|Croatia reach last four at Turkey's expense
Croatia cruised through to a semi-final showdown with Spain at Middlesbrough on Thursday after a hugely impressive display against Turkey in their UEFA European Under-16 Championship quarter-final at Scunthorpe.
The Croatians, watched by Leeds United AFC's Mark Viduka, himself of Croatian stock, were both too strong and too skilful for their opponents. Surprisingly there were no goals in the first half but soon after the break the impressive Dejan Prijic fired home from 18 metres. Hrvoje Cale added a second after an amazingly quick break. Ivan Grivicic's shot was saved by Sener Ozcan but Cale was on hand to slide the ball home.
Turkey's Volkan Pullu was dismissed for a professional foul in the 67th minute and Croatia should have added to their tally before the end. Croatia are a very useful side and in Drago Papa and captain Niko Kranjcar they have two of the tournament's outstanding players.
'Beyond our expectations'
"We've already gone beyond our expectations in reaching the semi-finals," said Croatia's coach Martin Novoselac. "At the beginning we hoped to reach the quarter-finals so this is a very proud moment for Croatian football. We are really looking forward to playing against such a strong nation in Spain, who have great sides at Under-16 and Under-18 level.
'Boksic will be there'
"I'm pleased to be playing the game at Middlesbrough, which is of course the home of Croatian striker Alen Boksic. I coached him as a young player and I'm sure he will come to the game, which will be a truly great motivation for our players. I'm also very pleased that Mark Viduka took the time to come along to cheer us tonight as well. The Spain game will be a great chance for our players to prove how good they are."