Croatia booked a place in the last eight of the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a 2-0 victory against Germany in their first ever knockout game at this level. Talismanic captain Nikola Moro grabbed the opening goal of the game in the first half, and Davor Lovren's late goal sealed the victory to see them progress to a quarter-final against Mali in Chillan on Sunday.
The Croats gave their European counterparts an early warning shot. Good build-up play across the German penalty area led to Josip Brekalo hitting with his left foot from the edge of the box. The strike was well saved by Constantin Frommann, who pushed it onto the woodwork.
Brekalo was involved moments later, when his side took the lead after Germany failed to heed the warning. The No7 broke free down the Croatian left before whipping a cross in. Karlo Majic failed to finish but Nikola Moro took over to slide home clinically from just outside the six yard box
Germany, initially stunned by their opponents' attacking play, grew in stature as the opening half wore on. Salih Ozcan broke free of the Croatian defence, with Vinko Soldo chasing, he looked to take it around Adrian Semper but the keeper claimed the ball with a massive spread of his arms.
Passlack was involved in a couple more chances for the Germans, first crossing for Eggestein and having a shot himself, but he could not level matters.
The second half was bereft of many clear-cut opportunities, with Germany attempting to impress themselves on the game further and Croatia dealing with them well. Passlack was influential in finding space time and again down the German right but his repeated attempts to either set up his teammates or shoot himself were halted by the Croatian defence.
The standout chance of the second period for the Germans saw a delicious ball whipped in by Vitaly Janelt from their right-hand side. With Eggestein following in at the back post, the forward could not find the finish.
Lovren's stoppage time breakaway goal relieved a period of extended German pressure and rubberstamped a win that will see the Croats head to Chillan for a quarter-final showdown with Mali on Sunday.