Croatia v Poland, 16 June 2008

Score1-0 to Croatia
RefereeKyros Vassaras
CompetitionUEFA European Championship Finals Group B
VenueWoerthersee Stadion
Attendance30,461
Kick-Off: 8.45pm local Assistant referees: Dimitrios Bozatzidis (Greece) Dimitrios Saraidaris (Greece) Fourth official: Olegário Benquerença (Portugal) Man of the Match: Ivan Klasnić (Croatia) Croatia rested a host of players yet still proved too strong for Poland as they won 1-0 in Klagenfurt to finish on maximum points in Group B and confirm their opponents' early exit. Ivan Klasnić scored the winner early in the second half at the Wörthersee Stadion to end another defiant show from goalkeeper Artur Boruc and further boost Croatia's confidence before they tackle Turkey in the quarter-finals. Poland's slim qualifying hopes rested on at least a two-goal victory here and a win for Austria over Germany, and neither came off as Michael Ballack struck the only goal in Vienna. Poland needed goals so it was something of a surprise that Leo Beenhakker chose to omit Euzebiusz Smolarek, whose marksmanship played a big part in securing qualification to UEFA EURO 2008 as group winners ahead of Portugal. The coach also left out defender Jacek Bąk who had been hoping to make his 97th appearance. As expected, Slaven Bilić made wholesale changes to the Croatia team with only two players retained from the starting XI who had conjured the famous victory over Germany. One of those was left-back Danijel Pranjić and when he made an early forward raid it left a gap which Poland were quick to exploit. Marek Saganowski headed on for Wojciech Łobodziński whose cross brought goalkeeper Vedran Runje out to clear, injuring Dario Knežević in the process. Although the right-back played on after treatment, he was eventually forced off in the 27th minute. By that stage Croatia were taking a firm grip on proceedings and only the brilliance of Boruc kept the score at 0-0. Mladen Petrić played Klasnić in but out came the Poland No1 to make another of those blocks that so frustrated Austria four days ago. From a difficult angle, Ivan Rakitić then found Boruc in the way as he attempted to clip the ball across into the area. After a promising start in which Dariusz Dudka got up well to meet a corner only to place his header wide, Poland were largely on the back foot. On the stroke of half-time Boruc came to the rescue again after Klasnić had skilfully worked an opening. In the 53rd minute Klasnić at last got the better of him. The architect was Pranjić and when he picked out the striker in the penalty area, Klasnić stylishly whipped the ball back across Boruc and into the far corner. Despite the introduction of Smolarek, things remained relatively easy for Croatia's defence with Dario Šimić, winning his 99th cap, also looking to attack from right-back when the opportunity presented itself. A smart turn from Roger Guerreiro almost brought Poland back into the contest but he was narrowly wide of the mark. It was a rare moment of hope for the massed ranks of their supporters seated behind the Croatia goal, though another arrived soon after when Marcin Wasilewski's header forced Runje to stretch. Bilić could afford to give Nikola Kalinić his first run-out at the tournament and only his second cap late on, although Poland did threaten parity when Smolarek fired just wide and substitute Tomasz Zahorski saw a great opening closed by the diving Runje.

1  Croatia

Manager: Slaven Bilic

0  Poland

Manager: Leo Beenhakker

Goals:

Ivan Klasnic 52 G

Goals:

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Vedran Runje
Defender Dario Knezevic
Defender Dario Simic (captain)
Defender Hrvoje Vejic
Defender/Midfielder Nikola Pokrivac
Midfielder Jerko Leko
Midfielder Danijel Pranjic
Midfielder Ivan Rakitić
Midfielder Ognjen Vukojevic
Forward Ivan Klasnic
Forward Mladen Petric

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Artur Boruc
Defender Dariusz Dudka
Defender Jakub Wawrzyniak
Defender Michal Zewlakow (captain)
Midfielder Jacek Krzynowek
Midfielder Mariusz Lewandowski
Midfielder Rafal Murawski
Midfielder Roger Guerreiro

Substitutions:

Vedran Corluka for Dario Knezevic 26
Nikola Kalinić for Ivan Klasnic 74
Niko Kranjcar for Mladen Petric 75

Substitutions:

Adam Kokoszka for Mariusz Lewandowski 46
Ebi Smolarek for Wojciech Lobodzinski 55
Tomasz Zahorski for Marek Saganowski 69

Cards:

Hrvoje Vejic 45 Y
Ognjen Vukojevic 85 Y

Cards:

Mariusz Lewandowski 38 Y
Tomasz Zahorski 84 Y

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Mario Galinovic
Goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa
Defender Vedran Corluka
Defender Josip Simunic
Defender/Midfielder Darijo Srna
Midfielder Niko Kovac
Midfielder Niko Kranjcar
Midfielder Luka Modrić
Forward Igor Budan
Forward Nikola Kalinić
Forward Ivica Olic

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański
Goalkeeper Wojciech Kowalewski
Defender Jacek Bak
Defender Pawel Golanski
Defender Mariusz Jop
Defender Adam Kokoszka
Defender Michal Pazdan
Defender Lukasz Piszczek
Midfielder Lukasz Gargula
Forward Ebi Smolarek
Forward Tomasz Zahorski

Comments:

- Croatia became only the sixth team to win all three group matches at a European Championship. The previous five all made it to at least the semi-finals. - Croatia have now fielded 22 players at Euro 2008, which overtakes the total by Portugal who deployed their 21st player on Sunday. The only Croatian that is still missing in action is goalkeeper Mario Galinovic. - Dario Simic made his 99th international appearance and his first at Euro 2008. In the quarter-finals he can become the first player from his country to win 100 caps for Croatia. He also became the only Croatian to have appeared in all three European Championship participations (1996, 2004, 2008) of that nation.

Comments:

- Poland became the next debutants to make their exit in the group phase. Since 1992, Croatia's 1996 campaign marks the only newcomers to survive the group stage in European Championships. Poland leave the tournament with one goal to their account, a goal which was scored by a Brazilian-born player. - Poland coach Leo Beenhakker remained winless as a head coach in 10 matches at major championships.