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Croatia squad celebrates the World Cup berth.
Croatia squad celebrates the World Cup berth.

Tickets to Russia Granted to Switzerland, Croatia

Croatia has qualified for five World Cup finals, having finished third in their maiden appearance in France 1998 while the Swiss are heading to their 11th World Cup and their fourth consecutive world finals

Tickets to Russia Granted to Switzerland, Croatia

Croatia has qualified for a second consecutive 2018 FIFA World Cup after a goalless draw in Greece on Sunday to secure a 4-1 aggregate victory over its rival.
An emphatic 4-1 victory in the first leg in Zagreb on Thursday was more than enough for the Balkan nation to book their place in the global finals in Russia next year.
Needing to overturn a three-goal deficit, Greece pressed forward to find an opening goal at the Karaiskaki Stadium in the Neo Faliro area of Piraeus, near Athens. However, early efforts from Anastasios Bakasetas and Sokratis Papastathopoulos failed to test Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
According to the FIFA website, in fact, it was the visitors that went closest to scoring before the break, as Ivan Perisic drilled a long-range shot off the post before the ball bounced away to safety.
The Greek kept pushing for goals but their efforts were unable to pull them back into this play-off tie. Konstantinos Mitroglou had an early chance after the break, while substitute Dimitrios Pelkas found the back of the Croatia net, but the goal was called back for offside.
It was Croatia that celebrated qualification to Russia 2018 in Piraeus at the final whistle, with their first-leg result proving to make the difference, in the end.
Croatia has now qualified for five World Cup finals, having finished third in their maiden appearance in France 1998. They also appeared at Korea/Japan 2002, Germany 2006, and Brazil 2014.

  To Russia With Draw
A goalless draw was all Switzerland needed to book its name for the World Cup 2018. The Swiss hung on to their 1-0 first-leg lead over Northern Ireland and played out a goalless draw in the play-off second leg in Basel to book their ticket to Russia.
Both teams created chances throughout the match playing in tough, rainy conditions. Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill will be pleased his side saw more of the ball than they did in the first leg. However, the Irishmen were not able to score the all-important goal to force the tie into extra time.
Within three minutes Chris Brunt attempted a shot on target from almost 30 yards out and forced Yann Sommer into making a diving save. A couple of minutes later Xherdan Shaqiri sent in a dangerous cross to the back post for Haris Seferovic, but the Benfica man was unable to direct his header on target from close range.
Switzerland continued to ask questions of Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern from chances by Blerim Dzemaili, Shaqiri and Steven Zuber, but McGovern was up to each challenge, making a string of crucial saves.
Chances were few in the second half. Goalscorer from the first leg Ricardo Rodriguez drove a long-range shot a foot wide of goal early in the interval, while Northern Ireland’s Conor Washington missed a header from about ten yards out.
Rodriguez cleared a header from Jonny Evans off the goal line in stoppage time, and Switzerland completed its mission to book a ticket to Russia 2018.
The Swiss are heading to their 11th World Cup and their fourth consecutive world finals.

 

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