Match ends, Iceland 1, Croatia 2.
World Cup 2018: Iceland out after defeat by group winners Croatia
Iceland failed in their attempt to reach the World Cup knockout stage for the first time as Croatia secured a late win to top Group D on maximum points.
The Nordic nation knew they had to win to stand any chance of reaching the last 16, and their colourful support looked dejected as their side missed key chances late in the first half.
Alfred Finnbogason and Birkir Bjarnason both went close before the interval in Rostov-on-Don but Milan Badelj stylishly slammed home for Croatia after the break.
That forced Iceland to chase the game and, after Sverrir Ingason hit the bar, Gylfi Sigurdsson converted a penalty to level following Dejan Lovren's handball.
In the dying minutes, with Argentina leading Nigeria 2-1, Iceland knew a win would see them jump ahead of the South American side in second place.
But their attacks became less frequent as Croatia took more control and Ivan Perisic - one of only two players to retain his place from the win over Argentina - fired home in injury time.
His side now face Denmark in the last 16 on Sunday, a day after Argentina play France.
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Spirited Iceland's missed chance
With a population of about 300,000, Iceland's achievement in becoming the smallest nation to reach the World Cup means their fans will travel home with a sense of pride, albeit tinged with disappointment.
They arrived in southern Russia knowing even a win may not be enough had Nigeria beaten Argentina, but the manner in which they missed chances at key moments - against a side that made nine changes - will perhaps feel like an opportunity wasted.
Heimir Hallgrimsson's side were the lowest scorers of the European sides who qualified automatically for the tournament, and a lack of end product undoubtedly proved key in their exit.
They had grown into the opening 45 minutes as a Croatia side showing little intent ended the period on the back foot despite having 65% possession.
Finnbogason side-footed into the side-netting from 18 yards, Bjarnason could only drive against the legs of keeper Lovre Kalinic and Aron Gunnarsson was denied by a one-handed save on the stroke of half-time.
Badelj made them pay as, moments after rattling the bar from 30 yards, he powered a shot into the ground which flew into the net.
The instant fight shown epitomised the qualities which have endeared Iceland to so many, with Ingason forcing a save then planting another header onto the bar from the resulting corner.
Sigurdsson lifted home a penalty which Lovren had conceded with his first touch but Iceland - perhaps finally feeling the effects of long spells out of possession - succumbed to Perisic's powerful left-foot strike.
Croatia's fresh faces maintain momentum
Croatia appear a side rejuvenated under Zlatko Dalic, who only took charge with one World Cup qualification match remaining.
His side were beaten to top spot in qualifying by Iceland but have not yet lost a competitive game under him, and this win - with a much-changed line-up - perhaps points to a confidence running through the squad.
Only Perisic and Luka Modric remained from the 3-0 win over Argentina, but players such as Fiorentina midfielder Badelj showcased the depth of talent.
Real Madrid's Mateo Kovacic came into the side, and in 82 minutes completed 78 of his 79 passes in a composed display, while former Tottenham defender Vedran Corluka was robust and completed a game-high nine clearances.
This was far from an intense or overly impressive display by the group winners, but they spent long spells keeping possession without ever looking like over-exerting themselves. Ultimately, the result only adds to their momentum.
They have now won three World Cup matches in a row for the first time and, in doing so, win a group at the tournament for the first time too.
Dalic says he is convinced the last 16 will not be the end for his side. They look set to arrive in Nizhny Novgorod for Sunday's meeting with Denmark fresh and dangerous.
Analysis - Could Croatia and their 'animal' win it?
Former England and Man Utd defender Phil Neville: The teams underneath the top sides have relaxed and enjoyed the tournament. I can't see Argentina improving that much, Germany have problems in their camp, France have not impressed me.
It might be a World Cup when we have a Leicester City-type winner.
Croatia have probably been the best team in the competition. In terms of consistent performances they have been the best team in the competition. If Denmark play like they did today, I can't see them beating Croatia.
I like the style of play. They are solid at the back, the three in midfield control the game and Mario Mandzukic is an animal up front.
BBC Sport South American football expert Tim Vickery: What a midfield Croatia have. They are the team who could do serious damage. I saw them at Anfield when they played Brazil and in the first half Brazil couldn't get out of their own half.
