Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Croatia v/s Poland Euro 2008

Did not see this one and that means that I have only seen Croatia in their disappointing win over Austria. But three wins in three must make them very strong contenders.

The story of the game has to be Klasnic scoring for Croatia having gone through a kidney transplant last year.

Croatia may not have a wonder boy like Suker in this line-up but in Slaven Bilic they have a top class manager. Topping the qualifiers with two wins against England and now three wins in three in spite of nine changes to the starting line-up and Germany being one of the opponents. Clearly facing a high profile team will not be too much of a concern for the Croatians if and when they do get the chance again in this tournament.

But up first will be the Turks – masters of comeback and champions of poise. The Turkish defence has been vulnerable and the Croats will worry them with crosses from the wings and should also look to playing the ball to Modric just outside the box for testing the keeper. Having said that, Arda, Nihat and co. will also not be easy to contain.

The big strength that the Turks have shown is their ability to work the ball into dangerous areas without any desperation irrespective of the match situation. No long balls for them (though in Tuncay they have a player who has played alone up front at Boro and has done well converting some of them).

Am predicting a closely fought end-to-end encounter with emphasis on the wide men and the advanced midfielders. Difficult to pick a winner but if I was forced to pick, I would go for Croatia. Why? Have seen the Turks and their obvious defensive weaknesses. Haven’t seen the Croats in such detail so will go by there results.

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