FT: Croatia 0 Scotland 1

It's all over and Scotland can celebrate their first World Cup qualifying victory of the campaign following this hugely unexpected 1-0 win over joint Group A leaders Croatia in Zagreb. The hosts are dejected having gifted Belgium the initiative in the race for an automatic spot on the place to Brazil next year while Gordon Strachan's men can fly home with their heads held high.

Whittaker takes too much time to take the free kick and ends up being booked.

One minute of those have already expired and now Scotland have a free kick in midfield which they are in no hurry to take.

There will be three additional minutes to play before the final whistle sounds.

Scotland are in no mood just to sit back in these closing stages as they advance down the right wing to run down the clock.

Even if they concede a late equaliser, Scotland can be incredibly proud of their performance tonight, especially considering how many players pulled out of the depleted squad due to injuries.

Mandzukic has also been silenced by Scotland's defence tonight and he's now been taken off to be replaced by Niko Kranjcar.

Those who scoffed at the phrase "there's no easy games in international football" before kick-off tonight have been well and truly silenced by Scotland tonight.

Sammir drives through midfield but his pass is cut out by Hutton, who then blasts clearance out of play.

Scotland were 10/1 before kick-off to win this clash but their performance tonight certainly hasn't justified that underdog status.

A tame cross from Rakitic skids along the floor and into the grateful arms of McGregor.

The home crowd are urging their side on but it's cetainly not looking good for them.

Croatia are being largely restricted to shots from distance and this time Kovacic drags his low effort well wide.

Although there was supposedly nothing but pride for Scotland to play for tonight, the travelling supporters are starting to bite their fingernails at the prospect of this shock victory.

Simunic is exasperated on the floor after the referee blows for a foul against him following a battle with Hutton on Croatia's left wing.

Moments later McArthur is also booked for a foul on Rakitic in midfield.

Conway is fouled by a frustrated Rakitic, who is subsequently shown the yellow card.

There's no way Croatia would have taken a point before kick-off but at the moment that looks the best result they can hope for whereas the Scots would be a little disappointed with a draw considering how well they've played.

Rakitic's delivery from the right wing is searching for the towering Mandzukic but the striker's looping header goes over.

Craig Conway is introduced into the action at the expense of Maloney, who had indicated moments earlier that he needed to come off due to injury.

Olic tries to be too clever with a pass down the left which runs out of play for a goal kick.

Gordon Strachan looks like an anxious manager on the touchline as his side edge closer to what would be an extremely impressive result.

Scotland's defending has been resolute tonight and once again they repel another cross into the box.

James McArthur gets in the way of a Srna cross to concede a corner.

The hosts make an attacking change with Nikola Kalinic coming on to replace Strinic.

Croatia take it short but eventually work the ball to Mateo Kovacic, who blasts a sizzling shot from distance which McGregor does well to save with his legs.

Strinic's cross from the left wing is deflected behind and now Croatia have a corner.

Snodgrass floats the ball towards the back post and Rhodes heads over the bar. Replays show that he should have done better.

Scotland relieve the pressure momentarily as Hutton wins a free kick on the right wing when he's fouled by Strinic.

Srna's cross from the right finds Eduardo, who heads straight at McGregor.

Scotland make a double change with Bannan and Griffiths making way for Steven Naismith and Jordan Rhodes.

An audacious bicycle kick from Mandzukic inside the box goes over the bar.

Scotland are being forced to defend deeper and deeper as Croatia try to up the ante.

Croatia continue to pile on the pressure but thankfully for Scotland Sammir slices a shot well wide of the target.

A devilishly good ball into the box from Olic on the left wing is met by Mandzukic but with an open goal gaping, the Bayern Munich striker stabs it wide.

The visitors continue to battle hard in midfield and aren't letting Croatia through.

Scotland's resilient performance has effectively pulled the plug on the electric atmosphere prior kick-off and the home crowd are subdued to say the least.

Hutton beats his man on the right wing before his delicate chipped cross finds Bannan on the left side of the box and the Aston Villa man then fires his volley wide.

Croatia make a change with Eduardo coming on to replace Perisic.

Olic combines with Srna before drilling a fierce shot over the bar from just outside right corner of the box.

Rakitic's dreadful delivery sums up Croatia's night so far as it goes out of play for a goal kick.

Mandzukic shot from the edge of the box is deflected well wide but they do now have a corner.

Once again Croatia attack down the right with Srna, who sees his latest cross comfortably cleared to safety.

