The Croatian national team, who finished third in the 1998 World Cup, have finished top of Group D after beating Iceland 2-1 in Rostov-on-Don.
Former Hamburg Bundesliga player Milan Badelj fired Croatia into the lead after 53 minutes, before Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised for Iceland (76’ pen.). Ivan Persisic made sure that Croatia made it three wins from three at this World Cup, scoring the winning goal. “We believe in ourselves and we make it happen,” says Badelj. “We won with a changed team and that proves how strong our squad is. That’s something we can be very proud of.” Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson says: “We’re disappointed, but I couldn’t be prouder of my players. We never gave up and we showed real character.”
“The Blazers” will play the second-placed team in Group C, Denmark, in the round of 16 on 1st July (KO 20:00 CEST) in Nizhny Novgorod.