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Kovač Confident Croatia Brazil Bound Despite Stalemate Against 10-Man Iceland

Croatia WeekNew Croatia coach Niko Kovač is ruing the fact his side could not take advantage of playing almost the entire second half against a 10-man Iceland side in their World Cup play-off tie first leg last night in Reykjavik…

Although Croatia had the better of the possession, they could penetrate an organised and spirited Iceland defence in last night’s 0-0 draw.

“I am not satisfied because we did not score. Iceland showed that they have that real ‘fighting’ character. They withstood our attacks. Shame, we had two, three excellent chances,” said Kovač after his first match in charge, before stating the obvious that his side must now do the job in the second leg in Zagreb on Tuesday.

“We move on. Now we play in front of our fans, we are optimistic, with support of our fans I am certain we will qualify for the World Cup.” said the former Croatian skipper.

So why did Kovač think Croatia could not break through the Iceland defence, who played for 40 minutes with 10-men after they had a man sent off.

“We relied too much on crosses from the wings. We had to play more with balls being laid off to the edge of the penalty area (18 yard box). We had one chance like this when Mandžukić laid a ball back. We had to try that more,” said Kovač.

Croatia and Iceland meet at Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium on Tuesday (20:15).

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