Rijeka (Croatia), June 5 (IANS) Mario Mandzukic and Nikola Kalinic scored their first international hat-tricks in a 10-0 thrashing of San Marino in a football friendly match ahead of the Euro 2016.
San Marino, 200th in world rankings, held off the Croatian attacks initially until Dinamo Zagreb forward Marko Pjaca deflected a shot from Real Madrid star Luka Modric to score his first international goal in the 20th minute at the at Rujevica Stadium on Saturday, reports Xinhua.
In the next five minutes, Mandzukic and captain Darijo Srna were on target to triple Croatian lead.
In a span of two minutes, from 36th to 38th, Juventus striker Mandzukic completed his first international hat trick, both times scoring on low crosses from Srna.
Two minutes later it was Ivan Perisic who took and converted a free kick from 20 meters for the Croatian national team record of six goals scored in one half.
FC Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic needed five minutes of play in the second half to equal the best Croatian scoring performance of 7-0 and it was obvious that San Marino’s modest team will not be able to sustain the pressure from Ante Cacic’s men.
Fiorentina striker Kalinic, who was a second half substitute, scored his first international hat-trick between 59th to 84th minute.
The Croatian players shot 18 times on target and 10 of those ended up in the net. On the other hand, Croatian defenders didn’t allow San Marino amateurs any shot on goal.
“It was a good decision to have this kind of opponent because we had a full squad in a training camp only for a few days. We will have enough tough battles in France,” Croatian manager Cacic said after San Marino match.
The scoring performance put the Croatian team in a good mood and Cacic was satisfied with the approach and mentality of his players. But he is aware this would mean nothing if Croatia could not make a successful start at Euro 2016 against Turkey on June 12 in Paris.