Croatia hosted Russia in the final Group H World Cup qualifier on Sunday knowing that the only win would secure their place in Qatar 2022, and almost beat their visitors to overtake them and claim first place with their latest goal.
Fyodor Kudryashov is the one who has faced the challenge of turning his goal to give the 2018 finalists a place in the upcoming winter tournament after Croatia spent a lot of time knocking on the door but Russia stood firm.
Croatia goalkeeper Ivo Grbic, who was loaned out to Lille from Atletico Madrid, was the only observer of the day as Russia hit just two shots and none of them were targeted. Seeking to win against a rival who needed just one point, Croatia came from afar and had a chance to open the scoring, but the visitors took part and showed great fighting.
Luka Modric and Inter’s Marcelo Brozovic set the tempo from the center, with the latter having a few chances of his own.
Kudryashov was left to sink in a muddy and sunk spot at Split in the 81st minute. The ball from the left was too high to touch anyone, but the Russian foot bounced off his legs and into his net.
Russia now has to face a dilemma if it qualifies for the 2022 World Cup.