Paris, June 12 (IANS) Croatia began their Euro football championship campaign here on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Turkey courtesy star midfielder Luka Modric’s superb volleyed goal.
The Real Madrid midfielder scored with a dipping volley on 41 minutes to give Croatia a 1-0 lead at half-time. It turned out to be the decider for the Group D match.
Modric’s goal was the stand out event in an otherwise cagey first half at the Parc des Princes.
The 30-year-old diminutive midfielder launched a booming volley from 25 yards away from goal that caught Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Babacan off guard and his valiant effort couldn’t keep out the ball from sneaking into the net.
The two teams found little space to create meaningful attacks and resorted to high crosses into their opponent’s penalty area.
But both were guilty of missing their opportunities after fielding full strength line-ups until Modric stepped up and produced a moment of magic.
Turkey came to Euro 2016 having lost just once in 16 games since 2014 under coach Fatih Terim, who is coaching the national team at his third European tournament over three spells in charge.
But it was all Croatia after the break as they struck the bar twice, first in the 50th minute.
FC Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic embarked on a great run from deep, skipping past several defenders, before he was clipped from behind just on the edge of the box.
Veteran Dario Srna’s free-kick crashed in the post and went out with goalkeeper Babacan rooted to his stance.
Croatia came close again in the 73rd minute. Ivan Perisic was unlucky this time as his header at the near post from a Mario Mandzukic right-flanked centre beat the keeper but to come back off the crossbar.
Croatia stepped up the pressure with Modric and Rakitic pulling strings. Turkey were also dogged as they hung in their, trailing by the narrowest margin.
But they didn’t have the extra edge required to score and get a point out of the tie.