Monday April 15, 2024

Wales drops points

Croatia on course for Euro 2024 spot with win over Latvia

Published : 18 Nov 2023, 23:04

Updated : 18 Nov 2023, 23:07

Croatia's Luka Modric, right, challenges for the ball with Latvia's Aleksejs Saveljevs, left, during the Euro 2024 group D qualifying soccer match between Latvia and Croatia at Skonto stadium in Riga, Latvia, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. Photo: AP/Roman Koksarov.

Croatia is on the verge of qualifying for next year's European Championship after beating Latvia 2-0 on Saturday as its closest rival Wales dropped points in a 1-1 draw with Armenia.

Early goals from Lovro Majer and Andrej Kramarić gave Croatia a comfortable victory at last-place Latvia.

Croatia will secure a qualifying spot on Tuesday with a win over Armenia in its last game or if Wales fails to beat Group D leader Turkey.

Wales' players started the day knowing that winning their last two games would ensure qualification but trailed after just five minutes. Lucas Zelarayan put Armenia ahead with a shot from the edge of the penalty area after Wales failed to clear a corner.

Wales went into halftime level following Nair Tiknizyan's own-goal but created little in the second half as Armenia looked the more likely team to win. Only two of Armenia's 19 shots were on target, though, and the draw meant Armenia's slim chances of qualifying were ended when Croatia won its game.

Wales previously won one of its games with World Cup semifinalist Croatia and drew the other but a 4-2 loss at home to Armenia in March was costly.

Belarus beat Andorra 1-0 in Group I.

The Netherlands, Switzerland and Romania can all secure European Championship spots later Saturday.