Croatia secure final automatic Euro 2024 spot

 

Borna Sosa and Ante Budimir of Croatia celebrate after scoring first goal during the UEFA EURO 2024 European qualifier match between Croatia and Armenia at Stadion Maksimir on November 21, 2023 in Zagreb, Croatia. 

Croatia became the final team to automatically secure their place at Euro 2024 with victory over Armenia.

The result means they finish second, behind Turkey, in Group D, and send Wales into the play-offs.

It was threatening to be a frustrating night for Croatia but Ante Budimir met Borna Sosa's cross to secure the win.

It means they continue their record of qualifying for every European Championship since 2004 and every major tournament since 2010.

They went into the game knowing they needed to at least match Wales' result against Turkey to qualify but quickly found themselves in the play-off positions as Rob Page's side took an early lead in Cardiff.

But, Zlatko Dalic's side were dominant from the off in Zagreb, having 75% possession in the opening 15 minutes and eight shots before they opened the scoring.

Budimir showed good movement to get in front of his marker at the near post and stoop down to head into the bottom corner for his first goal in qualifying.

He saw a second disallowed for a foul, but Croatia continued their qualifying record of remaining unbeaten when leading at half-time to seal their place in Germany.

Qualification means that midfielder Luka Modric, 38, will, fitness permitting, play in his ninth major tournament. He was a runner-up at the 2018 World Cup and finished third at last winter's tournament in Qatar.

Croatia will find out who they face in the group stages when the draw takes place on 2 December.

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