Croatia kept their 100 per cent record intact as they warmed up for a quarter-final meeting against Turkey with a slot gacor over Poland.
Coach Slaven Bilic named a much-changed side with their progress to the knock-out stages as Group B winners already confirmed, but they still managed to extinguish Poland’s outside chances of joining them in the last eight with a solitary strike from Ivan Klasnic.
Poland could have qualified as group runners-up had they won in Klagenfurt and Germany lost to Austria in the other Group B game.
As it was, the Germans were 1-0 winners over the co-hosts, so Poland’s second defeat of the group stage was purely academic.
Poland started the brighter and a few minutes into the game Mariusz Lewandowski had a chance with a free header from a corner, but the midfielder could only head the ball back across goal.
Five minutes later and the Poles wasted another chance, this time Daruisz Dudka glanced a free header wide from another corner.
However, they were the only chances Poland created in the whole of the first half and they tended to sit back too often.
Croatia took the game to Poland despite the match being little more than a run out and a chance to impress for several second-string players.
Just like the opening half against Austria last week, Leo Beenhakker’s side had to rely on the agility of Artur Boruc to keep them in the game.
Half an hour into the game, Mladen Petric was one-on-one with the Celtic goalkeeper, but the impressive number one made a vital save.
The same situation occurred right at the end of the first-half, this time Ivan Rakitic having his effort saved by Boruc.
Poland came out fired up after the interval, but it wasn’t long until their renewed efforts fizzled out.
Croatia throughout the game looked the most dangerous on the ball and it was a matter of time that they scored from a counter-attack.
In the 52 minute, Danijel Pranjic pulled the ball back to Klasnic, who fired a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The introduction of Ebi Smolarek gave Poland some much needed flair in the middle of the park, but they were reduced to taking long-range shots and never looked like troubling Vedran Runje in the Croatia goal as they simply ran out of attacking ideas.
Euro 2008 – News from Group C
Influential captain Patrick Vieira has been ruled out of France’s must-win final Group C showdown with Italy on Tuesday.
The veteran midfielder, who has missed the two opening group games of the tournament with a thigh injury, had hoped to be fit in time to face the world champions in Zurich.
However, Vieira will again be absent and the skipper doesn’t know when he will be available to coach Raymond Domenech.
France must take three points against the Azzurri and hope group winners Netherlands defeat current second-placed side Romania in Berne if they are to reach the knockout stages.
“I was hoping to play that last group match but, unfortunately, the pain is still there and I don’t know when I will be able to resume playing,” revealed Vieira.”I manage to train but I still have this pain which stops me from accelerating or to kick the ball. “I don’t know where I am, I really don’t know when I will be ready to play again.”
Romania defender Mirel Radoi will play no further part in Euro 2008 after being injured in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Italy.
The 27-year-old Steaua Bucharest star suffered a broken nose and needs eye surgery after colliding with team-mate Razvan Rat during the game in Zurich.
“He will not play any more at Euro 2008. He will undergo surgery on Sunday and hopefully all will go well,” confirmed team spokesman Paul Zaharia.
Meanwhile, Ciprian Marica returned to training on Saturday after the striker had missed the Italy encounter with a head injury.
Romania have the opportunity to reach the last eight after holding France and Italy to draws in their first two Group C matches. They face Netherlands, who have already qualified as group winners, on Tuesday.