Iceland Head Home From World Cup, Heartbroken But Unbowed

Gylfi Sigurdsson_cropped

Shaun Botterill Getty Images

After initially struggling to interrupt the pretty passing of a much-changed and already qualified Croatia team, Heimir Hallgrimsson's players, through the sheer force of will that has characterised their rise from obscurity to earn a place in the hearts of neutrals the world over, slowly began to make their presence felt.

Croatia looked more energetic at the start of the second spell and almost took the lead in the match in the 51st minute but Milan Badelj's rocket from outside the box crashed against the crossbar.

Croatia started with plenty of possession as Iceland sat back in the opening moments and Perisic might have headed home from a corner, only to be stifled by some smart defending from both Sverrir Ingi Ingason and Ragnar Sigurdsson.

We reckon they will take all three points tonight, but not by a clean sheet with Iceland expected to push for a win themselves.

"I don't think our tournament will end in the last 16 but for now we can only focus on Denmark".

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

Luka Modric led the Croats for 65 minutes before being substituted.

Croatia's Tin Jedvaj in action with Iceland's Hordur Magnusson.

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Croatia completed a ideal three-for-three first round and eliminated Iceland from the World Cup with a 2-1 victory in Rostov on Tuesday.

Croatia lock horns with Iceland in the last group D game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Croatia have been one of the most in-form teams in Russian Federation but Dalic would not entertain questions about their chances of winning the World Cup for the first time, but saying they did not feel inferior to anyone.

For all of Croatia's possessional dominance Dalic's charges offered little going forward in the first half and it was Iceland who grew into the game.

Bjarnason went closer when Lovre Kalinic flapped at a corner but somehow recovered to block his shot as the pressure mounted but Croatia held out.

Real Madrid's Mateo Kovacic came into the side, and in 82 minutes completed 78 of his 79 passes in a composed display, while former Tottenham defender Vedran Corluka was robust and completed a game-high nine clearances.

Iceland would surge, inspired by a noisy contingent of its countrymen, then Croatia would take the ball back and restore some calm.

There would be a final chance before the referee called things off for the halftime break, with Aron Gunnarsson curling what would have been a worldie towards goal from just inside the box in the second minute of stoppage time.

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