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Croatia qualify with victory in Malta

Malta 0-1 Croatia
Ivan Perišić's 25th-minute winner combined with Norway's defeat in Italy sends Croatia to the finals as runners-up in qualifying Group H.

Highlights: Malta 0-1 Croatia
  • Croatia win in Malta to qualify thanks to Norway's defeat in Italy
  • Ivan Perišić's 25th-minute goal proves enough for visitors
  • Alfred Effiong has Malta's two best chances

A narrow victory in Malta coupled with Norway's defeat in Italy sent Croatia to UEFA EURO 2016.

Croatia began the day third in Group H, two points behind Norway, who took the lead in Italy. But the Azzurri came from behind to win 2-1 and top the section, and Croatia will join them in France courtesy of Ivan Perišić's 25th-minute strike.

Malta did show some threat via the running of Alfred Effiong, who had an excellent chance on 22 minutes after being released by a splendid André Schembri through ball, only for Danijel Subašić to stand tall. And soon after Perišić unleashed a powerful effort from the left of the box that flew in with the help of a deflection.

With Mateo Kovačić and Ivan Rakitić rampant, there was little chance of a Malta comeback. Just before the hour Marko Pjaca came close to a second, denied by Andrew Hogg's intervention.

Effiong did have another opportunity, again supplied by Schembri, but Subašić saved. By then, though, Croatia's minds were already on the good news coming through from Italy.