Croatia cruise through
Bilic's men book Euro 2012 spot after seeing off Turkey
Last Updated: 15/11/11 10:22pm
Slaven Bilic: Croatia coach saw his side overcome Turkey
Croatia booked their place in their Euro 2012 finals with the minimum of fuss after a goalless draw against Turkey in Zagreb saw them progress 3-0 on aggregate.
Ivica Olic, Mario Mandzukic and Vedran Corluka had all scored in the 3-0 first-leg success in Istanbul to make tonight's game a virtual formality, although Croatia boss Slaven Bilic insisted his side's job remained only half done.
Despite a brave Turkish bid for an away win, the Croatians held firm and qualification for their third consecutive continental finals - and revenge for their Euro 2008 quarter-final loss to the Turks - was secured.
Turkey had poured forward from the start in a desperate bid to put the hosts under pressure, with Colin Kazim-Richards firing a 25-yard effort against the post in the fourth minute.
Kazim-Richards also brought a save out of Croatian keeper Stipe Pletikosa in the 10th minute but the home side found space behind the Turkish defence and Olic was first to come close two minutes later.
Resorting to shots from long range, Hamit Altintop brought a save out of Pletikosa from 30 yards, but Ivan Rakitic missed a fine chance to put Croatia in front and Luka Modric brought a save out of Sinan Bolat in the Turkish goal.
Rakitic missed the target again on the half hour and Altintop came close at the other end before Croatia finished the first half strongest with both Mandzukic and Dario Srna firing over the bar.
Chances were less forthcoming after the break, with the Turks seemingly resigned to their fate, and as frustration crept in Altintop was one of the visiting players booked for a foul on Modric.
Ivan Perisic came close for Croatia just past the hour then the busy Bolat saved from Rakitic and Srna before pulling off his best stop of the night to tip another Rakitic effort around the post.
Croatia looked much the more likely to break the deadlock, with Josip Simunic shooting just wide from Srna corner and the busy Rakitic seeing his shot from the right flank blocked by Egeman Korkmaz in the box.
With the Croatian fans beginning to cheer every move, the hosts were content to play down the clock with few more chances of note in the final minutes, a wide Altintop free-kick the last action of a disappointing night.
European Championship Qualifying Group A
European Championship Qualifying Group B
|2||Republic of Ireland||10||21|
European Championship Qualifying Group C
European Championship Qualifying Group D
European Championship Qualifying Group E
European Championship Qualifying Group F
European Championship Qualifying Group G
European Championship Qualifying Group H
European Championship Qualifying Group I