Ivan Pesic leads Croatia to epic win against Iceland
Even though Croatia were out of the race for the semi-finals even before throw-off, they did not give today’s game away. Their determination and willingness allowed them to take their first points of the main round.
The battle of the goalkeepers might have been Viktor Hallgrímsson’s in the first half, but Ivan Pesic had an astonishing second half for Croatia. Not conceding any goal in the last seven minutes of the game, the 32-year-old was key for his team, helping turn around a situation that did not look too good to begin with.
- just like they did in their previous game against France, Iceland controlled the first part of the game, taking an early five-goal lead, thanks to Viktor Hallgrímsson’s stunning performance between the posts
- little by little, Croatia regained the momentum, reaching half-time just two goals down before taking the lead right away at the start of the second half
- in a game that could have been won by both teams, Ivan Pesic made the decision for Croatia, stopping two decisive shots before Ante Gadza scored the game-winner a couple of seconds before the final siren
- thanks to his six goals, Tin Lucin was elected Grundfos Player of the Match
- for their last main round game, on Wednesday, Iceland will play against Montenegro and still have a chance of the semi-finals with a win, although it will depend too on other results
Lucin on the way up, Kristjánsson on the way down
Viggo Kristjánsson was one of the heroes of Iceland’s win against France on Saturday, but today, it looked like his ghost was on the court. Not scoring a single goal in the whole game and missing six shots, he failed to make an impression but also to offer Iceland another offensive solution when Ómar Ingi Magnusson was well defended.
The contrast was stark with Croatia left back Tin Lucin, who had an amazing game. The 22-year-old scored a last-second goal to put his team two goals behind at the break, but also netted four times in the second half.
We never back down, we fight until the end. We wanted to show our fans how much we care for the victory. Thank God Ante Gadza converted his last chance, and we won this thrilling match.
It was a very tough game. We are of course very disappointed because in the end we had the chance to win the game, but we did not score from clear chances two times in very, very important moments.