Two goals from Ivica Olic helped Croatia strengthen their World Cup qualifying claims with a 3-1 win over Belarus on Wednesday.
Olic nodded in from a Niko Kranjcar corner to give Croatia
the lead midway through the first half of a key Group Six
Croatia continued to dominate and doubled their lead when
Eduardo da Silva took a pass from Darijo Srna and fired the ball
Belarus gave themselves hope with a goal by Dimitry
Verkhotsov in the 81st minute, but Olic scored again from a
counter attack two minutes later.
Croatia are second in Group Six with 14 points from seven
games, seven behind England, who are firmly on course to win the
group and take the direct qualification place for South Africa
next year. Belarus are fourth with nine points from six matches.
The eight best group runners-up go through to a play-off and
Croatia coach Slaven Bilic was overjoyed with the result and
particularly the second-half performance.
"The players were elated, which shows how much pressure they
were under to win this game," Bilic said.
"I'd say that the second half was perhaps one of the best 45
minutes these players have ever played."