Thrilling Journey of the 2018 World Cup Finalists to Qatar, Qualified in the Last Match of the European Zone – NBCNEWS

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The Thrilling Journey of the 2018 World Cup Finalists to Qatar, Qualified in the Last Match of the European Zone


The 2018 World Cup finalists needed an own goal in the 80th minute of their final group stage match on Sunday night (14/11) to ensure their qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Check out their journey to escape.

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Croatia actually weren’t bad at all on their trip to Qatar. The only result that manager Zlatko Dalic might regret is the defeat in the first match of Group H when Luka Modric and his friends were beaten by Slovenia with a score of 1-0.

That, plus Russia’s great performance throughout this group stage, when the White Bears won seven and drew one and lost one (before last night’s match), caused Croatia to be unable to confirm their direct qualification to the 2022 World Cup.

Ivan Perisic and his friends even had to wait for a life-and-death match on the last matchday of Group H to ensure their fate of qualification to the most awaited tournament in December 2022. Croatia’s status as a 2018 finalist doesn’t help much.

Luckily there was an own goal from Antalyaspor’s Fedor Kudryashov in the 80th minute The final group match was on Sunday evening at Poljud Stadium (Split), when a cross failed to be controlled by the 34-year-old defender, leading the ball into his own net. See the photo above.

Croatia now have a chance to heal their pain of being beaten by France in the 2018 World Cup final, when an own goal from Mario Mandzukic, plus goals from Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe could only be answered by Ivan Perisic and Mandzukic.

Zlatko Dalic’s squad did not deserve to lose in the 2018 World Cup final. They managed to get rid of a number of giants en route to the final, beat England in the semifinals with a score of 2-1 in extra time, beat Russia on penalties in the quarter-finals, and also won on penalties over Denmark in the last 16.

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