Man of the match - Mateo Kovacic
'Waiting to show our power' - manager talk
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic: "We have three wins, nine points, with a goal difference of 7-1. That only goal we got was from the penalty, so we have to be happy.
"The first place was our goal, we did it. I am convinced that this game in the Round of 16 will not be our end, we are waiting for Sunday to show the true power, this is the day of truth for us."
Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson: "We have not played many games like this one, against a strong team like Croatia, and created so many chances so we are disappointed with that but I am proud of the performance and the character.
"We were unlucky today but we can carry our heads high and say we did everything we could."
Croatia like the second-half - the key stats
- Ivan Perisic has scored three World Cup goals for Croatia - only Davor Suker (6) has scored more.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty for Iceland was the 17th scored at the 2018 World Cup, equalling the most penalties scored in a single World Cup tournament (also 17 in 1998).
- Croatia scored with both of their shots on target in this match.
- Sigurdsson became the second player to have scored a goal and missed a penalty at the 2018 World Cup, after Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.
- Milan Badelj scored only his second goal for Croatia, with this his first since netting against Malta in September 2011 during qualifying for Euro 2012.
- Of Croatia's last 11 goals at the World Cup, 10 have been scored in the second half.
- 2SaevarssonBooked at 84mins
- 6R SigurdssonSubstituted forSigurdarsonat 71'minutes
- 20HallfredssonBooked at 59mins
- 7Berg Gudmundsson
- 10G Sigurdsson
- 8BjarnasonSubstituted forTraustasonat 90'minutes
- 11FinnbogasonBooked at 64minsSubstituted forGudmundssonat 85'minutes
- 16OI Skúlason
- 23AF Skúlason
- 12L Kalinic
- 13JedvajBooked at 83mins
- 10ModricSubstituted forBradaricat 65'minutes
- 8KovacicSubstituted forRakiticat 82'minutes
- 20PjacaBooked at 14minsSubstituted forLovrenat 69'minutes
- Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Iceland 1, Croatia 2.
Corner, Iceland. Conceded by Filip Bradaric.
Corner, Iceland. Conceded by Dejan Lovren.
Attempt missed. Aron Gunnarsson (Iceland) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Gylfi Sigurdsson with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Iceland. Conceded by Dejan Lovren.
Corner, Iceland. Conceded by Vedran Corluka.
Foul by Josip Pivaric (Croatia).
Albert Gudmundsson (Iceland) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ivan Perisic.
Goal! Iceland 1, Croatia 2. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Milan Badelj.
Substitution, Iceland. Arnór Ingvi Traustason replaces Birkir Bjarnason.
Milan Badelj (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Björn Sigurdarson (Iceland).
Attempt missed. Andrej Kramaric (Croatia) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Milan Badelj.
Attempt missed. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.
Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Sverrir Ingi Ingason (Iceland).
Substitution, Iceland. Albert Gudmundsson replaces Alfred Finnbogason.
Attempt missed. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.
Birkir Már Saevarsson (Iceland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Ivan Perisic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Birkir Már Saevarsson (Iceland).
Tin Jedvaj (Croatia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Tin Jedvaj (Croatia).
Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Iceland) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Dejan Lovren (Croatia) header from very close range misses to the left. Assisted by Ivan Rakitic with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Croatia. Ivan Rakitic replaces Mateo Kovacic.
Corner, Croatia. Conceded by Birkir Már Saevarsson.
Attempt saved. Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Iceland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Goal! Iceland 1, Croatia 1. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Iceland) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.
Penalty conceded by Dejan Lovren (Croatia) with a hand ball in the penalty area.
Offside, Croatia. Josip Pivaric tries a through ball, but Andrej Kramaric is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Josip Pivaric (Croatia) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Andrej Kramaric.
Attempt missed. Birkir Bjarnason (Iceland) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Alfred Finnbogason.
Offside, Iceland. Hördur Björgvin Magnússon tries a through ball, but Alfred Finnbogason is caught offside.
Substitution, Iceland. Björn Sigurdarson replaces Ragnar Sigurdsson.
Substitution, Croatia. Dejan Lovren replaces Marko Pjaca because of an injury.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Marko Pjaca (Croatia) because of an injury.