsidis. Kramarić then tried to find the top Karnezis' corner, and nothing could endanger Croatia's World Cup dreams. 

On Sunday, Switzerland confirmed a World Cup ticket with a home goalless draw against Northern Ireland, after a 1:0 away win. In other European Qualifiers play-offs, Italy hosts Sweden on Monday, and Republic of Ireland host Denmark on Tuesday.

FIFA World Cup group stage draw is scheduled for 1 December in Moscow, with 32 teams to be drawn in eight groups.

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