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Croatia

Published: Monday 4 June 2012, 9.10CET
Croatia defeated Turkey to take their place in Poland and Ukraine, sweet revenge against a side that dramatically denied Slaven Bilić's team in the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals.

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Published: Monday 4 June 2012, 9.10CET

Croatia

Croatia defeated Turkey to take their place in Poland and Ukraine, sweet revenge against a side that dramatically denied Slaven Bilić's team in the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals.

Best EURO performance: quarter-finals 1996, 2008
Coach: Slaven Bilić
Leading scorer:
all-time – Davor Šuker (45); current – Eduardo (23)
Most appearances: all-time – Dario Šimić (100); current – Josip Šimunić (95)
Association formed: 1912
Nickname: Kockasti (Checks)

Croatia seemed to have not so much a foot but both feet in the UEFA EURO 2008 semi-finals after Ivan Klasnić's 119th-minute opener against Turkey, yet coach Slaven Bilić had barely returned to the bench after the wild celebrations that ensued when Semih Şentürk scored a dramatic equaliser. With fate at its most capricious, Turkey prevailed on spot kicks; Croatia went home chastened, the hangover lasting throughout 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying as they finished third behind England and Ukraine. Second to Greece this time around, their reward was a rematch with Turkey in the play-offs – and revenge was sweet.

UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying
Group F: runners-up
Play-offs: Turkey 0-3 0-0 Croatia (0-3 on agg)
Leading scorer: Niko Kranjčar (4)
Ever-presents:
none

Making his first competitive start in 13 months, Ivica Olić struck after two minutes in Istanbul as Croatia claimed what proved an unassailable 3-0 first-leg lead over Turkey in the play-offs. "Thank God it's over – we made it," Bilić said after the second leg against Turkey. "After everything we went through in qualifying we are back where we belong: at EURO."

With Group F leaders Greece trailing 1-0 to Georgia, Croatia were 11 minutes from automatic qualification before goals from Giorgos Fotakis and Angelos Charisteas turned things round.

Croatia's 2-1 victory over Georgia in June was the 200th game in their 21-year history as an independent nation. Their first match, against the United States in 1990, also ended 2-1.

EURO pedigree
Croatia have qualified for four out of five tournaments since the break-up of Yugoslavia, their only failure coming in 2000. Inspired by three-goal Davor Šuker, Miroslav Blažević's 1996 vintage reached the last eight in their maiden finals appearance, before defeat against Germany.

Eliminated after the group stage in 2004, four years later they won three out of three, including a 2-1 victory against Germany. The semi-finals beckoned before Turkey's last-gasp equaliser and then penalties.

Croatia contributed players to the Yugoslavia team that twice finished runners-up at the UEFA European Championship, losing the inaugural showpiece 2-1 in extra time against the Soviet Union in 1960 and going down 2-0 to hosts Italy in a final replay eight years later.

UEFA EURO 2012 Group C fixtures
Sunday 10 June:
Republic of Ireland v Croatia, 20.45CET, Poznan
Thursday 14 June: Italy v Croatia, 18.00CET, Poznan
Monday 18 June: Croatia v Spain, 20.45CET, Gdansk

Team EURO records
Matches played
Overall: P63 W39 D14 L10 F112 A47
Final tournament: P
11 W5 D3 L3 F14 A13
Qualifying: P
52 W34 D11 L7 F98 A34

Click here for extensive list of records

Last updated 4 June 2012

Last updated: 06/12/13 4.43CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/news/newsid=1733318.html#croatia

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