Soccer: Croatia Grabs Undeserving Win Over Hosts

Jonathon MurphyCorrespondent IJune 9, 2008

In the first match of group B, Croatia went up against hosts, Austria.

The game was a huge battle, but an early first half penalty—tucked away by Luka Modrić –gave Croatia the victory.

The first half was filled with a lot of fouls.

In the fourth minute Ivica Olić was brought down by René Aufhauser. Luka Modrić then stepped up to calmly slot the ball into the net.

This is now recorded as the fastest penalty in the finals history.

After the setback, Austria's game seemed to pick up.

They attacked with a lot more flare and Croatia was forced to defend well.

There was a lot of attacking from both teams, but neither could find the game’s second goal.

As the half time whistle blew, both teams went in with positives and negatives.

In the second half Austria seemed to come out on top. They had more chances and could have scored three times.

The longer the game lasted, the more it looked like an equalizer was going to come.

After an Austrian substitute, the game was really taken from Croatia by the hosts.

 In injury time Austria really put Croatia under pressure.

Their last attack was with a free kick from thirty yards. It was fizzed into the box and Kienast met it with a header, which went inches wide of the post.

All in all, Croatia grabbed a not so impressive win, but Austria showed flair and exceptional effort, even though they lost.  Poland and Germany will find it hard to beat them.

Team Sheet


21           Jürgen Macho    

2              Joachim Standfest            

3              Martin Stranzl     

4              Emanuel Pogatetz            

6              René Aufhauser                

9              Roland Linz          

10           Andreas Ivanschitz           

12           Ronald Gercaliu                 

15           Sebastian Prödl                  

19           Jürgen Säumel  

20           Martin Harnik



1              Stipe Pletikosa  

3              Josip Šimunić      

4              Robert Kovač      

5              Vedran Ćorluka                  

10           Niko Kovač           

11           Darijo Srna           

14           Luka Modrić        

18           Ivica Olić                

19           Niko Kranjčar      

21           Mladen Petrić     

22           Danijel Pranjić