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International round-up

Posted on 7 September 2011  - 12:00

Luka Modric scored a cracker to help Croatia topple Israel and set-up a fascinating Euro 2012 shoot-out against Greece.

Luka Modric scored a cracker to help Croatia topple Israel and set-up a fascinating Euro 2012 shoot-out against Greece.

Things didn't look good for our Croatian trio of Luka, Vedran Corluka and Niko Kranjcar, who all started the Group F qualifier in Zagreb.

Vedran and Niko both had decent efforts in the first half but Slaven Bilic's men were rocked by Tomer Hamed's goal to hand Israel the lead just before the break.

Needing the win, Luka got Croatia back on track with a wonderful 30-yarder that dipped into the far corner for 1-1 just four minutes into the second half.

He then played a slide-rule pass into Eduardo, who made it 2-1 after 55 minutes and then 3-1 two minutes later. Both Luka and Niko completed 90 minutes with Eduardo on for 'Charlie' at half-time.

Even better news was to follow for the Spurs trio as Croatia's main rivals for the group and automatic place in next summer's finals, Greece, were held to a 1-1 draw in Latvia.

It means Croatia move to the top of the group, one point ahead of Greece with two matches remaining.

The first of those matches sees Croatia travel to the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus, to take on Greece on October 7 in a clash that could decide the group. Indeed, if Croatia win, they will take an unassailable four-point lead with a game left.

The final group matches on October 11 see Croatia host Latvia and Greece travel to Georgia.

pav v ireland

Elsewhere, Roman Pavlyuchenko's Russia played out a goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland in another key fixture in Group B.

Russia dominated and Roman, who came off the bench in the 55th minute, set-up the best chance of the match with only two minutes remaining.

His cross from the right was inch-perfect for Konstantin Zyryanov, only for Zyryanov to head straight at Shay Given from six yards.

Russia remain top of the group by two points from the Republic, with two matches remaining. In a tight group, Armenia and Slovakia are another two points adrift.

In Group D, Younes Kaboul's France played out a 0-0 draw in Romania. That gave Bosnia and Herzegovina a chance to narrow the gap at the top to just one point with a win against Belarus.

With two matches remaining, those two teams are building towards another fascinating finale as France host Bosnia and Herzegovina in the final round of matches on October 11.