Brave Iceland sunk by late Croatia strike

A revamped but businesslike Croatia has topped its World Cup Group D as Ivan Perisic's last-gasp goal helped it maintain its flawless record with a 2-1 win that also ended Iceland's qualification hopes. Croatia enters the round of 16 with tons of confidence as the victor of Group D over pre-tourney favorites Argentina.

On the stroke of halftime, Aron Gunnarsson fired an angled shot that was bound for the top corner until Lovre Kalinic tipped it away.

Iceland and Croatia have crossed paths plenty in recent years.

Milan Badelj of Croatia celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Iceland. In 2013, the two were pitted together in the playoff round of UEFA World Cup qualifying, with Croatia denying Iceland its first trip to the World Cup.

On 73 minutes Bjarnason fluffed a close-range opportunity but Iceland's lifeline arrived a minute later when Dejan Lovren handled a cross by Sigurdsson in the penalty area.

The Iceland defender Sverrir Ingason almost scored twice just moments later, heading just over and then again off the crossbar.

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The Croatians, who outclassed Argentina with a 3-0 win, are through already and will top the group with a win or a draw against Iceland at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don.

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.

Iceland's Gylfi Sigurdsson became the second player to have scored and missed a penalty at the 2018 World Cup, after Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Midway through the period it was the Nordic side, who had beaten Croatia in qualifying for Russian Federation, who took control, threatening from set-pieces and interceptions.

After a quiet opening with little action, Iceland started to gain control and apply pressure.

With qualification assured, coach Zlatko Dalic fielded the youngest Croatia team at a World Cup, making nine changes from the team that beat Argentina on Thursday.

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