Luton keeper on the bench as Croatia qualify for 2022 World Cup in dramatic fashion by beating Russia

Town keeper could well be on the plane to Qatar next year

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 15th November 2021, 10:46 am
Simon Sluga, left, celebrates Croatia's win over Russia and World Cup qualification

Luton keeper Simon Sluga was on the bench as Croatia secured their place in next year's World Cup Finals by snatching a dramatic late winner against Russia over the weekend.

With the hosts needing a win to ensure qualification from Group H, as a draw would have sufficed for leaders Russia, it looked like Croatia had left it too late, only to take the lead through a late own goal by Fedor Kudryashov with just nine minutes remaining.

Vyacheslav Karavayev had the chance to make it 1-1 in the 90th minute but shot over the bar as victory saw the Croatians finishing top with 23 points, one point ahead of Russia.

Although Sluga didn't feature in any of the eight qualifiers, he could still be part of the squad for Qatar after regularly being called up by manager Zlatko Dalić.

Meanwhile, the Premier League has confirmed they will have a mid-season break for the World Cup next year, with the campaign pausing between November 14 and December 26.

The Championship is expected to announce a similar scenario as a number of their sides would be decimated by call-ups too.

Luton will kick-off their campaign on August 6, 2022, before finishing later than usual, on May 28, 2023.