Croatia finish top of Group H qualifying for the Qatar World Cup after a 1-0 victory in a winner-takes-all contest with Russia at the Stadion Poljud in Split. The hosts began the football match on the front foot, as Ivan Perisic tested the water early on for Croatia after cutting in from the left and seeing his effort saved by Matvei Safonov. Andrej Kramaric was next to come close when he met a cross from the right with a header that went straight at the Russian goalkeeper.
The one-way traffic continued, with Marcelo Brozovic reacting quickest to Safonov’s clearance and saw his resulting long-range effort go wide of the post. Dalić‘s team kept probing, and Perisic’s strike from Mario Pasalic’s cross missed the target. On the other hand, Russia seemed content to hold on for a point having failed to register a single goal attempt as the half time whistle was blown.
After the brea Kramaric took advantage of the wet conditions, as the flooded surface held up the ball for him to strike an effort over the bar. The hosts continued to press. With 15 minutes remaining on the clock, it was Vyacheslav Karavaev who had Russia’s first shot of the contest, but his angled attempt was saved by Ivo Grbic, who had not been involved in the action up until this point.
In the 81st minute, Valey Karpin’s men resilience was undone when Fedor Kudryashov sent the ball behind his own goalie in an attempt to clear a cross giving Croatia a decisive lead and their place in next year’s World Cup while Russia yet to face the knockout stage. Watch football highlights of Croatia win over Russia for the Qatar World Cup.
Croatia – Russia 1:0
Goals: Kudryashov 81’ (o.g.)
Malta – Slovakia 0:6
Goals: Rusnak 6’, 16, Duda 8’,69’,80’, De Marco 72’
Slovenia – Cyprus 2:1
Goals: Zajc 48’, Gnezda Cerin 84’ – Kakoulis 89’