ZAGREB, Croatia -- Ten-man Croatia qualified for the World Cup with a 2-0 win on Tuesday that quashed Icelands hopes of reaching footballs showpiece tournament for the first time. Striker Dario Mandzukic scored the opener in the 22nd minute but was given a red card nine minutes later for a reckless tackle and left Croatia with 10 men for the remainder of the match. But the home team maintained its attacking dominance and Darijo Srna made it 2-0 in the 47th. The defeat ended Icelands bid to become the smallest nation -- in terms of population -- to reach the World Cup finals. Croatia, a semifinalist in 1998, qualified for its fourth World Cup since becoming an independent state in 1991. "Croatia deserved to win," Iceland defender Ragnar Sigurdsson said. "It was the better team, especially today, and there is no doubt it deserves to go to Brazil. We felt it might go better for us after Mandzukic was sent off, but we did not get any space on the pitch." Last Friday in Reykjavik, Iceland overcame the second-half red card of Olafur Skulason to hold on for the 0-0 draw against Croatia, keeping the Nordic nation in contention for a spot at Brazil in 2014. But on Tuesday, Iceland had few chances against an inspired Croatian team. "Pressure was huge, this was not easy game to play," Croatia coach Niko Kovac said. "But at the end, it could have easily been 5-0." Croatia took the lead when Ivan Rakitic crossed from the right, Ivan Perisic deflected the ball in the heart of the penalty box, creating a clear opportunity for Mandzukic to finish with a low shot into the near corner. Bayern Munich striker Mandzukic was shown a straight red card after a tackle with his studs up against Johann Gudmundsson, and that changed Croatias tactical approach for the rest of the game. With Iceland going into an all-out attack, Croatia resorted to counter-attacks. Captain Srna doubled the lead two minutes into the second half when his shot from some 18 metres (yards) from the right bounced in front of Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldersson and ended up in the left corner of the goal. "We were focused throughout the playoffs and it was worth it," Srna said. "We had no right to disappoint our fans. Mandzukics sending off only gave us the wind in our backs." Openings in Icelands defence only created more chances for the Croats. Ivica Olic hit the crossbar with a spectacular overhead shot and Perisic failed to convert a one-on-one situation against the Iceland goalkeeper. "We are really happy to make it to the World Cup," Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric said. "Iceland was tough to play against, but we were a better team in the playoffs." Iceland was surprisingly unbeaten in its last five games on the road in these World Cup qualifications. "Croatia was a better and more experienced opponent and showed its strength," Iceland veteran striker Eidur Gudjohnsen said. "Still, we have to be proud of what we have done in this World Cup campaign." Calum Chambers Jersey
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. The 19-year-old from Westmount, Que., was edged 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3 by third-seeded Alize Cornet of France. Cornet broke Bouchard twice in the last set and saved six break points in the three-hour match.Every Grey Cup week serves as a barometer for the Canadian Football League as to where it sits in the national consciousness, its strengths and its challenges. As the final Grey Cup under outgoing commissioner Mark Cohon, it’s fair to look back and say his eight-year run has marked a period of stability and growth for the CFL. Since Cohon took office, there have been five stadiums either built, refurbished or that are underway right now. A possible sixth in the works as talks continue between the Toronto Argonauts and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment about a possible move to BMO Field. The CFL is in the first year of a new television deal that pays it handsomely in comparison to the one that expired at the end of last season. Cohon is the first commissioner of any significant duration in a generation not to have a team go bankrupt during his term and the great threat of the NFL’s potential move into Toronto has never seemed less likely in the past 25 years than it does today. That said, there are some clouds on the horizon that the CFL needs to address quickly in order to sustain the overall momentum it’s enjoyed over the past decade or so. First and foremost of those is Toronto, where the Argonauts have rarely been as less relevant than they are today, buried under the attention paid to the city’s other pro sports franchises and without a venue that allows them to attract fans through a live game experience. Then there is Montreal, a great comeback story for the CFL since returning to the league in 1996, which has seen attendance dip in recent seasons and drew just 15,000 fans to a playoff game two weeks ago.dddddddddddd Staying with attendance, this week in Vancouver marks the first non-sold-out Grey Cup game in at least a decade, which is the kind of conversation you don’t want out there during your championship week celebration. But perhaps the most important thing the CFL needs to address is the product itself. The CFL game this past year was more defensive, less explosive and less exciting than it used to be. There are all kinds of theories why, from expansion to injured quarterbacks to changes in officiating or the composition of rosters as part of a new CBA. Whatever it is, the CFL needs to solve it and fast. Those claims that CFL fans love to make about their game being more exciting and wide open than the four-down game right now don’t apply anymore and it’s hard to build a younger generation of fans when your product suffers not just in terms of star power in comparison to the NFL, but in entertainment value, as well. A more exciting game has always been the ace up the sleeve for Canadian football and its fans, but right now that’s not a card it can play. These are not the bad old days when the CFL leapt from crisis to crisis, but nor is it a time the league can afford to rest on the relative stability it has ridden to get here. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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