Lovren's Croatia through to World Cup last 16 as group winners
02:37, Jun 27, 2018
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They began their campaign brightly with a 1-1 draw against Lionel Messi's Argentina but that would be their only point as they finished bottom of Group D.
"There is too much quality in Croatia", Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said.
Buoyed by the cacophonic "Viking Thunder Clap" from the crowd, Iceland poured forward in search of the goal which would see them through into the knockout stages but it was Croatia who would laugh last, as Ivan Perisic stole in to break Icelandic hearts as the game moved into stoppage time.
The victor of Group D will play the runner-up in Group C, while the runner-up in Group D will play the victor of Group C in the round of 16.
Dalic rested most of the side that thumped Argentina 3-0, with only captain Luka Modric and winger Perisic keeping their places. Croatia, with most players looking out of match form, were lucky to go into the break level at 0-0.
Fielding a side filled with reserves after already being assured of a spot in the round of 16, Croatia started to take control of the match in the second half.
On 25 minutes a trademark long throw from Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson was headed dangerously across the goalmouth by the industrious Magnusson. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Alfred Finnbogason are Iceland's most talented offensive players.
Milan Badelj, moments after hitting the bar, scored the opening goal in the 53rd minute.
The 29-year-old got his right foot over a deflected cross and fired a superb volley wide of Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson to give Croatia the lead. "We have showed we belong", he said. There is no special celebration, let's go further, step by step through the tournament.
Iceland reacted swiftly. Sverrir Ingason forced Kalinic into another spectacular save seconds before his header shaved the top of the bar.
Iceland was rewarded in the 76th minute when second-half substitute Dejan Lovren handled the ball and Sigurdsson rifled the resulting penalty into the roof of the net. Instead, the Croats will face Denmark on Sunday in Nizhny Novgorod and Argentina will take on France on Saturday in Kazan. But Ivan Perisic punished a defensive error to make it 2-1 at 90 minutes.
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