Croatia, the runner-up at the 2018 World Cup, lost the opening match of its qualifying campaign for the 2022 tournament as Slovenia secured a surprise 1-0 win in Ljubljana on Wednesday.

Sandi Lovric scored the only goal in the 15th minute inside Stozice Stadium, where there were no fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia opened Group H with a 3-1 win at Malta thanks to goals by Artem Dzyuba, Mario Fernandes and Aleksandr Sobolev.

Cyprus and Slovakia drew 0-0 in the other game in the group.

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