Belfast Telegraph

Scoreless draw enough for Croatia

Greece 0 Croatia 0 Croatia win 4-1 on aggregate

By Robert Jones

Croatia comfortably negotiated the second leg of their play-off tie against Greece with a goalless draw sealing their place at next summer's World Cup.

Leading 4-1 from the home leg in Croatia, Zlatko Dalic's team never got out of second gear - but then they did not need to against a Greece side who lacked ideas going forward and who took until the 86th minute to muster a shot on target. Greece were much improved and had plenty of possession but lacked the quality to do anything with it and pose a threat. Croatia seemed content to sit back and protect their three-goal lead.

Despite their advantage from the first leg Dalic named a strong team and made just one change, with Mario Mandzukic replacing Andrej Kramaric up front, while Greece boss Michael Skibbe swapped six players.

The hosts started the game at a quick tempo without ever troubling Croatia, who eventually managed to get their foot on the ball and slow the pace right down. Greece felt they should have had a penalty when Jose Carlos Zeca went down under the challenge of Ivan Strinic but the referee waved away appeals.

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