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Croatia bound for play-offs despite beating Latvia

Published: Tuesday 11 October 2011, 21.32CET
Croatia 2-0 Latvia
Eduardo and Mario Mandžukić scored second-half goals for the hosts, who nonetheless finished runners-up behind Greece in Group F.
by Vjekoslav Paun
from Kantrida Stadium
Croatia bound for play-offs despite beating Latvia
Ivan Strinić (left) sent Eduardo clear for Croatia's opener ©Getty Images

Match statistics

CroatiaLatvia

Goals scored2
 
0
Possession (%)0
100
Total attempts28
 
4
Attempts on target11
 
1
Attempts off target14
 
3
Attempts blocked0
 
0
Attempts against woodwork0
 
0
Corners14
 
2
Offsides0
4
Yellow cards0
2
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed4
 
17
Fouls suffered17
 
3

Standings

Group F

PPts
Greece Greece1024
Croatia Croatia1022
Israel Israel1016
Latvia Latvia1011
Georgia Georgia1010
Malta Malta101
Last updated: 13/02/2013 10:53 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Tuesday 11 October 2011, 21.32CET

Croatia bound for play-offs despite beating Latvia

Croatia 2-0 Latvia
Eduardo and Mario Mandžukić scored second-half goals for the hosts, who nonetheless finished runners-up behind Greece in Group F.

Croatia will line up in the UEFA EURO 2012 play-offs after defeating Latvia in Rijeka, the win proving insufficient to take them top of Group F after leaders Greece prevailed in Georgia.

Slaven Bilić's side lost control of the section when they succumbed to Greece on Friday, and they were unable to wrest it back in the final round of qualifiers, despite second-half strikes from Eduardo and Mario Mandžukić.

The hosts could have won the match more comfortably but found Andris Vaņins a difficult obstacle to bypass, the visiting goalkeeper pulling off a string of saves throughout. Indeed, Croatia began to threaten his goal from the very start, with Eduardo firing over with a ferocious effort. The influential Luka Modrić then narrowly missed the target after 13 minutes.

Latvia's attempts to counterattack proved ineffectual until a slip from Dejan Lovren offered Artjoms Rudņevs the chance to score. One on one with Stipe Pletikosa, he failed to beat the Croatia No1. Sevilla FC midfielder Ivan Rakitić went tantalisingly close at the other end via a free-kick close to the half-hour, and although Rudņevs spurned another opening after the break, it was Croatia who applied the more concerted pressure as time ticked down.

The visitors eventually cracked after 66 minutes when Ivan Strinić sent Eduardo clear courtesy of a superb long pass, and the FC Shakhtar Donetsk striker was able to do the rest. Mandžukić sealed the victory six minutes later with a fine header from Darijo Srna's right-wing delivery. Bilić's men must now wait for Thursday's draw in Krakow to learn who they must overcome to secure a place in Poland and Ukraine.

Last updated: 12/10/11 0.39CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2012/matches/round=15171/match=2002249/postmatch/report/index.html#croatia+heading+play+offs

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