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Croatia contemplate Turkey task

Croatia face the first team they ever played in a final tournament on the European stage when they meet Turkey in the second quarter-final at Vienna's Ernst-Happel-Stadion.

Luka Modrić is congratulated after scoring for Croatia
Luka Modrić is congratulated after scoring for Croatia ©Getty Images

Croatia face the first team they ever played in a final tournament on the European stage when they meet Turkey in the second UEFA EURO 2008™ quarter-final at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna.

• Turkey were the opposition for Croatia's tournament debut at EURO '96™ and Slaven Bilić, now coach of Croatia but then a fixture in their defence, would settle happily for a repeat of the result that day, Goran Vlaović scoring the only goal in Nottingham after 86 minutes.

• If Croatia produced the late show then, it is Turkey who have provided much of the last-gasp drama here in Austria and Switzerland. After losing their opening game 2-0 to Portugal, Fatih Terim's team responded in style to secure second spot in Group A – albeit while shredding their supporters' nerves in the process. First they retrieved a half-time deficit to defeat co-hosts Switzerland 2-1 through goals from Semih Şentürk and Arda Turan, the latter's winning strike coming two minutes into added time.

• They topped that by coming from two goals behind to beat the Czech Republic 3-2 in a thrilling group decider last Sunday, captain Nihat Kahveci turning the game on its head with two goals in the final four minutes. After Czech pair Jan Koller (34) and Jaroslav Plašil (62) had found the net, Arda (75) gave Turkey hope before Nihat's double strike on 87 and 89 minutes.

• The only downside came with the last-minute dismissal of goalkeeper Volkan Demirel who will miss this quarter-final through suspension and also the semi-final, should Turkey win.

• Croatia's passage to the last eight was more straightforward, Bilić's men recording three straight wins to finish top of Group B. After Luka Modrić's fourth-minute penalty earned a narrow win against co-hosts Austria, Croatia underlined their potential by defeating Germany 2-1, Darijo Srna (24) and Ivica Olić (62) their scorers, before Lukas Podolski (79) narrowed the deficit late on.

• With first place in the section already secured, Ivan Klasnić (53) then ensured Croatia a 100 per cent record in the group with the only goal of their meeting with Poland on Monday.

• Both teams have reached the quarter-finals only once before, Croatia at EURO '96™ and Turkey at UEFA EURO 2000™. Both were beaten, Croatia going down 2-1 to Germany while Turkey lost 2-0 to Portugal.

• This will be the fourth meeting between two teams who first played each other at EURO '96™. Terim was coach of Turkey that day in what was also their first appearance at a UEFA European Championship final tournament. Bilić and his assistants Aljoša Asanović and Robert Prosinečki all played, and it was from an Asanović pass that Vlaović sprinted through to score the only goal.

• The teams for that game on 11 June 1996 were:
Turkey: Rüştü Reçber, Alpay Özalan, Vedat Inceefe, Tugay Kerimoğlu, Ogün Temizkanoglu, Hakan Şükür, Rahim Zafer, Sergen Yalçın, Abdullah Ercan, Arif Erdem (Hami Mandirali 82), Hakki Tolunay Kafkas (Saffet Sancakli).
Croatia: Dražen Ladić, Robert Jarni, Igor Štimac, Nikola Jerkan, Slaven Bilić, Aljoša Asanović, Robert Prosinečki, Davor Šuker (Dubravko Pavličić 90), Zvonimir Boban (Zvonimir Soldo 57), Alen Bokšic (Goran Vlaović 73), Mario Stanić.

• Since then the teams have met twice more, drawing on both occasions. It finished 1-1 when they faced off in June 1997 in a Kirin Cup match in the Japanese city of Sendai. Ertuğrul Sağlam's 80th-minute goal cancelled out Tomislav Erceg's opener for Croatia in a game where Croatia's Dario Šimić and Turkey's Rüştü Reçber both featured.

• Turkey fought back from two goals down to earn a draw in their most recent meeting, a Zagreb friendly in March 2004. Croatia led 2-0 through goals from Tomo Šokota (2) and Srna (72) but within six minutes of their second goal it was 2-2 after Turkey's Zafer Biryol (73) and Çağdaş Atan (78) found the net.

• The starting lineups that evening were:
Croatia: Stipe Pletikosa, Mario Tokić, Josip Šimunić, Tomaš Stjepan, Igor Tudor, Boris Zivković, Ivica Mornar, Marko Babić, Dado Pršo, Milan Rapaic, Tomo Šokota.
Turkey: Rüştü Reçber, Fatıh Akyel, Ümit Özat, Deniz Bariş, Hakan Şükür, Tuncay Şanlı, Nihat Kahveci, Gökdeniz Karadeniz, Ibrahim Toramani, Tolga Seyhan, Serkan Balci.

• Turkey captain Emre Belözoglu played with Croatia defender Šimić at FC Internazionale Milano in 2001/02.

• Croatia defender Vedran Ćorluka will not want to remember the last time he faced Turkey forward Tuncay Sanlı. Tuncay was part of the Middlesbrough FC team that beat Ćorluka's Manchester City FC 8-1 on the final day of the 2007/08 English Premier League season on 11 May.

• Besides leading Turkey to their first EURO finals in 1996, coach Terim also oversaw the first triumph by a Turkish team in European competition when Galatasaray AS beat Arsenal FC in the 2000 UEFA Cup final.

• Although Terim's Galatasaray won that final on penalties, neither Croatia nor Turkey have ever contested a penalty shoot-out in a major final tournament.

• This is the 13th edition of the UEFA European Championship and the fourth final tournament that features a quarter-final stage. There were no quarter-finals in the 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992 editions of the competition, with the teams going straight from the group stage into the semi-finals.

• The winners of this tie will meet the winners of the quarter-final match between Group A winners Portugal and Germany, the runners-up in Group B, in the first semi-final at Basel's St. Jakob-Park, on Wednesday 25 June.

• The winners of that game will be the designated home team for the final at Vienna's Ernst-Happel-Stadion on 29 June.