Late Russia own goal sends Croatia to World Cup

Fedor Kudryashov of Russia and Nikola Vlasic of Croatia in action during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Croatia and Russia at Stadium Poljud on November 14, 2021 in Split, Croatia.

Croatia qualified automatically for the 2022 World Cup finals after a late Fedor Kudryashov own goal gave them a 1-0 home win over Russia in their crunch Group H qualifier on Sunday.

Russia's Fedor Kudryashov (L) and Croatia's Nikola Vlasic struggle for the ball in their 2022 FIFA World Cup Group H Qualifying Round football match at Poljud Stadium.

Croatia, the 2018 World Cup runners-up, jumped above Russia to top the standings on 23 points from 10 games, one more than the second-placed Russians who will head into the March play-offs.

Croatia dominated a match played in driving rain but a string of good saves by visiting goakeeper Matvei Safonov and a waterlogged pitch kept them at bay before Kudryashov's clumsy 80th-minute touch delighted the home fans.

Elsewhere in Group H, Slovakia finished their campaign with a 6-0 win in Malta to finish third, level on points with fourth-placed Slovenia who beat Cyprus 2-1 in Ljubljana.

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