World Cup: Scotland claim shock 1-0 win in Croatia
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey. Last Updated: 08/06/13 9:36am
Robert Snodgrass: On target for Scotland
Scotland claimed their first win in World Cup qualifying with a brilliant 1-0 win in Croatia.
The only goal of the game came in the first half as Robert Snodgrass slid home ahead of Stipe Pletikosa to give Gordon Strachan a famous victory.
Strachan's men headed into the match already out of the race for Brazil in 2014, massive underdogs to claim a positive result, and a staggering 70 places behind Croatia in the world rankings.
But Snodgrass proved to be the difference between the two nations when he grabbed the only goal of the game to hand the Scots their first competitive victory since beating Liechtenstein in October 2011.
The breakthrough came after 26 minutes and the Croats were stunned when it was the Scots who surged into the lead.
Fine play by the impressive Maloney resulted in the ball breaking for Snodgrass, who showed good anticipation to pounce on the loose ball and stab home.
The home side should have levelled when Brazilian-born Sammir collected a short back-pass by Grant Hanley but blazed over with the gaping net at his mercy to jeers from the crowd.
Skipper Darijo Srna was then denied a goal by a timely clearance from Russell Martin just before half-time.
Croatia continued their search for the leveller after the restart and Ivan Rakitic controlled the ball well before unleashing a shot that dipped just over the crossbar.
Scotland could have added to their slim advantage when Barry Bannan raced into the box before sending a dangerous swerving shot just past the far upright.
Croatia still looked dangerous late on and Ivica Olic whipped a tempting ball across the face of goal for Mario Mandzukic but he just failed to connect at the back post.
The home side continued to pile on the pressure and Allan McGregor came to the rescue when he blocked a powerful shot from Mateo Kovacic with his legs.
As the tie entered the final 10 minutes, the Scots provided a reminder that they still posed a threat in front of goal as well.
Craig Conway burst down the left flank before picking out fellow substitute Steven Naismith in front of goal but he connected awkwardly with the header.
The ball then broke for Snodgrass, who failed to capitalise, but Scotland were able to hold on for an impressive win thanks to his goal.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Fri 7th Jun - Group B
Armenia0 - 1Malta
Czech Rep0 - 0Italy
Fri 7th Jun - Group F
Azerbaijan1 - 1Luxembourg
Portugal1 - 0Russia
Fri 7th Jun - Group I
Finland1 - 0Belarus
Fri 7th Jun - Group G
Latvia0 - 5Bosnia
Liechtenstein1 - 1Slovakia
Lithuania0 - 1Greece
Fri 7th Jun - Group A
Croatia0 - 1Scotland
Belgium2 - 1Serbia
Fri 7th Jun - Group H
Moldova1 - 1Poland
Montenegro0 - 4Ukraine
Fri 7th Jun - Group E
Albania1 - 1Norway
Iceland2 - 4Slovenia
Fri 7th Jun - Group C
Rep Ireland3 - 0Faroe Islands
Austria2 - 1Sweden
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I