ZAGREB: Ante Budimir’s second international goal was enough for Croatia to book their place at the Euro 2024 finals in Germany following a 1-0 victory over Armenia in Zagreb as they finished runner-up in qualification Group D.

Croatia camped in the Armenia half without creating clear-cut chances until Budimir’s headed goal two minutes before halftime. Borna Sosa’s cross from the left was perfect for the forward to get ahead of his marker and score from six yards out.

Luka Modric was superb for the home side as he belied his 38 years and pulled the strings in midfield, allowing them to control the tempo in the second half and create several other scoring chances that were spurned.

Turkey topped the pool with 17 points from their eight games, one more than Croatia. Wales had to settle for a place in the playoffs, while Armenia’s dream had been extinguished before their final game.

It was a sixth successive qualification for the continental finals for Croatia, and their seventh overall, having finished second and third at the last two World Cups, but never gone beyond the quarter-finals at the Euros.

However Wales will have to take their chances in the playoffs after their automatic qualifying hopes were dashed following a 1-1 draw with Turkey in their final Group D game.

Needing to beat Turkey to have a chance of qualifying at the expense of Croatia, who were hosting Armenia, Wales made a dream start as Neco Williams fired them ahead after seven minutes.

But the mood of euphoria inside the Cardiff City Stadium began to wane with news of a Croatia goal before halftime, with the Welsh fans knowing that even beating Turkey would not be enough if the Croats claimed victory.

Hope then ebbed further away when Yusuf Yazici equalised for Turkey from the penalty spot after 70 minutes.

Wales, whose 1-1 draw away to Armenia at the weekend took their fate out of their own hands, did have the ball in the net late on but Brennan Johnson’s effort was ruled out for offside.

Elsewhere Romania held off Switzerland to secure a 1-0 home victory thanks to a second-half goal from Denis Alibec to finish their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign unbeaten and top of Group I.

In Athens Greece came from a goal down to hold France to a 2-2 draw in their final qualifier in Group B denying Didier Deschamps’ side a perfect record in their qualifying campaign.

Randal Kolo Muani scored just before halftime before Greece levelled in the 56th minute through Anastasios Bakasetas and Fotis Ioannidis gave the hosts the lead five minutes later. Youssouf Fofana equalised for France in the 74th minute.

Netherlands’ Calvin Stengs netted a hat-trick as they easily disposed of Gibraltar 6-0. Gibraltar have conceded 20 goals in their two internationals this month while goalkeeper Dayle Coleling, 27, has now let in 101 goals in 31 appearances.