Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was relieved to secure their place at next year’s World Cup with Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Greece.
The second leg of their play-off at the Stadio Georgios Karaiskáki in Piraeus, near Athens, was enough to see the Croatians through after they won the first leg 4-1.
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"The qualifiers were hard, but we are where we belong," Modric said. "We maybe didn't play at the level we know tonight, but the result is most important.
"We were lacking energy and concentration, but we didn't lose the game and we all fought as one.
"We knew the crowd would be crazy, that they would push them forward, but we didn't give them a clear chance."
The Real Madrid midfielder also responded to uncertainty that coach Zlatko Dalic would lead the team in Russia, having taken over from Ante Cacic in early October.
"It would be crazy if Dalic wasn't the coach," Modric said. "He did a phenomenal job. I'd also like to thank coach Cacic.
"We have all done a good job. Croatia is above all and most importantly we are at the World Cup."