After the disappointing 1-1 home draw against Finland in the ninth fixture, Croatia traveled to Ukraine with one mission-to win. The Croats found their mission challenging as no side was able to break the deadlock before the break. However, the visitors came strong in the second-half scoring goals that matter for their progress into the 2018 World Cup. The win means that Ukraine has been bundled out of the competition while the Croats will undoubtedly be one of the best runners-up in the nine groups of qualification in Europe.

The two sides went into the game knowing too well that the loser had no chance of progress and the winner would be the group runners-up if Iceland won as expected.

‘Our Boys’ of Iceland didn’t disappoint as they secured the top spot position in Group I with a comfortable 2-0 win over Kosovo. Iceland was leading before the break with a goal coming from Gyfi Sigurdsson who broke the deadlock five minutes before the first half whistle. In the second half, Johan Berg Gudmundsson sealed the win in the sixty-eighth minute to seal the Icelandic win making them make a historic qualification to the first ever World Cup. Croatia goals came from the dangerous 1899 Hoffenheim striker who scored the crucial an away brace.

How the group looks

After the maximum matches where each of the six members of Group F played a total number of ten games, Iceland tops the proceedings with 21 points and will go straight into the 2018 World Cup stages in Russia.

Croatia after stunning Andriy Shevchenko side with a 2-0 away win comes second and seems inevitable to join the eight runner-ups from European nations from the nine groups in the Playoff Berth.

Ukraine who suffered a dramatic home loss against Croatia in the final fixture join the already eliminated trio of Turkey, Finland, and Kosovo in the list of nations which can only send spectators to Russia.

Shevchenko side finished third with 17 points while Turkey managed 15 points after drawing 2-2 against Finland in Helsinki. The Finish finished fifth with nine points while debutants, Kosovo were at the rock bottom with only a single point after conceding a massive 25 goals in the entire competition.

What propelled the Blazers to a landmark glory in Ukraine

After the dramatic win over the home team in a crucial match, many fans have begun to compare the current Croatian side with the iconic 1998 team that went ahead and finished third in the competition that took place in France. The 1998 team had Davor Suker, but the current team seems to be decorated with stars that play for top teams in Europe. In the team, there’s Captain Luka Modric of Real Madrid and Ivan Rakitic of Barcelona. Other stars in Zlatco Dalic team include Mario Mandzukic of Juventus, Ivan Perisic of Inter Milan and Loven Dejan of Liverpool.

The Blazers managed to beat Ukraine in the doubleheader with a 1-0 home result in Zagreb earlier in the competition.

The Croats have a home-born manager who put patriotism beyond all other activities in the entire race. However, the team hasn’t completed its task as gruesome playoffs await them as they attempt to join the eight group winners of the continent in Russia next year. The question that many people ask is whether Zlatco Dalic team can replicate the achievements of the Golden Generation of 1994-98.