European Championship

Turkey 0-1 Croatia

By Paul FletcherBBC Sport at Parc des Princes

Luka Modric scored a sensational long-range volley as Croatia deservedly opened their Euro 2016 campaign with victory over Turkey in Paris.

Modric struck towards the end of the first half and his team created numerous chances to extend their lead as they dominated after the interval.

Darijo Srna and Ivan Perisic struck the woodwork while Turkey keeper Volkan Babacan made several good saves as Croatia won the first match of a tough group that includes Spain and the Czech Republic.

Turkey's best chance came in the opening half, when Ozan Tufan saw his header saved - but despite being roared on by their passionate fans inside the Parc des Princes, they were second best on Sunday.

They did produce one scare for the Croatian defence right at the end but there was a timely block from Vedran Corluka, who was wearing a white bandage that evoked shades of former England defender Terry Butcher after suffering a cut to his head from a stray elbow in the first half.

Magic from Modric

Just minutes before Modric broke the deadlock with his sensational volley, the Real Madrid playmaker had thrown his arms out in a gesture of frustration at a team-mate, indicating how he had wanted to receive the ball.

The match was turning out to be a contest more about balls into the box from wide areas than defence-splitting passes. That was despite an abundance of talented midfielders on display, including Modric, Barcelona pair Ivan Rakitic and Arda Turan, plus Besiktas' highly-rated but disappointing Oguzhan Ozyakup, who was withdrawn at the break.

Veteran right-back Srna had delivered several telling crosses into the Turkey area, as did Ivan Perisic from the left side, although Marcelo Brozovic in particular was guilty of failing to make the most of the openings.

That all changed shortly before the break when Modric showed superb technique to strike crisply from 25 yards after a clearance from Selcuk Inan had looped high into the cloudy Paris sky.

As the 30-year-old slid on his knees towards his team's fans - one of whom invaded the pitch to joint the celebrations - Turkey keeper Babacan might have wondered if he should have done better with the dipping shot.

Croatia's attacking threat
The majority of Croatia's attacks came down the right, where captain Darijo Srna flooded forward from right-back

Croatia: one of the dark horses?

Croatia coach Ante Cacic said before Euro 2016 started that he hoped his team could be one of the surprises of the tournament, while several prominent Croatians think this might just be their most talented group of players.

There was certainly much to admire as Sunday's match wore on, with Rakitic finally starting to punch holes in the Turkish defence and Croatia repeatedly threatening to score a decisive second.

The superb Srna skimmed the crossbar with a free-kick and Perisic headed against the woodwork as Cacic's side looked to score a decisive second.

Brozovic also went close with an acrobatic volley and a header that was tipped over as his side showed they have the ability to open up the opposition.

What they do lack is a mobile forward, with the battering ram that is Mario Manduzic not ideally suited to the style espoused by the playmakers behind him.

Fatih Terim
Turkey boss Fatih Terim (right) speaks to substitute Emre Mor, who became the youngest player to appear for Turkey

Tough times for Terim

Turkey reached the semi-finals at Euro 2008 after beating Croatia on penalties, but will have to show a vast improvement if they are to make the last four here.

Fatih Terim is in his third spell in charge of Turkey and his side showed plenty of resilience to qualify for Euro 2016 after a terrible start to their qualifying campaign.

But they were second best against Croatia, with a defence that was opened up repeatedly after the break and an attack that offered little.

Barcelona midfielder Turan, Terim's captain and key player, was a peripheral presence and was withdrawn with 25 minutes remaining, while free-kick specialist Hakan Calhanoglu, who has been compared to Mesut Ozil, was also disappointing.

It was telling that the introduction of Emre Mor after 69 minutes was greeted by a huge roar from the Turkey fans.

Mor is regarded as a huge talent but the playmaker is just 18 and if Terim is turning to him to bail out his team, then they clearly have problems.

Man of the match - Luka Modric

Luka Modric
Modric made more passes and had more touches than any other player on the pitch

What they said

Croatia coach Ante Cacic: "Luka really deserves to be talked about, especially after this match. It was one of his best matches in Croatia's history. He played really well and he was our leader.

"He scored a magical goal and at the end it was the only goal. We need Luka in this form. All the team looks better and more aggressive when he plays like that."

Stats you need to know

  • Discounting teams that have played only once, Croatia have the joint-best opening game record at the European Championship, alongside the former Soviet Union. Both have won four of five games.
  • Turkey have lost all four of their opening group games at the European Championships (1996, 2000, 2008, 2016), the worst record in the competition's history.

What next?

Croatia face Czech Republic on Friday in St Etienne, with Turkey up against reigning champions Spain later the same evening in Nice.



Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Babacan
  • 7Gönül
  • 15Topal
  • 3BaltaBooked at 48mins
  • 18Erkin
  • 8Inan
  • 6Calhanoglu
  • 16Tufan
  • 14OzyakupSubstituted forSenat 45'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 10TuranSubstituted forYilmazat 65'minutes
  • 9TosunBooked at 31minsSubstituted forMorat 69'minutes


  • 2Kaya
  • 4Calik
  • 5Sahin
  • 11Sahan
  • 12Recep Kivrak
  • 13Köybasi
  • 17Yilmaz
  • 19Malli
  • 20Sen
  • 21Mor
  • 22Ozbayrakli
  • 23Tekin


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 23Subasic
  • 11Srna
  • 5Corluka
  • 21Vida
  • 3StrinicBooked at 80mins
  • 10Modric
  • 19Badelj
  • 14Brozovic
  • 7RakiticSubstituted forSchildenfeldat 89'minutes
  • 4PerisicSubstituted forKramaricat 87'minutes
  • 17MandzukicSubstituted forPjacaat 90+3'minutes


  • 1Vargic
  • 2Vrsaljko
  • 6Jedvaj
  • 8Kovacic
  • 9Kramaric
  • 12L Kalinic
  • 13Schildenfeld
  • 15Rog
  • 16N Kalinic
  • 18Coric
  • 20Pjaca
Jonas Eriksson

Match Stats

Home TeamTurkeyAway TeamCroatia
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Turkey 0, Croatia 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Turkey 0, Croatia 1.

  3. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  4. Post update

    Delay in match Vedran Corluka (Croatia) because of an injury.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Croatia. Marko Pjaca replaces Mario Mandzukic.

  6. Post update

    Hakan Balta (Turkey) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Mario Mandzukic (Croatia).

  8. Booking

    Volkan Sen (Turkey) is shown the yellow card.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Volkan Sen (Turkey).

  10. Post update

    Darijo Srna (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Emre Mor (Turkey) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Selcuk Inan.

  12. Post update

    Gökhan Gönül (Turkey) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Andrej Kramaric (Croatia).

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Croatia. Gordon Schildenfeld replaces Ivan Rakitic.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Croatia. Andrej Kramaric replaces Ivan Perisic.

  16. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  17. Post update

    Delay in match Ivan Perisic (Croatia) because of an injury.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ivan Rakitic with a through ball.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Caner Erkin (Turkey) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

  20. Booking

    Ivan Strinic (Croatia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

As It Stood




3Football Union of Russia10101101


3Northern Ireland100101-10


2Czech Rep00000000


3R. of Ireland00000000


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