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Wednesday, 10 September 2008
2010 FIFA World Cup UEFA Group 6 qualification match

Croatia 1 England 4 [0-1]

Stadion Maksimir, Maksimir, Zagreb
Attendance: 35,218; Kick-off: 9.00pm CEST, 8.00pm BST;
Live on
Setanta Sports One (UK) - commentator: Jon Champion

England - Theo Walcott (ten-yard shot across goal 26 25:34, twelve-yard shot 59 58:21, thirteen-yard placed shot 82 81:18 hat-trick), Wayne Rooney (twelve-yard side-footed shot 63 62:37).
Croatia - Mario Mandzukić (twelve-yard side-footed shot 78 77:36).
Match Summary
Croatia Squad
England Squad
Results 2005-2010 Croatia - Josip Šimunić (39), Darijo Srna (47),
England - Emile Heskey (61).
Red Card: Croatia - Robert Kovac (52 51:47)

Croatia kicked-off. 93 minutes (45 & 48).


Match Summary

Officials from Slovakia




Referee (red) - Ľuboš Micheľ
40 (16 May 1968),
Stropkov, FIFA-listed 1994;

Assistant Referees - Martin Balko, 36 (8 March 1972) and Roman Csabay, 43 (15 January 1965).

Fourth official - Richard Havrilla, 42 (31 March 1966), FIFA-listed 2003;

UEFA delegate - René Eberle, Switzerland.
UEFA referee observer - Hugh Dallas
, Scotland.

7 Goal Attempts 9
4 Attempts on Target 6
0 Hit Bar/Post 0
5 Corner Kicks Won 2
0 Offside Calls Against 3
19 Fouls Conceded 26
38.6% Possession 61.4%

Croatia Team



FIFA (3rd Sept 2008) 5th
EFO ranking Group 5

ELO rating 7th to 10th
Colours: Made by Nike - Blue v-neck jerseys with red collar and red & white chequered side panels, blue shorts, blue socks with red/white chequered hoop;
Capt: Niko Kovač Manager: Slaven Bilić, 39 (11 September 1968), appointed 25 July 2006.
Croatia Lineup
1 Pletikosa, Stipe 29 8 January 1979 G FC Spartak Moskva, Russia 75 0
3 Šimunić, Josip 30 18 February 1978
born in Australia
CD Hertha, Berliner SC von 1892, Germany 67 3
Josip Šimunić was cautioned in the 39th minute for Unsporting Behaviour, after tripping Walcott.
4 Kovač, Robert 34 16 April 1974
born in West Germany
CD BV Borussia 1909 Dortmund, Germany 80 0
Kovač was dismissed in the 52nd minute for Violent Conduct after he and Joe Cole jumped for the same ball in the centre-circle. Kovač rose the higher and his elbow contacted Cole's head, causing a bloody injury. Suspended.
5 Ćorluka, Vedran 22 5 February 1986 RB Tottenham Hotspur FC, England 27 0
6 Pranjić, Danijel 26 2 December 1981 LB SC Heerenveen, Netherlands 18 0
14 Modrić, Luka 23 9 September 1985 AM Tottenham Hotspur FC, England 31 5
7 Rakitić, Ivan 30 10 March 1988
in Switzerland
LM FC Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, Germany 14 3
18 Olić, Ivića, off 73rd min 28 14 September 1979 F Hamburger SV, Germany 60 10
9 Petrić, Mladen, off 56th min. 27 1 January 1981 F Hamburger SV, Germany 30 10
10 Kovač, Niko, off 62nd min. 36
332 days
15 October 1971
in West Germany
CM FC Red Bull Salzburg, Austria 82 15
11 Srna, Darijo 26 1 May 1982 RM FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine 61 17
Srna was cautioned in the 49th minute for Unsporting Behaviour, after kicking Ashley Cole's ankle.
Croatia Substitutes
scoreline: Croatia 0 England 1
15 Knezević, Dario, on 56th min. for Petrić 26 20 April 1982 D Juventus FC, Italy 11 1
scoreline: Croatia 0 England 2
13 Pokrivač, Nikola, on 62nd min. for N.Kovač 22 26 November 1985 M AS de Monaco FC, France 4 0
scoreline: Croatia 0 England 3
8 Mandzukić, Mario, on 73rd min. for Olić 22 21 May 1986 F NK Dinamo Zagreb 2 1
result: Croatia 1 England 4
unused substitutes: 2-Ivića Krizanac, 12-Vedran Runje, 16-Jerko Leko, 17-Ivan Klasnić.
team notes: Robert Kovač became the fourteenth player to be sent off against England. The first since 17 June 2004.
Coach Slaven Bilić played for Croatia against England in April 1996.
4-3-1-2 Pletikosa -
R.Kovač, Šimunić, Pranjić -
N.Kovač (Pokrivač),
Rakitić -
Modrić -
(Knezević), Olić (Mandzukić).

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 28.3 Appearances/Goals 49.5 5.7


England Team



FIFA (3rd Sept 2008) 15th
EFO ranking Group 2

ELO rating 8th to 7th
Colours: The 2007 home shirt - White v-neck jersey with red horizontal stripe/navy double diamond trim and abstract side panel, white shorts with navy pintrim/double diamond, white socks with navy thin band/double diamond.
Capt: John Terry, seventeenth captaincy,
Rio Ferdinand 89th minute.
Manager: Fabio Capello, 62 (18 June 1946), appointed 14 December 2007, effective 7 January 2008, 
7th match, W 5 - D 1 - L 1 - F 15 - A 5.
England Lineup
1 James, David B. 38 1 August 1970 G Portsmouth FC 42 36ᵍᵃ
2 Brown, Wesley M. 28 13 October 1979 RB Manchester United FC 19 1
3 Cole, Ashley 27 20 December 1980 LB Chelsea FC 67 0
4 Barry, Gareth 26 23 February 1981 CM Aston Villa FC 23 1
5 Ferdinand, Rio G. 29 7 November 1978 CD Manchester United FC 70 1
6 Terry, John G., off 89th min. 27 7 December 1980 CD Chelsea FC 47 4
Walcott, Theo J., off 85th min. 19
177 days
16 March 1989 RM Arsenal FC 4 3
the youngest to score a hattrick
the 325th (192nd post-war) brace, the 83rd (46th post-war) hattrick scored
8 Lampard, Frank J. 30 20 June 1978 CM Chelsea FC 64 13
9 Heskey, Emile W.I. 30 11 January 1978 F Wigan Athletic FC 48 5
Heskey was cautioned in the 61st minute for Unsporting Behaviour, after tripping Niko Kovač.
10 Rooney, Wayne M. 22 24 October 1985 F Manchester United FC 46 14
11 Cole, Joseph J., injured off 56th min. 26 8 November 1981 LM Chelsea FC 53 10
England Substitutes
scoreline: Croatia 0 England 1
16 Jenas, Jermaine A., on 56th min. for J. Cole. 25 18 February 1983 M Tottenham Hotspur FC 20 1
scoreline: Croatia 1 England 3
17 Beckham, David R.J., on 85th min. (84:13) for Walcott. 33 2 May 1975 M LA Galaxy, United States 105 17
scoreline: Croatia 1 England 4
14 Upson, Matthew J., on 89th min. for Terry. 29 18 April 1979 CD West Ham United FC 9 0
result: Croatia 1 England 4
unused substitutes: 12-Paul Robinson, 13-Glen Johnson, 15-Stewart Downing, 18-Jermain Defoe.
records: As well as becoming the youngest, and only teenager to score an England hattrick, Walcott becomes the third BME hatrician and the fourth player to then be replaced after scoring.
team notes: Theo Walcott's hattrick and Wayne Rooney's goal make them equal with Frank Lampard in scoring a record three goals against Croatia.
Manager Fabio Capello played for Italy against England in June (scoring one) and November 1973 (scoring another), and in May and November 1976.
4-4-2 James -
Brown, Ferdinand, Terry
(Upson), A.Cole -
(Beckham), Barry, Lampard, J.Cole (Jenas) -
Rooney, Heskey.

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 30.2 Appearances/Goals 43.9 5.0


    Match Report by Mike Payne

After all the build up to this crucial match, with much talk of revenge for the defeat by Croatia at Wembley almost a year ago, the match belonged to the Arsenal prodigy Theo Walcott.  This was the night when England fans saw exactly what prompts so many good judges in football to extol his virtues.  This was probably England's best performance since the 5-1 win in Germany in 2001, and they shattered Croatia's 35 game unbeaten run of home qualifiers.  The start of the game was fairly even and the Tottenham player Luka Modric looked in good form for the home side.  But Gareth Barry tracked him well and England gave as good as they got.  A couple of shaky moments from David James caused a flutter or two but England should have had a penalty on 20 minutes when Emile Heskey was clearly pulled over by Josép Simunic when moving in on a Walcott cross.  But that incident seemed to spur England on and within five minutes they deservedly took the lead.  Rio Ferdinand found Wayne Rooney who, in turn, tried to find Walcott.  A lucky rebound off a defender saw the ball eventually bounce kindly for the winger.  Walcott wasted no time and confidently drilled his shot across goal and into the far corner.  It was a great finish.  There were few scares for England before the break and by now they looked comfortable and composed in defence and midfield.

Their cause was then helped when Robert Kovac was sent off for leading with his elbow in a challenge with Joe Cole, with over 30 minutes still to go.

England took full advantage and just before the hour mark the visitors took a giant step towards victory.  A lovely move involving Rooney, Heskey and Frank Lampard ended with a pass to Walcott.  For the second time he wasted no time in firing a good shot into the far corner.  Four minutes later it was even better for England as Jermaine Jenas, on as a substitute for Joe Cole, worked some good space down the right, pulled the ball back for Rooney, and the Manchester United star stroked the ball into the net.

The home crowd was stunned, the away support was stunned (but deliriously happy) and the press pack could not believe what they were seeing.  England were in complete command of the game and playing superbly.  Croatia, meanwhile, were all over the place and their shape had long since been pulled apart.  It all made what happened next a little annoying as substitute Mario Mandzukic broke away to pull a goal back.  England complained that John Terry had been fouled but in all honesty it did not make too much difference to the outcome.  In fact, England, and Walcott, put the icing on the cake with yet another goal on 82 minutes.

A fine pass by Rooney sent Walcott through and the youngster completed his memorable hat-trick with another good finish.  It put the gloss on a great night for England and left Croatia stunned.

Source Notes

BBC Sport
Robert Owens, Scarborough, England
Mike Payne - football historian and contributor