Sammir floats the ball into the box but a stretching Mandzukic can't quite get on the end of it.

Croatia's final ball has been lacking all night and they simply must improve this area of the game if they're to get a point at the very least.

Most people would agree the world rankings are a bit of a farce and on this evidence there is no way Croatia should be placed fourth in the standings!

Croatia have come out intent of starting the second half like they ended the first, with Rakitic's dipping drive just going over the bar.

Ivan Strinic's chase to reach a long ball down the left wing is all in vain as he falls over somewhat comically.

Croatia get this clash back under way, hoping to turn their 1-0 deficit against Scotland into a victory as they aim to stay level on points with Belgium in Group A.

Scotland are now 11/8 with Sky Bet to win this clash while Croatia are 9/4, with the draw priced at 7/4. Sky Bet's half-time price boosts include Croatia to win 2-1 (9/2), Scotland to win 2-0 (12/1) and Rakitic to score next and Croatia win 3-1 (66/1). Head now to www.skybet.com to place your in-running bets.

After five long minutes of stoppage time, the referee blows his whistle and Scotland head into the break with a surprise 1-0 lead in Zagreb.

Moments later Rakitic has another bite of the cherry, only this time his low cross goes straight into the arms of McGregor.

Rakitic's cross into the box is feeble and Scotland can clear out of play.

Sammir is brought to ground on the left wing by Hutton and Croatia have a free kick.

McGregor delays taking the goal kick and the referee subsequently books him for time wasting.

The hosts pile forward as they sense an equaliser before the break but Srna's cross on the right wing this time goes straight into the side netting.

Srna comes agonisingly close to levelling the scores when his shot from the right side of the box is cleared off the line by Russell Martin.

There will be five additional minutes to be played before half-time due to that earlier stoppage when Pletikosa was hurt.

A lovely turn from Ivica Olic on the edge of the box gives him some space in which to shoot but he blazes over the bar.

Maloney hoists a high cross towards the back post but it comes to nothing and Croatia easily clear.

Snodgrass is pulled back by Simunic on the right wing and earns Scotland a potentially dangerous free kick.

Rakitic's cross on the right wing is far too close to McGregor, who takes a simple catch.

Scotland are enjoying a good period of possession once more but it ends with a hopeful long ball goes straight through to Pletikosa.

Perisic tries his luck from distance but his low shot goes well wide of the target.

Srna's dangerous cross from the right finds Rakitic but his diving header goes just wide. That's easily the closest Croatia have come to scoring tonight.

Croatia weren't expecting such a testing night and failure to win tonight would realyl dent their World Cup hopes, especially if Belgium beat Serbia tonight.

A dreadful backpass from Hanley puts McGregor in trouble but Sammir fires well over from the edge of the box. He really should have done better.

Griffiths' delivery into a far from crowded penalty area goes straight into the arms of Pletikosa.

Ivan Strinic fouls Snodgrass on the right wing and this is a good opportunity for Scotland to get the ball into the box.

Scotland weren't too bold with either set piece but after taking the lead, they will be content to keep things simple.

Frustration gets the better of Mandzukic as he fouls Hanley on the right to concede another free kick.

Maloney is playing really well in midfield and another mazy dribble results in a Scotland free kick.

Thankfully Pletikosa is fine to continue and Croatia can now get the game back under way.

The Scotland fans are using this break in play to savour the fact their team has taken a shock lead in this World Cup qualifier.

The game has come to a stop as Stipe Pletikosa receives treatment in the box after he took an accidental boot in the face from Snodgrass as they both went for the ball as the goal was scored.

GOAL SNODGRASS - Shaun Maloney embarks on a lovely run before Darijo Srna's attempted tackle inadvertantly deflects the ball into the path of Robert Snodgrass inside the box and the Norwich midfielder prods home from close range.

There's a lull in proceedings as neither side can keep control of the ball.

Ivan Rakitic's cross into the box but Mario Mandzukic is unable to get on the end of it.

Darijo Srna advances down the right wing and delivers a cross which Hutton heads behind for a corner.

Ivan Perisic lets fly from around 30 yards but Allan McGregor watches it sail into the crowd behind the goal.

Although Scotland do want to break their duck and pick up a win tonight, Mark McGhee did admit they would take a draw and that's how they're set up.

It's still quite a slow paced game at the moment and that will suit Scotland.

Ivica Olic fails to beat the offside trap on the left wing and can have no complaints.

