Croatia gain some revenge on Turkey with Modric magic

PARIS: Croatia needed a touch of Luka Modric magic to beat Turkey 1-0 in their Euro 2016 Group D opener on Sunday, gaining a measure of revenge after their bitter quarter-final elimination by the same opponents at Euro 2008.

Inspirational playmaker Modric put Croatia in front with a fine volley from 25 metres that bounced in front of diving Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Babacan shortly before halftime of a tense affair at Parc des Princes.

The Real Madrid midfielder, who missed the opening penalty for Croatia in the 2008 shootout, made amends with an impressive display, organising his side with calm authority.

The game became scrappy with quite a few fouls, notably from Turkey, and Croatia defender Vedran Corluka had to play most of the match with a bandaged, bleeding head after being elbowed by striker Cenk Tosun while fighting for a high ball.

Croatia looked in command after the break and created a few opportunities, notably when captain Darijo Srna rattled the crossbar from a free kick after Rakitic was brought down outside the box.

Playing a major tournament in France brings back sweet memories for Croatia, who lost in the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup to host nation France before beating the Netherlands to finish third.