The only people happy after this game would of been a small section of Tottenham HotspurÂ fans after seeing a relativleyÂ impressive display from new boy Luka Modric.Â Austrians would of hoped for more from the co hosts, they huffed and puffed but failed to fire. Croatians would of expected a much more comfortable afternoon against the lowest ranked side in the Euro’s.Â
Â Modric himself wasn’t at his best, but inÂ a lacklustre Croatian side he shone, the extent of their excurstions though were all to plain to see as a host of Slaven Bilic’s side slumped to the ground at the full time whistle
Austria providedÂ a stern test as CroatiaÂ kicked off their Euro 2008 campaign with a 1-0 victory in Group B.
Luka ModricÂ scored the only goal with a penalty in the fourth minute after Rene Aufhauser clumsy challenge onÂ Ivica Olic .
Croatia started the better side, but once the goal had gone in Austria woke up and began to applyÂ some pressure, but they missed a number of opportunities to draw level.
The momentum stayed with Austria after the break and continued to build as, roared on by their home crowd in Vienna, they pinned Croatia back.
The introduction of subs for both sides failed to change the flow of the game, Austria were solid but not very enlightening and in Ivanschitz they had hoped for more. Croatia held there own, but will come up against stronger sides who could punish their hesitency at the back.
Stipe Pletikosa parried away Umit Korkmaz’s effort moments from the end as Croatia clung on to pick up three points and leave Austria with an uphill task to reach the quarter-finals, another defeat will spell the end of their tournament and huge disappointment.
Â Austria face Poland next, while Croatia tackle Germany, so either way the group will go down to the final round of games.
Austria: Macho, Prodl, Stranzl, Pogatetz, Aufhauser, Saumel (Vastic 61), Standfest, Gercaliu (Korkmaz 69), Ivanschitz, Harnik, Linz (Kienast 73).
Subs Not Used: Manninger, Ozcan, Katzer, Garics, Patocka, Hiden, Fuchs, Leitgeb, Hoffer.
Booked: Pogatetz, Saumel, Prodl.
Croatia: Pletikosa, Corluka, Robert Kovac, Simunic, Pranjic, Srna, Nico Kovac, Modric, Kranjcar (Knezevic 61), Olic (Vukojevic 82), Petric (Budan 72).
Subs Not Used: Galinovic, Runje, Simic, Vejic, Rakitic, Pokrivac, Leko, Kalinic, Klasnic.
Booked: Robert Kovac.
Goals: Modric 4 pen.
Ref: Pieter Vink (Holland).