2-1! Croatia Beat Iceland, Win Group D FIFA World Cup

by Samuel Abasi Posted on June 26th, 2018

Croatia and Argentina both advance to the knockout rounds, with Croatia topping Group D, after Croatia beat Iceland 2-1 in their FIFA World Cup preliminary round football (soccer) match at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don, Russia on Tuesday. Nigeria and Iceland are eliminated after Nigeria lost by the same scoreline to Argentina in St. Petersburg today.

For the first time in history, Croatia won their third game at a World Cup. They started really well, dominating the ball and their confidence was showing. Terrific goals from Milan Badelj and Ivan Perisic secured another three points and Dalic’s plan succeeded.

Iceland is eliminated despite spirited display in loss to Croatia in Rostov. Croatia emerged from their third match at Russia 2018 with their 100% record intact, as two second half goals canceled out an Icelandic penalty sends them into the knockout stages as Group D winners.

Zlatko Dalic’s side enhanced their status as one of the form teams in the World Cup, as goals from Milan Badelj and Ivan Perisic proved enough to dispatch a dangerous Iceland side.

A 76th minute penalty from Gylfi Sigurdsson, cooly dispatched into the roof of the net as if a riposte to the crucial spot kick miss against Nigeria last Friday, looked to have secured a point for Iceland before Ivan Perisic’s late strike sucked any remaining wind from the Icelandic sails.

“I’m happy to score a goal, but it’s not important that my name is on the scoreboard, it’s important that Croatia win and go on. We did not look the best in the field today, but it’s important to win on such occasions. Denmark are strong. We need to play much better if we want to go to the quarter-finals.” Ivan Perisic said in reference to his late goal at the post game presser.

“Our goal is achieved. We are top of the group and we are ready to compete in the second round of the World Cup. Now we can concentrate on preparations for the knockout stage. This is a big new win for Croatia. There is no special celebration, let’s go further, step by step through the tournament.” Milan Badelj, Man of the Match, said

“We have three wins, nine points, with a goal difference of 7-1. That only goal we got was from the penalty, so we have to be happy. The first place was our goal, we did it. I am convinced that this game in the Round of 16 will not be our end, we are waiting for Sunday to show the true power, this is the day of truth for us.” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said.

The Croats are through to the Round of 16, where they will face fellow European contenders Denmark. The game will take place at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Sunday 1 July.

In the other Group D game today. Argentina edged Nigeria 2-1 in their FIFA World Cup preliminary round football (soccer) match at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia on Tuesday.

Messi scored an exquisite 14th-minute goal to give the two-time champions the lead Tuesday, but it wasn’t until Marcos Rojo’s 86th-minute strike that Argentina was assured of a place in the round of 16.

Victor Moses scored a penalty in the 51st minute for Nigeria after Javier Mascherano brought down Leon Balogun.

It took an unlikely goal by Rojo to save Argentina and give it second place in Group D.  With just four minutes left Marcos Rojo volleyed home the winner from Gabriel Mercado’s cross to send Jorge Sampaoli’s team through. After striking the winner against Nigeria four years ago this is a repeat for Rojo. He inflicted Nigeria’s fifth World Cup defeat from five meetings with Argentina, all by a solitary goal.

The dream was so close and Nigeria showed amazing fighting spirit. After a difficult first half the team played a great second half and had two good chances to take the lead. The young players can be proud of themselves.

Argentina finish as runners-up to play France on Saturday in Kazan, a day before Croatia take on Denmark. Nigeria end third, on three points, ahead of Iceland, on one.

A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.

The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14.  The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The  11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

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