Croatia and Greece have both qualified for the 2014 World Cup after recording the required results in the second leg of their respective UEFA playoffs.
In Zagreb, Croatia beat minnows Iceland 2-0 to win 2-0 on aggregate following Friday’s scoreless draw in Reykjavik.
Mario Mandzukic, who was sent off in the 38th minute, and Darijo Srna scored either side of the half-time break to guide Niko Kovac’s side to the finals in Brazil next year, sending Croatia to their fourth FIFA tournament as an independent nation.
In Bucharest, Greece managed to hold Romania to a 1-1 draw to secure their spot in the World Cup by virtue of a 4-2 aggregate win.
The Greeks had won 3-1 in Athens on Friday, courtesy of a Konstantinos Mitroglou double, and it was the Olympiakos striker who was again the thorn in the side of the Romanians.
The visitors took a 23rd-minute lead when Mitroglou bagged his sixth international goal of 2013 before a Vasilis Torosidis own-goal in the 55th minute gave the home side hope.
But in the end, with a two-goal advantage, Fernando Santos’ side did enough to hold off the advances of Victor Piturca’s Romania to qualify for their third World Cup finals.
2014 World Cup UEFA playoff
Croatia: 2 (Mario Mandzukic 27’, Darijo Srna 47’, red card: Mandzukic 38’) *Croatia wins 2-0 on agg
Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia
Romania: 1 (Vasilis Torosidis (og) 55’)
Greece: 1 (Konstantinos Mitroglou 23’) *Greece wins 4-2 on agg
Arena National, Bucharest, Romania
For breaking stories and all the great banter like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tribalfootball