CROATIA coach Slaven Bilic was delighted after his side came from behind and scored an 88th-minute winner in Zagreb to pull them five points clear of England at the top of Group E.
"We are glad England were held to a 0-0 draw in Israel, it is a major bonus for us," said former West Ham defender Bilic (above).
"This is a big win for us because the Macedonians have shown once again they are a tough nut to crack. It came down to our character and quality."
Croatia fell behind to a goal from Macedonia captain Goce Sedloski. But Sedloski was sent off for a second bookable offence early in the second half.
Sub Darijo Srna drew level on the hour with a superb free kick and set up Eduardo da Silva to grab the clincher.