Croatia has kept their 2018 World Cup hopes alive after a double from Andrej Kramaric gave them a 2-0 win over Ukraine in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier on Monday night in Kyiv’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium.
Needing a win to grab second place in the group, the home side took control, wasting two great chances around the half-hour mark, with Taras Stepanenko driving a powerful shot outside the post and Yevhen Konoplyanka heading just wide moments later as the sides went into the break scoreless. Rakitsky and Stepanenko came the closest with shots from outside the box.
Croatia will now head to the playoffs in November as the best eight second-placed sides battle for four spots after finishing Group I in the second spot.
Ukraine was eager to have revenge on Croatia, which beat the Yellow Blues in the home game in Zagreb (1-0). Given several injuries in the line-up of Zlatko Dalic’s team, and relying on the good shape of their own wingers, Andriy Shevchenko’s men really could put up a fight. However, it was clear that the fight was going to be tough, as Croatians had enough class and experience to keep away their opponent from proceeding.