World Cup debutants Iceland proved they can compete against the top teams and will depart Russian Federation with their heads held high even if they failed to win a single game, Hallgrimsson said after the match. They finish three behind Argentina, who can plan for France, and behind group winners Croatia, who take a flawless record to meet Denmark in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday.
While most eyes were on Argentina and their do-or-die match with Nigeria in Saint Petersburg, Croatia wrapped up top spot in Group D in Rostov-on-Don thanks to a slick second-half volley by Milan Badelj and a late strike by Ivan Perisic, sandwiching a penalty equaliser by Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Milan Badelj hit a sweet half-volley for his side early in the second half, and Ivan Perisic struck in a 90th-minute victor for Croatia after Gylfi Sigurdsson had pulled Iceland level from the penalty spot.
Milan Badelj of Croatia celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Iceland.
A revamped but businesslike Croatia topped their World Cup group as Ivan Perisic's 90th-minute goal helped them maintain their ideal record with a 2-1 win on Tuesday that also ended Iceland's qualification hopes.
Iceland challenged almost immediately, with a first headers by Ingason tipped over the crossbar by Kalinic and a second glancing off of it. Johann Berg Gudmundsson stole possession before trying to set Alfred Finnbogason away, only to be denied by an interception from Dulje Caleta-Car.
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He was one of nine players drafted into the Croatia XI after Thursday's win against Argentina, but one wouldn't have suspected there were so many alterations based on the sustained quality of their play.
After a quiet opening with little action, Iceland started to gain control and apply pressure.
The match was evenly poised in the final 10 minutes of the first half, but chances were few and far between for both nations.
Heimir Hallgrimsson's men were pressurising the Croatians in the final five minutes as they went in search of another goal. Rakitic came close with a free-kick and Kramaric shot just wide from inside the box before Perisic scored the victor in the 90th minute with a left-foot shot past the Iceland keeper.
The referee pointed straight to the spot with no VAR required and the Everton midfielder soon stepped up to rifle into the roof of the net and draw Iceland level in the 76th minute.