World Cup Qualifying - European - Play-off - 1st Leg
Croatia4Greece1

Croatia 4-1 Greece

Luka Modric scored Croatia's first from the penalty spot
Luka Modric scored Croatia's first from the penalty spot

Croatia capitalised on a dismal Greece defensive display to take a commanding lead after the first leg of their World Cup qualifying play-off in Zagreb.

Greek keeper Orestis Karnezis' clumsy touch led to him conceding an early penalty, which Luka Modric converted.

Nikola Kalinic was unmarked to tap in a second but Sokratis Papastathopoulos' fine header gave Greece an away goal.

Ivan Perisic headed Croatia's third before half-time before Andrej Kramaric tapped in after a botched backpass.

Konstantinos Stafylidis' attempt to chest the ball back to his keeper summed up Greece's defensive display as Sime Vrsaljko stole in to square, giving Kramaric an empty net.

Modric's penalty got Croatia off to the perfect start in front of their fans at Zagreb's Stadion Maksimir
Modric's penalty got Croatia off to the perfect start in front of their fans at Zagreb's Stadion Maksimir

That gave Croatia a three-goal advantage, leaving Greece with a huge task on home soil in Sunday's second leg, when a 3-0 win will be required to send them through on away goals.

Croatia have not lost a competitive fixture by a three-goal margin since a 5-1 defeat by England in 2009.

Their lead could have been cut late on when former Fulham striker Kostas Mitroglou went close twice for Greece, heading over the bar before seeing another header well saved by Danijel Subasic in the 90th minute.

But Croatia controlled proceedings with 59% of possession and 17 shots at goal as Modric and Perisic consistently linked well in midfield, while Atletico Madrid right-back Vrsaljko impressed in creating his side's third and fourth goals.

This was only Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic's second game in charge, but in overseeing a 2-0 win in Ukraine to secure a play-off spot and now this dominant victory, his side are close to reaching back-to-back World Cups.

Line-ups

Croatia

  • 23Subasic
  • 2Vrsaljko
  • 6Lovren
  • 21Vida
  • 3Strinic
  • 7Rakitic
  • 11Brozovic
  • 9KramaricSubstituted forVlasicat 83'minutes
  • 10ModricSubstituted forPasalicat 89'minutes
  • 4Perisic
  • 16KalinicSubstituted forRebicat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Livakovic
  • 5Mitrovic
  • 8Vlasic
  • 12Kalinic
  • 13Nizic
  • 14Rebic
  • 15Rog
  • 17Mandzukic
  • 18Bradaric
  • 19Leovac
  • 20Pasalic
  • 22Pivaric

Greece

  • 1KarnezisBooked at 11mins
  • 5Papadopoulos
  • 19Papastathopoulos
  • 3Tzavellas
  • 2ManiatisSubstituted forRetsosat 45'minutes
  • 8Gonçalves RodriguesBooked at 21mins
  • 6Tziolis
  • 22SamarisSubstituted forTachtsidisat 62'minutes
  • 21StafylidisSubstituted forBakasetasat 72'minutesBooked at 79mins
  • 10Fortounis
  • 11Mitroglou

Substitutes

  • 4Retsos
  • 7Christodoulopoulos
  • 9Diamantakos
  • 12Kapino
  • 13Anestis
  • 14Bakasetas
  • 15Torosidis
  • 16Kourbelis
  • 17Tachtsidis
  • 18Gianniotas
  • 20Lykogiannis
  • 23Oikonomou
Referee:
Gianluca Rocchi
Attendance:
30,013

Match Stats

Home TeamCroatiaAway TeamGreece
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home17
Away7
Shots on Target
Home9
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home8
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Croatia 4, Greece 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Croatia 4, Greece 1.

Corner, Croatia. Conceded by Panagiotis Retsos.

Attempt blocked. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcelo Brozovic.

Attempt missed. Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Greece) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left.

Attempt saved. Kostas Mitroglou (Greece) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alexandros Tziolis.

Substitution

Substitution, Croatia. Mario Pasalic replaces Luka Modric.

Foul by Domagoj Vida (Croatia).

Zeca (Greece) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Luka Modric (Croatia) because of an injury.

Foul by Nikola Vlasic (Croatia).

Georgios Tzavellas (Greece) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Croatia. Nikola Vlasic replaces Andrej Kramaric.

Luka Modric (Croatia) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Greece).

Offside, Croatia. Ivan Rakitic tries a through ball, but Andrej Kramaric is caught offside.

Booking

Anastasios Bakasetas (Greece) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Luka Modric (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Anastasios Bakasetas (Greece).

Foul by Ante Rebic (Croatia).

Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Greece) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Croatia. Ante Rebic replaces Nikola Kalinic.

Attempt missed. Kostas Mitroglou (Greece) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Konstantinos Fortounis with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Greece. Conceded by Ivan Perisic.

Substitution

Substitution, Greece. Anastasios Bakasetas replaces Konstantinos Stafylidis.

Attempt missed. Kostas Mitroglou (Greece) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Georgios Tzavellas.

Attempt missed. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Luka Modric with a through ball.

Attempt blocked. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nikola Kalinic.

Foul by Nikola Kalinic (Croatia).

Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Greece) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Sokratis (Greece) header from very close range is too high. Assisted by Kostas Mitroglou with a cross following a corner.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Greece. Panagiotis Tachtsidis replaces Andreas Samaris because of an injury.

Delay in match Andreas Samaris (Greece) because of an injury.

Corner, Greece. Conceded by Danijel Subasic.

Attempt saved. Kostas Mitroglou (Greece) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Panagiotis Retsos.

Andrej Kramaric (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Zeca (Greece).

Attempt saved. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France107211861223
2Sweden106132691719
3Netherlands106132112919
4Bulgaria104151419-513
5Luxembourg10136826-186
6Belarus10127621-155

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Portugal109013242827
2Switzerland109012371627
3Hungary104151414013
4Faroe Islands10235416-129
5Latvia10217718-117
6Andorra10118223-214

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany1010004343930
2Northern Ireland106131761119
3Czech Rep104331710715
4Norway104151716113
5Azerbaijan103161019-910
6San Marino100010251-490

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia1063120101021
2R. of Ireland10541126619
3Wales10451136717
4Austria104331412215
5Georgia10055814-65
6Moldova10028423-192

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland1081128141425
2Denmark106222081220
3Montenegro105142012816
4Romania103431210213
5Armenia102171026-167
6Kazakhstan10037626-203

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England108201831526
2Slovakia106041771018
3Scotland105321712518
4Slovenia10433127515
5Lithuania10136720-136
6Malta10019325-221

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain109103633328
2Italy107212181323
3Albania104151013-313
4Israel104061015-512
5Macedonia103251515011
6Liechtenstein100010139-380

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium109104363728
2Greece105411761119
3Bos-Herze1052324131117
4Estonia103251319-611
5Cyprus10316918-910
6Gibraltar100010347-440

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Iceland10712167922
2Croatia106221541120
3Ukraine10523139417
4Turkey104331413115
5Finland10235913-49
6Kosovo10019324-211
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

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