Vlasic Features In Emphatic Croatia Play-Off Victory


Nikola Vlasic won his second Croatia cap on Thursday night, as Zlatko Dalic's team planted one foot in next year's World Cup finals with a crushing 4-1 victory over Greece.

Everton attacker Vlasic played the final seven minutes in Zagreb, having won a full international call after making an impressive start to his Goodison Park career following a summer move from Hajduk Split.

Croatia were pitted into the play-off clash with Greece after finishing behind Iceland in European qualifying Group I.

And they made the best possible start to the first leg on home turf when Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric slotted a 13th-minute penalty past Orestis Karnezis –
the goalkeeper who made his Watford debut as a substitute in Everton's thrill-a-minute win over the Hornets on Sunday.

Goals from ex-Blackburn Rovers striker Nikola Kalinic and winger Ivan Perisic sandwiched a headed effort on the half-hour from Greece centre-half Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Former Leicester City forward Andrej Kramaric struck shortly after the interval to give Croatia a three-goal buffer to take into Sunday's second-leg in Piraeus.

Vlasic's only previous appearance for his country came back in May, when the 20-year-old played 90 minutes of a 2-1 friendly victory over Mexico in Los Angeles.

He has 10 Croatia Under-21 caps and during the last international break in October scored twice in a 5-1 hammering of Czech Republic.

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