International soccer can get a bit messy. Teams don't have much time to train together, so games usually end up looking quite a bit sloppier than their elite club counterparts. Games where both teams play the same style can get a bit messy too, and that's what happened between Croatia and Turkey on Sunday.
Both teams wanted to pressure and win the ball high up the pitch, then counter attack quickly through the center. Croatia and Turkey both have quality midfielders and narrowed things up by using a playmaker who likes to play centrally as a right winger. It was a high-quality game in execution, but not necessarily pleasing to the eye -- passing lanes were crowded and turnovers were frequent. There was only one goal.
But that goal was so incredible that it didn't feel like we had to watch a nasty slog of a match for 90 minutes. It was the rare goal that made up for watching 90 minutes of otherwise unremarkable soccer. Just look at this strike by Luka Modrić.
10th goal so far and maybe the best? Banger from Modric!!! https://t.co/VMd3HQ3fwj— CapgunTom (@CapgunTom) June 12, 2016
This one moment of brilliance gave Croatia a 1-0 win in their Euro 2016 opener, and it might be the best goal Modrić has ever scored in his life. To hit a ball first time out of the air, and get that much pace on it when it's just dropping from straight up, and hit it that accurately, and with so much dip that it bounces in front of a well-positioned goalkeeper, is obscenely difficult to do. Modrić is one of the most skilled players on earth, but he puts this shot out for a throw-in five or six times out of 10. Most sensible players take a touch first, then try to shoot on the half-volley with their second touch, and they do that because it's a much easier shot.
Some goals are so good that they make up for anything else that happened in the game they took place in, and this was one of them.