Croatia make it three in a row
Klagenfurt, June 16:
Ivan Klasnic scored to give Croatia a 1-0 win against Poland in a European Championship Group B match on Monday.
The 28-year-old striker became the first kidney transplant recipient to play at the European Championship, and in the 53rd minute he swept in a left-footed shot from a cross by stand-in captain Danijel Pranjic at Worthersee Stadium for his ninth goal in 30 internationals.
Playing their third European tournament, Croatia won all three group games for the first time. They will play Turkey in the quarter-finals on Friday in Vienna.
A second-string Croatia outclassed Poland for large parts of the match and it was only goalkeeper Artur Boruc who kept his team in the game. He twice rushed off his line to block shots by Klasnic and Ivan Rakitic after passes by Mladen Petric had cut open Poland defense in the first half.
In January 2007, the German-born Klasnic suffered kidney failure. Shortly afterward, he received a transplant but his body rejected the kidney donated by his mother. A couple of months later, he again underwent surgery to replace the rejected kidney with one from his father.
Klasnic, who wears a fiberglass shield to protect him on the field, is one of a small number of professional athletes to return after an organ transplant.