Turks eliminate Croatia 3-1

Vienna, June 20:

Rustu Recber saved a penalty shot from Mladen Petric on Friday to send Turkey into the European Championship semi-finals with a 3-1 shootout win over Croatia after a 1-1 draw through extra time.

Arda Turan, Semih Senturk and Hamit Altintop scored for Turkey in the shootout. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic also missed their penalties.

After a scoreless 90 minutes of regulation, Ivan Klasnic gave Croatia the lead with a header in 119th minute. Semih Senturk equalised in injury time with a hard shot from inside the area. Turkey will face Germany in the semi-finals on Wednesday in Basel, Switzerland.

In a low quality match marked by defensive caution, a depleted

Turkish team restricted Croatia to few opportunities by pressing in midfield and not allowing their opponents time on the ball. Croatia striker Ivica Olic hit the crossbar in the 19th minute from close range after a low cross from Luka Modric, but both teams were too often guilty of taking the wrong option in the final third of the field.

Turkey goalkeeper Rustu Recber, playing for the suspended Volkan Demirel, preserved the scoreline in the 83rd when he made an amazing one-handed save from a free kick by Darijo Srna.

Both teams made their European Championship debut at Euro 1996 and played each other, with Croatia winning 1-0 with current coach Slaven Bilic playing in defense as Turkey finished the tournament in England without scoring a goal. The only other previous matches between the teams had resulted in draws, 1-1 in 1997 and 2-2 in 2004.

Turkey started brightly with Arda Turan and Tuncay Sanli running at Croatia’s compressed defensive alignment, while Hamit Altintop drove forward from the centre of midfield instead of his listed right back position. The Turks were missing Emre Gungor (calf), Servet Cetin (hip and knee), Emre Belozoglu (groin), Tumer Metin (groin), while Demirel and defensive midfielder Mehmet Aurelio were both suspended.

Recber replaced Demirel to play his 117th international match, but he failed to come for a through ball in the 11th and only a timely intervention by a defender prevented Srna’s pass across goal reaching a teammate.

Eight minutes later, Srna threaded a pass behind the defense and Modric’s low, sweeping cross was thundered against the crossbar by Ivica Olic from inside the box, and Niko Kranjcar’s follow-up header went wide.


Croatia 1 (Klasnic 119’) Turkey 1 (Senturk 120’)(Turkey won 3-1 on penalties)