Croatia wins Andorra 6-0 to stay on top and No 6 in the world
Wed 12 Sep 2007
ZAGREB, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Croatia mauled underdogs Andorra 6-0 in a one-sided Euro 2008 qualifying match on Wednesday to remain top of Group E with three games to play. The visitors struggled and lacked ideas through the first half-hour until winger Darijo Srna found the net with a superb free kick 11 minutes from time. Another free kick, from Borrusia Dortmund striker Mladen Petric four minutes later, doubled the lead. Petric added another one a minute from halftime after he was left unguarded by Andorra defence.
Croatia kept up the pressure in the second half when Niko Kranjcar and Eduardo da Silva rounded off a few good team moves by scoring a goal apiece within a few minutes. Nineteen-year-old Schalke midfielder Ivan Rakitic scored his first goal for Croatia in his second international game.
Croatia top Group E on 23 points and play Israel on Oct 17, Macedonia on Nov 17 and England on Nov 21.
Croatia 2 Estonia 0
Eduardo Da Silva netted twice inside six first-half minutes to seal an easy win for Croatia and keep them on course for a place at Euro 2008. Croatia overcame an early setback when Darijo Srna missed a fifth-minute penalty and dominated a one-sided clash to maintain their place at the top of Group E. Estonia, who have now claimed just three points from nine qualifying matches, offered little in the way of attacking threat but showed resistance in keeping the scoreline to a minimum.
The course of the evening appeared clear-cut from the opening moments and when Croatia were awarded a spot-kick early on, it was already looking bleak for the visitors. Defender Teet Allas handled inside the box to offer Srna the perfect chance to open the scoring, but the midfielder smashed his kick against the left upright.
Croatia, however, remained on top and continued to plug away at a plucky Estonian back-line. Nico Kovac tested Pavel Londak from the edge of the box but the goalkeeper was equal to his effort. Luka Modric was next to try his luck on the 25-minute mark, but Raio Piiroja got his body in the way and deflected the ball to safety. The deadlock was inevitably broken six minutes before half-time however, and it was dangerous marksman Eduardo who did the damage. The Arsenal striker lashed home right-footed into the bottom left-hand corner after picking up Vedran Corluka's header inside the area to settle Croatian nerves.
And it took just six minutes before Croatia, and Eduardo, doubled the advantage.
This time it was Modric who found Eduardo from out on the right wing and the powerful striker made no mistake in sending a rasping left-footed drive straight into the top right corner to put the tie beyond doubt. There was only ever going to be one team that added to the scoresheet and the evening became something of a damage-limitation exercise for the Estonians. Robert Kovac and Josip Simunic both tried their luck from range but watched their efforts fly narrowly wide of the mark. But Croatia knew it was already a job well-done and sailed through a leisurely 45 minutes with attentions now fixed upon Wednesday night's trip to Andorra.
Croatia Pletikosa, Simic, Simunic, Robert Kovac, Corluka,Nico Kovac, Srna (Babic 82), Modric, Kranjcar (Rakitic 60),Petric (Olic 70), Eduardo.
Subs Not Used: Runje, Balaban, Knezevic, Leko.
Goals: Eduardo 39, 45.
Estonia Londak, Allas, Stepanov, Piiroja, Rooba (Anniste 84),Rahn, Dmitrijev, Kruglov, Lindpere (Reim 90), Kink (Saag 80),Oper.
Subs Not Used: Aksalu, Barengrub, Teniste, Smirnov. Booked: Dmitrijev.
Ref: Jerome Laperriere (Switzerland).