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National Teams

Top of Group D

Three out of three:
Croatia to face
Denmark in Round of

Three out of three: Croatia to face Denmark in Round of 16
photo by: HNS
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Croatia national football team completed the 2018 FIFA World Cup group stage with a 2:1 over Iceland, a win that sends the Vatreni to face Denmark.

2018 FIFA World Cup, Group D.
Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don.

Referee: A. Mateu Lahoz (Spain)

Goals: 0:1 - Badelj (53'), 1:1 - G. Sigurdsson (76' - 11m), 1:2 - Perišić (90')

Cautions: Pjaca (14'), Hallfredsson (59'), Finnbogason (64'), Jedvaj (83'), Saevarsson (84')

Iceland: Halldorsson, Saevarsson, Ingason, R. Sigurdsson (70' Sigurdarson), Magnusson, Gunnarsson, Hallfredsson, G. Sigurdsson, J. Gudmundsson, Bjarnason (90' Traustason), Finnbogason (85' A. Gudmundsson). Head coach: H. Hallgrimsson.

Croatia: L. Kalinić, Pivarić, Ćaleta-Car, Ćorluka, Jedvaj, Badelj, Kovačić (81' Rakitić), Perišić, Modrić (65' Bradarić), Pjaca (70' Lovren), Kramarić. Head coach: Z. Dalić. 

In the third, final 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D match, Croatia defeated Iceland 2:1, securing the top spot and booking a Round of 16 date with Denmark.

However, it was Iceland who came close to taking the lead in the closing minutes of the first half. Magnusson, Sigurdsson, Bjarnasson, Finnbogason, and Gunnarsson all threatened Croatia defence, but the lack of finishing touch - combined with Croatia's defensive effort and quality performance of goalie L. Kalinić - it was still goalless at the break.

It was Badelj who took control of things when the play resumed. On 51 minutes, his great shot landed on the crossbar, and only two minutes later he capitalized on the Pivarić's move on the left side of the box.

Still, Iceland kept pushing forward. Ingason responded with a crossbar hit of his own, with the equalizer coming on 76 minutes. Lovren's handball gave Iceland a chance from the penalty spot, and G. Sigurdsson did not make a mistake.

In the exciting finale, Perišić and Rakitić nearly found the net from their free-kick efforts, and it was finally Perišić who scored the winning goal. Man of the match, Badelj, took possession and passed the ball to Perišić, who hit it with force for more Croatian celebrations.

Croatia will seek quarterfinals berth on 1 July in Nizhny Novgorod. The match against Denmark starts at 20:00 CET.

SP 2018., Group D:
1. Croatia 9
2. Argentina 4
3. Nigeria 3
4. Iceland 1

WC 2018. - group stage, 26.06.2018.. Spectators: 43472
Referees: Antonio Mateu (ESP), Pau Cebrian (ESP), Roberto Diaz (ESP)
Fourth referee: John Pitti (PAN)
1Hannes Halldorsson12Lovre Kalinić
2BIrkir Saevarsson
9Andrej Kramarić
5Sverrir Ingason10Luka Modrić
6Ragnar Sigurdsson
8Mateo Kovačić
7Johann Gudmundsson5Vedran Ćorluka
8BIrkir Bjarnason
15Duje Ćaleta-Car
10Gylfi Sigurdsson
13Tin Jedvaj
11Alfred Finnbogason
20Marko Pjaca
17Aron Gunnarsson22Josip Pivarić
18Hordur Magnusson4Ivan Perišić
20Emil Hallfredsson
19Milan Badelj
12Frederik Schram1Dominik Livaković
13Runar Runarsson23Danijel Subašić
3Samuel Fridjonsson14Filip Bradarić
4Albert Gudmundsson
7Ivan Rakitić
9Bjorn Sigurdarson
2Šime Vrsaljko
14Kari Arnason6Dejan Lovren
15Holmar Eyjolfsson18Ante Rebić
16Olafur Skulason3Ivan Strinić
19Rurik Gislason17Mario Mandžukić
21Arnor Traustason
21Domagoj Vida
22Jon Bodvarsson11Marcelo Brozović
23Ari Skulason
Heimir HallgrimssonZlatko Dalić

On the eve of the Iceland encounter in Rostov-on-Don, Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić and midfielder Milan Badelj held a press conference.

Zlatko Dalić

"Croatia prepares for Iceland in the same way it prepared for Nigeria and Argentina. We came here to win, without conceding a goal, and win three points to confirm that we deserve top of the table. I'll take care of my team, avoiding what others think or write. This is Croatia national team, regardless of the starting lineup, and we can achieve a positive result. Croatia will stick to its style of play - we know everything about Iceland, and vice versa, and we know what has to be done. We need to defend long balls and set-pieces, and seek possession. A compact defense will allow us to attack. We respect Iceland, especially since they've beaten us in qualifiers, sending us to the play-offs. This is, however, a new match, and now we must fight and present our quality, despite securing second round berth. 

"It is difficult to compare this generation with our bronze-winning team in 1998, since football has significantly changed. Still, we have excellent players, a lot of potential, and we would like to repeat that success. These are nice memories for us, and we would like at least to come close to third place. Regarding our possible opponent in the Round of 16, we will probably not be able to choose - and even if we did, we wouldn't do it. This was not even discussed"

Milan Badelj

"Every team has to look a few steps in advance, and it is our right to prepare the match in the best possible way. We have to stay focused on our next opponent, Iceland, that is the only proper path. I believe this team can go far, since we are calm, experienced, and aware of our strength. However, we need to continue playing like this. We are familiar with the Icelandic team, and they know us very well. I am looking forward to this match, and hope to find a way to win, and make amends for the Reykjavik defeat. We are aware of our fans' support, how they dream of success, just as we do. This gives us extra strength, and a big thank you goes to everyone who loves Croatia national team so passionately"

foto: HNS