Iceland held on for the last 40 minutes with 10 men for a 0-0 draw against Croatia in Reykjavik that keeps their hopes of World Cup qualification alive.

The home side, who with a population of around 320,000 are looking to become the least populous country ever to play at a World Cup, had Olafur Skulason sent off five minutes into the second half after a tangle with Ivan Perisic when the Croatian was through on goal.

It was the second blow for Lars Lagerback's team, who also had to replace the injured Ajax striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson just before the break. But they held on for a draw which gives them reason for optimism going into the second leg in Zagreb on Tuesday.

Sigthorsson and Alfred Finnbogason missed early chances for the home side and it was an even contest before the double-setback either side of half-time. From that point onwards it was the visitors who were in control but they could not find a way past the Iceland goalkeeper, Hannes Halldorsson and a determined defence.

Perisic came closest to a winner for the visitors but his shot flew wide with seven minutes to go and Iceland held on to the delight of around 10,000 home fans at the Laugardalsvollur stadium.

Elsewhere France's hopes of reaching the finals in Brazil are hanging by a thread after a 2-0 defeat against Ukraine in Kiev. Roman Zozulia gave the home side the lead on the hour and an Andriy Yarmolenko penalty with eight minutes to go doubled the advantage. Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny was sent off late on for Didier Deschamps's side.

Like Ukraine Greece are in a strong position after an emphatic 3-1 win over Romania in Piraeus.