Croatia march into quarter-finals - and avoid Portugal
Croatia became the
second side after Portugal to qualify for the quarter-finals of the European
Championships after a 2-1 victory over three-time winners Germany on Thursday.
The win in Klagenfurt put Croatia in control of Group B after two victories, but Slaven Bilic's side were able later to celebrate the group win when Austria snatched a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Poland.
Croatia now know that they cannot meet Group A winners Portugal in the knock-out stage.
Germany paid for defensive frailties and a complete lack of creativity as goals from Darijo Srna and Ivica Olic deservedly put the hardworking and talented Croats two goals in front before Lukas Podolski pulled one back with 11 minutes remaining.
Germany's miserable night was completed when substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger saw a straight red in added time for an off-the-ball shove on Jerko Leko.
"This is definitely a setback. We are all deeply disappointed about this game," said Germany coach Joachim Loew. "We showed too little movement and created few chances."
In Vienna, Ivica Bastic scored from the penalty spot in stoppage time to give Austria a 1-1 draw against Poland.
Poland looked to be on the way to victory thanks to a 30th-minute goal from Roger Guerreiro.
Both now have a point and will have to win their last games to have a chance of progressing - Austria against Germany, and Poland against Croatia.
Chelsea's Portuguese players on Euro 2008 duty meanwhile welcomed the appointment at the club from next season of current Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
"He is a great manager and a big personality. He's the kind of guy that players respond to and I think we can go forward with him," said defender Ricardo Carvalho.
Netherlands winger Arjen Robben has recovered from a groin injury in time for Friday's Group C encounter against France, Dutch coach Marco van Basten said.
The Real Madrid player missed Monday's 3-0 victory over Italy and was not expected to be available until the Netherlands' last group match against Romania.
But van Basten said in Lausanne that Robben had now fully recovered and was ready for selection.
"He is not only ready for Romania, he is ready for France. The medical staff worked well with him and he trained this morning. He is fit," van Basten said.
In Friday's other Group C game, world champions Italy take on Romania in Zurich, aiming to bounce back from their 3-0 trouncing at the hands of the Dutch
The Swiss were meanwhile recovering from elimination after their 2-1 defeat to Turkey on Wednesday.
UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said Swiss fans won't now turn their back on the tournament but will support other teams.
"Of course it is nice if the host team goes a long way in the tournament. But that's football. We are not in Hollywood. A happy end is not part of the planning," said .
Swiss Sports Minister Samuel Schmid said his country will remain good hosts.
"Euro hasn't ended. We continue with the last game and I am sure we will see plenty of interesting matches," he told Swiss radio, dpa reported.