European Qualifiers: Last Minute Goal Brings Iceland Victory Over Croatia

Daniela Rogulj

A last-minute goal gave Iceland the win against Croatia in tonight’s European Qualifying match for World Cup 2018.

Croatia suffered a shocking defeat this evening in the 6th round Group 1 European Qualifier for World Cup 2018 against Iceland. The game, which was played in Reykjavik, ended 1:0 for the home team. 

The first defeat for Croatia in the European Qualifiers, it was evident that a long club season affected many of the starting eleven. While Croatia was without national team regulars Danijel Subašić, Šime Vrsaljko, Vedran Ćorluka and Ivan Rakitić, Champions League winners Luka Modrić and Mateo Kovačić were meant to lead the team to a win; however, the performance overall was not one we’d like to remember. 

The first half was relatively equal, with no real opportunities for either side. Croatia had their first chance to take the lead in the 8th minute when Modrić connected with Perišić, forcing the ball into the penalty area. Unfortunately, after a cross from Perišić, Mandžukić was unable to capitalize for the goal. 

Croatia had their best opportunity in the 55th minute when Perišić crossed the ball to Nikola Kalinić who shot just wide of the post. Minutes later, Kalinić left the game and Brozović entered – the hero of Croatia’s first encounter with Iceland in the qualifications after he scored two goals for a Croatia win. While a dangerous shot from Brozović in the 66th minute had us holding onto hope, Iceland kept pressing, leaving Croatia little room to play their game.

After a brilliant intervention from goalkeeper Lovre Kalinić in the 89th minute, Iceland’s Hordur Magnusson sealed the victory for the home team with a last minute header off a corner kick. The game ended 1:0 for Iceland. 

We’re not quite sure what exactly went wrong in tonight’s match, but it is safe to assume that a combination of tired legs, lack of direction, and poor use of substitutions had something to do with it. For a world-class starting eleven and a bench that has proven themselves in some of Europe’s best clubs, what happened?

After tonight’s results, Croatia and Iceland stand at the top of the Group I table with 13 points each. Turkey and Ukraine have both secured 11, and Finland and Kosovo both have one. 

This was the sixth meeting between Croatia and Iceland and the first defeat for our Croatian side. In the five previous meetings, Croatia claimed four wins and one draw. 


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment