Zagreb, Oct 13 (Reuters) Striker Eduardo da Silva score in the 52nd minute to give Croatia a 1-0 win over Israel in their Euro 2008 Group E qualifier and keep them firmly on course to reach the finals in Austria and Swizterland.
Croatia stayed top of the group on 26 points from 10 matches and they will qualify on Wednesday if second-placed England, who have 23 after beating Estonia 3-0, win or draw at third-placed Russia, who have 18 points and a game in hand.
After an uneventful first half, Croatia laid siege to the Israeli penalty box and Eduardo grabbed the winner when he side-footed home an inviting cross from the right by Manchester City defender Vedran Corluka.
The visitors were on the back foot after falling behind and Luka Modric almost doubled Croatia's lead in the 56th minute when his crisp low shot from 20 metres flashed just wide of the far post.
Israel's best chance came on the hour after Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun weaved his way past two defenders and had Stipe Pletikosa in goal at full stretch with a fine shot from the edge of the penalty box.
Reuters DKS VP0222