Croatia's Luka Modric tries to get by Iceland's Alfred Finnbogason in their 0-0 draw Friday.
Croatia's Luka Modric tries to get by Iceland's Alfred Finnbogason in their 0-0 draw Friday.
Brynjar Gauti/AP

Iceland overcame the second-half sending-off of Olafur Skulason to hold on for a 0-0 draw against Croatia in the first leg of their World Cup playoff on Friday, keeping the tiny Nordic nation in contention for a place at a first major tournament.

After a tight first half, the Croatians took command in Reykjavik after Skulason was dismissed for a professional foul in the 51st minute, but couldn't find a way past Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson and his packed defense.

Eduardo had a weak shot cleared away from near the goalline after barely a minute for Croatia, whose substitute Ivica Olic forced a fine reaction save from Halldorsson in the 55th.

The second leg is in Zagreb on Tuesday, with Iceland - with a population of around 320,000 - looking to become the least populous country to play at a World Cup.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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