Vlaovic exploits Croatia's creativity

Turkey 0 Croatia 1

1

It was a big night for Croatia no matter what the result. A new nation, it was their first match at a major international finals, and they would have relished it even if they had lost. How enjoyable it was for them, then, that they emerged with a victory to take them to the group of Group D.

The goal that announced their arrival at Euro 96 arrived five minutes from the end. Goran Vlaovic received the ball on the half-way line, swept past a defender and then rounded the goalkeeper before passing into the net. It was a brilliant goal in an otherwise mundane match. Not that they will worry about that in Zagreb.

It was an historic moment for Croatia but it was a significant match, too, for Turkey who were also playing in their first European Championship finals. Once the sick men of Europe, just to be in England was achievement in itself as their only previous encounter with the international big time was in 954 World Cup in Switzerland.

The Turkish supporters have embraced the occasion like no others to date, trying their best to make Nottingham a second Istanbul, and the City Ground was ringing with their chants several hours before the start. "I'm not going over Trent Bridge" one taxi-driver said to a prospective passenger who reasoned it could not be more congested than for a cricket Test match. "It's far, far worse, " he replied. "It's bedlam."

The man the Turks came to applaud was the coach, Fatih Terim, who turned the team from cannon fodder into finalists. Ninety minutes before the kick-off he took to the pitch and received a welcome that the winning manager at Wembley on 30 June would be happy to accept. Only Brian Clough, you suspect, has had a better reception at the City Ground.

Croatia have built an awesome reputation for a fledgling nation that stems largely from their defeat of Italy in Sicily in their qualifying group. Their preparation for Euro 96 was also impressive, with four wins and two draws en route to Nottingham.

The Croatians have the pedigree, albeit recently acquired, but it was not obviously apparent in a first half that was shared equally. The Turks had less of the possession yet their counter-attacks, frequently led by Ogun Temizkanoglu, still carried a threat.

After six minutes Sergen Yalcin was just over with a volley from Hakan's Sukur's knock-down and four minutes later the Croats were grateful to Nikola Jerkan, as he intercepted Ogun's cross that was heading towards Hakan.

The Croats' build-up was slower and more precise, much of it flowing through Zvonimir Boban. The Milan midfielder is reported to have interested Alex Ferguson, and the Manchester United manager would not have been put off by the cultured way he dictated the tempo.

The best chance before the interval came after 25 minutes, when Davor Suker strayed to the right wing and took his marker with him. The cross came over and Alen Boksic, filled the gap heading over from the penalty spot when he should have at least hit the target.

The Croats began the second half at a greater pace, although they looked no nearer finding a way through the Turkish defence than they had beforehand. Boban made several dangerous driving runs into the area, but the final pass failed to locate him and it was possibly indicative of a mounting frustration when he was booked after 54 minutes. Two minutes later, the Croat captain was substituted.

The Turks still looked lively and Hakan was just inches away from getting his head to Sergen's free kick after 63 minutes. Then Sergen himself was narrowly wide with a volley three minutes later.

Goal: Vlaovic (86) 0-.

TURKEY (5-4-): Rustu (Fenerbahce); Vedat (Karabukspor), Alpay (Besikstas), Ogun (Trabzonspor), Rahim (Genclerbirligi), Abdullah (Trabzonspor); Sergen (Besikstas), Tugay (Galatasaray), Tolunay (Trabzonspor), Arif (Galatasaray); Hakan (Galatasaray). Substitutes: Hami (Trabzonspor) for Arif, 8; Saffet (Kocaelispor) for Tolunay, 88.

CROATIA (5-3-2): Ladic (Croatia Zagreb); Stanic (Club Bruges), Jerkan (Real Oviedo), Bilic (West Ham Utd), Stimac (Derby County), Jarni (Real Betis); Asanovic (Derby County), Boban (Milan), Prosinecki (Barcelona); Suker (Real Madrid), Boksic (Juventus). Substitutes: Soldo (Croatia Zagreb) for Boban, 58; Vlaovic (Padova) for Boksic, 73; Pavlicic (Hercules Alicante) for Suker, 90.

Referee: S Muhmenthaler (Switzerland).

Bookings: Turkey: Tolunay. Croatia: Asanovic, Boban, Soldo.

Man of the match: Sergen. Attendance: 22,406.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star