Minnows Iceland fall short of World Cup shock against Croatia

Minnows Iceland fall short of World Cup shock against Croatia

They finish three behind Argentina, who can plan for France, and behind group winners Croatia, who take a ideal record to meet Denmark in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday.

A revamped but businesslike Croatia topped their World Cup Group D as Ivan Perisic's last-gasp goal helped them maintain their flawless record with a 2-1 win that also ended valiant Iceland's tournament on Tuesday.

Milan Badelj scored only his second goal for Croatia, with this his first since scoring against Malta in September 2011 during qualifying for Euro 2012.

The Iceland defender Sverrir Ingason almost scored twice just moments later, heading just over and then again off the crossbar. Johann Berg Gudmundsson stole possession before trying to set Alfred Finnbogason away, only to be denied by an interception from Dulje Caleta-Car.

It's around this time, on the eve of the knockout stages, that theories are being formulated for who will impress moving on at the World Cup, and though England have garnered attention, it's Croatia who are the real lurkers in Russian Federation.

In the second half Croatia stepped up a level and Badelj struck the bar with a deflection.

The Croatians settled in well in the early stages, although they struggled to carve out chances in the final third.

Iceland have now lost five of their seven matches against Croatia (W1 D1).

Josip Pivaric moved down the left and his cross into the middle saw Badelj arriving late, leaving the midfielder to volley adroitly into the ground and past Halldorsson.

"I'm going to take a week or two to think about it just now. relax and sit down with the FA (Icelandic Football Association) in 10 days", Hallgrimsson said. Rakitic came close with a free-kick and Kramaric shot just wide from inside the box before Perisic scored the victor in the 90th minute with a left-foot shot past the Iceland keeper.

Unlike in their first two matches against Argentina and Nigeria where they were more solid at the back, it was Iceland who were on the front foot and had the best of the chances against the Croats.

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