Croatia have been one of the strongest sides in the tournament so far having yet to face defeat as we come closer to conclude the group stages.
Though Iceland have impressed with their attacking-minded football in the last couple of years, their draw against Argentina has been the only highlight for their campaign.
Croatia were looking for three out of three wins in the group stage at the Rostov Arena as it would mean they would finish top of Group D.
With Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic in amazing form, The Croats were destined for a win against the Icemen.
The only thing they had to worry about was the passion of the home side as they came with 30,000 fans to support them in this tournament.
Both sides looked strong on the ball in the first half with Croatia looking to display their sorcery in midfield balanced by their captain Modric.
The skipper, Perisic and Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic all had solid chances upfront as they inched closer to a breakthrough.
Honestly, both sides were performing to the best of their abilities both in attack and defence.
For this reason only, the first half ended level as everyone was entertained by the sheer talent of both squads.
The Vatreni finally made a breakthrough in the 53rd minute after Milan Badelj smashed in a half volley into the Iceland net.
Having already smacked the crossbar before his goal, Badelj will thank Modric after for providing him the assist.
Iceland provided a swift response immediately after by bolstering the aggression in attack.
The home side’s top player this tournament, Birkir Bjarnason, had so many chances on goal and almost unnerved the Croatian defence.
In the 72nd minute the midfielder got a perfect chance to score six yards out as Alfreo Finnbogason fed him a low cross, but the ball didn’t connect properly.
Moments later, Iceland were awarded a penalty after Bjarnason’s cross hit Dejan Lovren’s arm.
The referee blew the whistle for handball and up came captain Gylfi Sigurdsson to take it from the spot.
The Icemen managed to equalise in the 76th minute as the game intensified.
In order to add more solidity in the midfield, Kovacic was replaced by Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, who many praise for his long shot ability.
In the dying minutes it seemed like the Croats would get their first draw of the tournament.
But in the 91st minute, Inter winger Perisic smashed the ball from the left corner of the Iceland box, delivering a solid victory for Croatia.
Five minutes of added time couldn’t do much as the Croats were through to the round of 16.
They will face Denmark on Sunday.
Source of Image: @FIFAWorldCup (Twitter)
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