Luka Modric scored with a stunning volley shortly before half-time as Croatia beat Turkey 1-0 at Euro 2016 on Sunday in a match rated crucial for progression from Group D.

Man-of-the-match Modric found the net from some 25 metres out in the 41st minute, with Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Babacan not looking good although the ball was well-placed into the bottom right corner.

Croatia captain Darijo Srna and Ivan Perisic were denied by the bar as Croatia should have increased the lead, while Turkey's only notable chance was a first-half header from Cenk Tosun.

The victory in front of a 43,842-strong and noisy crowd at the Parc des Princes will give Croatia confidence and puts them in a good position for the next games against the Czech Republic on June 17 and title holders Spain on June 21.

Spain are considered group favourites, and the winner of Sunday's match rated the top contender for second place. Spain start Monday against the Czechs.

But Modric insisted this was "only the first step" and coach Ante Cacic said "I am more afraid of the Czech Republic than Turkey."

However there was huge satisfaction overall in the Croatia camp which also saw defender Vedran Corluka play on despite a head injury which required treatment several times.

"We are really confident from the first to the last player and showed this on the pitch today. We had lots of possession. We played like a big team and I think we are a big team," Modric said.

Cacic said that the Real Madrid star Modric had played a key role in what he said was one of his best national team showings.

"He was really our leader and scored this magical goal. Luka in this form makes the team look better and more aggressive," Cacic said.

Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic had an early chance at the far left post but soon the two high-class midfield rows neutralised each other and chances became sparse in the drizzle.

Turkey had the first major chance in the 29th when Gokhan Gonul's floating cross into the area was met by the unmarked Tosun who however headed into the arms of Danijel Subasic.

Then came Modric's big moment.

Selcuk Inan cleared high out of the Turkish penalty area, and Real Madrid's Modric volleyed into the bottom left corner from some 25m, a well-placed effort which also took a bounce but still should have been kept out by Babacan.

It was the latest blunder by a goalkeeper at the tournament after Romania's Ciprian Tatarusanu, Matus Kocacik of Slovakia and Albania's Etrit Berisha had also made mistakes in recent days which led to goals.

Croatia then dominated after the break against a fading opponent who failed to threaten again against a firm Croatia defence.

Srna hit the top of the bar with a free-kick in the 52nd and Perisic was later also denied by the bar in just two of almost half a dozen chances.

Not even the introduction of super talent Emre Mor helped the Turks as coach Fatih Terim lamented defeat in yet another Euro opener.

"Unfortunately we never start well into these big tournaments. I am upset but we will learn our lessons," Terim said. "I didn't expect us to drop so much in the second half."

 

Related stories

Super confident Croatia ready for Turkey date at Euro

Croatia: Modric injury not as bad as feared

Croatia snatch top spot with late defeat of Spain

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.