Modric screamer gives Croatia a deserved victory over Turkey

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.48.53 by JACK PRENTICE

Turkey 0-1 Croatia, Group D

Croatia opened their Euro 2016 campaign with a victory over Turkey at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

Croatia, who took third place at the World Cup in 1998 at the very same venue, dominated a Turkey side who qualified for the tournament by being the best third placed team in the qualification process.

Modric’s volley in the 41st minute lit up a first half full of endeavour and effort as Croatia struggled to break down a dogged Turkey side.

Croatia created plenty of chances in the second half as Darijo Srna and Ivan Perisic hit the woodwork and Turkish goalkeeper Volkan Bubocan was kept busy throughout.

It could have been so different for Turkey if they had converted one of their rare chances, with the best falling to Ozan Tufan.

Tufan looked destined to score with a free header from six yards out but could only head straight at Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic

Then, Croatia struck a decisive blow and made their pressure tell.

A deep left wing Croatian cross was only half cleared by a panicking defence, and Mehmet Topal’s skyward attempt to clear was magnificently volleyed in from 30 yards by Real Madrid maestro Modric, no more than Croatia deserved.

Srna then had two great chances in the second half as his free-kick hit the bar, before he then fired a rebound wide with the keeper nowhere to be seen.

Rakitic and Modric continued to run the game in the second half but Croatia, and in particular Marcelo Brozovic, failed to take them, as Perisic hit the crossbar with a six yard header that he really ought to have scored.

Turkey gave Croatia one last scare but the victors, led by centre-half Vedran Corluka, who was wearing a head bandage worthy of Terry Butcher, were able to cope comfortably.

Croatia face Czech Republic on Friday in St Etienne, with Turkey up against reigning champions Spain that evening in a game they simply cannot lose in Nice.

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