Croatia are slowly beginning to dominate proceedings and are seeing much more of the ball than they did in the initial early exchanges.

Fortunately for Hanley and Scotland, the resulting corner comes to nothing.

Strinic crosses into the box from the right and Grant Hanley miscues his clearance, sending it behind for a corner.

It's a very warm evening here in Zagreb and maybe this quiet start from Croatia is just a case of energy conservation.

Lovely defensive skill from Alan Hutton prevents Ivan Perisic from whipping in a cross on Croatia's left wing.

The Croatian fans are sure to have one ear to the game between Belgium and Serbia tonight but the players must be firmly focused on their own job tonight.

Snodgrass is a bit too keen to win the ball off Ivan Strinic and the referee David Fernandez Borbalan of Spain blows his whistle for a foul.

Josip Simunic uses his experience to take the ball round Griffiths but he looks like he may have picked up a little niggle.

Barry Bannan plays it short to Morrison, who blasts his ambitious shot well over the bar.

The visitors have a free kick around 35 yards out and will look to pump this into the box.

Scotland's passing game hasn't created any openings up front thus far but at least they've had no early defending to do.

Obviously this is still very early stages, but Scotland certainly don't look like a side searching for their first win of the campaign. They are bossing possession at the moment but for how long, I'm not so sure.

Robert Snodgrass and James Morrison both work hard in midfield to keep Scotland in control of the ball and so far their travelling fans will be relatively impressed.

Nice little spell of possession from Scotland as they look to build confidence on the ball early in this contest.

Croatia press forward on the right before a high ball into the box is headed well over for a goal kick.

Leigh Griffiths chases a long ball forward and puts enough pressure on Stipe Pletikosa to force the goalkeeper into a wayward clearance.

The hosts make their intentions quite clear from the off by attacking down the left but it comes to nothing.

Scotland get this World Cup qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb under way, with both sets of supporters in good voice.

The teams are out on the pitch in Zagreb as we listen to both national anthems.

Unsurprisingly Croatia start as favourites to win this clash at 3/10 with Sky Bet while Scotland are as big as 10/1 and the draw is 4/1. Although I can't see anything other than a home win tonight (my correct score tip is 3/1 at 12/1), I do feel Leigh Griffiths is good value to score the opening goal at a price boosted 20/1 with Sky Bet. There are plenty of other price boosts available such as Mario Mandzukic to score first and Croatia to win 2-1 (33/1) and Ivica Olic to score first and either Croatia to win 2-0 or Croatia to win 3-0 (11/1). Head now to www.skybet.com to place your pre-match and in-running bets.

As you can see from the team sheets below, Leigh Griffiths will make his first start for Scotland after being tasked with leading the line. In the middle of the park will be James McArthur, Barry Bannan, skipper for the night James Morrison, Shaun Maloney and Robert Snodgrass. Allan McGregor is between the sticks, while Russell Martin and Grant Hanley are given the nod in the heart of defence, with Alan Hutton and Steven Whittaker in the full-back positions.

The Croatia team is: Pletikosa, Strinic, Simunic, Schildenfeld, Srna, Rakitic, Kovacic, Perisic, Sammir, Mandzukic, Olic. Subs: Kresic, Milic, Ilicevic, Vukojevic, Jelavic, Nikola Kalinic, Badelj, Kranjcar, Halilovic, Vida, Eduardo, Subasic.

The Scotland team is: McGregor, Hutton, Martin, Hanley, Whittaker, Maloney, Morrison, McArthur, Bannan, Snodgrass, Griffiths. Subs: Gilks, Conway, Naismith, Webster, Rhodes, Mackay-Steven, Hammell, Burke, Armstrong, Jack, Watt, Marshall.

By contrast, Croatia, who sit joint top with Belgium on 16 points, are aiming to making history for the right reasons as they chase a first ever win over Scotland to boost their hopes of reaching next year's World Cup.

Scotland are still waiting for their first victory in Group A as they sit bottom of the standings with just two points from six games so they don't exactly have much to play for tonight. That said, Gordon Strachan's side don't want to become the first Scotland team ever to go through a qualifying campaign without a win so they have four games, including tonight, to avoid making history for the wrong reasons.

Good evening and welcome to our live text commentary of the World Cup qualifier between Croatia and Scotland in Zagreb. If you want to air your views ahead of this Group A encounter then email me at christopher.hammer@bskyb.com. Kick-off is at 1915 BST.


There are no fixtures at present.

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