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Croatia draw with Greece in second leg to qualify for 2018 World Cup

Greece applaud their supporters following the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Greece and Croatia at Karaiskakis Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Piraeus, .

Croatia are in the World Cup finals after a 0-0 away draw on Sunday night put them through with a 4-1 aggregate across the two legs of their qualifying play-off with Greece.

Zlatko Dalic’s side made sure of a place in Russia next summer by closing out a dour game that contained few chances. Dalic had been appointed in October after Croatia sacked their previous manager, Ante Cacic, following a 1-1 draw with Finland towards the end of the group stages of qualifying.

Greece’s coach, Michael Skibbe, made six changes to the team that lost heavily in the first leg and the home side produced a much better performance this time. However, although Greece dominated possession, they never really looked like scoring and their one shot on target, an effort by Panagiotis Tachtsidis, was comfortably saved by Danijel Subasic.

The result in Piraeus means Croatia have qualified for 10 out of 12 major tournaments since the Balkan state was founded in 1991. They have also won all five of their play-off ties to reach either World Cup or European Championship tournaments.

There were no Croatia fans at the match, as both sides, fearful of possible violence, had agreed to ban away supporters from each leg.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Peter Mason, for The Guardian on Sunday 12th November 2017 22.20 Europe/London

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