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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Arts and Entertainment
Shelley Duvall stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
filmCritic Kaleem Aftab picks his favourites for Halloween
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballBeating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Life and Style
Google's doodle celebrating Halloween 2014
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes