Turkey Vs. Croatia, Euro 2012 Qualifying Playoffs: Croatia Cruise To 3-0 Away Win

Things just didn't go Turkey's way in the first leg of their Euro 2012 playoff as they were demolished 3-0 at home by a rampant Croatia. The scoreline means that Guus Hiddink's side is almost certainly not going to make it through to the finals, and they don't have anyone to blame but themselves - specifically the defence and Fenerbache goalkeeper Volkan Demirel, who contrived to shoot themselves in each foot and then once in the arm for good measure.

Within two minutes of kickoff, Croatia had the lead, with Vedran Corluka skipping free down the left and sending in a dangerous-looking low cross that Demirel should have dealt with. Instead, the veteran merely pushed the ball to Ivica Olic, who lashed home from three yards for the opener. Turkey threw everything but the kitchen sink at Croatia to try to equalise, but despite monopolising possession hardly made a dent in the visitors' defence - and it became abundantly clear that their own was fairly fragile when Croatia put together a rare attack and scored their second.

A bouncing ball into the box wasn't cleared, Luka Modric was able to ferry the ball wide to Darijo Srna, and the Shakhtar Donetsk right back cross for Mario Mandzukic at the back post. It wasn't a particularly difficult ball to clear, but the defence made a hash of it, Demirel refused to collect and the Croatians had their second. From then on it was all the visitors could do not to score every three or four minutes, the hosts crumbling under the weight of the two-goal deficit.

Olic nearly made it three on the verge of halftime, but Corluka completed the job after the defence left the Tottenham Hotspur man unmarked in the centre of the six-yard box for reasons I can't entirely fathom. After that, Turkey had their two best chances of the match, and neither of them even resulted in a shot. That's generally a pretty good indication that you've had a baaad day at the office. So is losing 3-0 at home (and there were plenty of chances to make it four).

So, at the end of all that, there's very little point in watching the second leg in Zagreb, because Croatia are almost certainly through. Slaven Bilic is a happy man, while Hiddink will be unemployed next week. Them's the breaks.

We have coverage of this match and all of the Euro 2012 Qualifying playoffs action in our Euro 2012 Qualifying playoffs, first legs StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, check out SB Nation Soccer.

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