Croatia are on the verge of qualifying for next year’s European Championships after beating Latvia 2-0 on Saturday as their closest rival Wales dropped points in a 1-1 draw with Armenia.
Early goals from Lovro Majer and Andrej Kramaric gave Croatia a comfortable victory at last-place Latvia in Riga.
Croatia will secure a qualifying spot on Tuesday with a win over Armenia in their final game, or if Wales fail to beat Group D leaders Turkey.
Wales’ players started the day knowing that winning their final 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 half-time 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 their slim chances of qualifying were ended when Croatia won their game.
Wales previously won one of their games with World Cup semi-finalist Croatia and drew the other but a 4-2 loss at home to Armenia in March was costly.
Elsewhere, Belarus beat Andorra 1-0 in Group I. The Netherlands, Switzerland and Romania can all secure their European Championship spots later on Saturday.