(E) Croatia beats Sweden to secure a berth in 2006 FIFA World Cup
Croatia beats Sweden to secure a berth in 2006 FIFA World Cup
Croatia beat Sweden 1-0 on Saturday evening with the help of a penalty, to secure a berth in the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, said reports from the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
The decisive moments for Croatia came in the 56th minute when Sweden captain Olof Mellberg handled in the area and Darijo Srna of Croatia kept his cool from the spot to decide a tightly contested match.
Croatia moved above Sweden atop Group 8 with 23 points and are sure to either top the group or finish as one of Europe's two best-placed runners-up.
Eight group winners advance to the World Cup finals as well as the two best runners-up. The other runners-up playoff for another three places.
The win on Saturday evening sees Croatia continue their record of qualifying for all three World Cups they have entered since its independence in 1991.
Sweden, who were without Juventus star Zlatan Ibrahimovic because of a knee injury, can still secure a place in the World Cup finals with a home victory over Iceland in the final qualifying match on Wednesday, when Croatia face Hungary in Budapest.