UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 8 winners Croatia suffered a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Bulgaria in the final game of the section in Zapresic.
Bulgaria miss out
However, the home side finished a point clear at the head of the standings despite the defeat. Bulgaria, meanwhile, were unable to overhaul Belgium and claim second position and a potential place in the play-offs for the final tournament, because their rivals defeated Estonia 4-2 at home to also finish with ten points and claim runners-up spot by virtue of a superior record in head-to-head games.
Bulgaria began knowing that only three points would realistically keep their qualification hopes alive, but struggled to break down a solid and well-organised home defence. Croatia, for their part, looked content to simply avoid injuries as they prepare for the two-legged play-offs in November.
Tunchev on target
The only goal of the game arrived in the final minute, with Bulgaria finally breaching the home side thanks to defender Alexsander Tunchev, but it was not enough to prolong their participation in the competition.