Israel defender DEKEL KEINAN (13) of English Premier League club FC Blackpool can only watch the flight of the ball as Croatia midfielder NIKO KRANJCAR of English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur shoots the decisive goal past goalkeeper DUDU AOUATE of Spanish La Liga outfit Real Mallorca at the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv. (Reuters photo)
European Championships Qualifying
October 9, 2010
1 – ISRAEL —————- Shechter 83′
2 – CROATIA ———— Kranjcar pen 38′, 42′
A brace inside of four minutes at the close of the first half from midfielder NIKO KRANJCAR of Engish Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur boosted visiting CROATIA to a 2-1 victory over ISRAEL in the critical Group F qualification match for the 2012 European Championships.
Kranjcar, who first arrrived in England from Hadjuk Split to play for FC Portsmouth for a reported 5.2 million Euros in the summer of 2006, scored his first goal in the 38th minute from the penalty spot after Israel defender DEKEL KIENAN, who joined English Premier League club FC Blackpool on a free transfer from Maccabi Haifa this summer, fouled the former FC Arsenal striker now of Ukrainian champions FC Shakhtar Donetsk, EDUARDO Alves da Silva, in the box.
The 26-year-old Spurs man, who has now made 59 appearances and scored 12 goals for Croatia, added a second in the 42nd minute following a pass from a Tottenham teammate, midfielder LUKA MODRIC.
Israel were always facing an uphill battle without injured captain and legitimate goal-scoring threat, winger YOSSI BENAYOUN of English Premier League side FC Chelsea; losing the experience and class of the 30-year-old Benayoun (80 caps, 23 goals) for the match against a nation of the calibre of Croatia was a big blow to the home side.
Israel were also without injured midfielder BIRAM KAYAL, the 22-year-old who signed for Glasgow Celtic in Scotland this summer from Maccabi Hafia for a reported 1.5 million English pounds and started both previous European Championships qualifiers against Malta and Georgia.
Still, Israel fought the good fight and actually fired a first shot on target from striker ITAY SHECHTER of FC Hapoel Tel Aviv to test Croatia goalkeeper VEDRAN RUNJE of French club RC Lens after only 11 seconds.
Shechter did pull a goal back in the 83rd minute but Israel, who ended up with as many shots on target as Croatia, could not come up with the equalizer.
Israel midfielder TAMIR COHEN of English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers outjumps Croatia striker IVICA OLIC (18) of defending German champions and UEFA Champions League runners-up Bayern Munich at the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv. (Reuters photo)
gk — DUDU AOUATE (Real Mallorca – Spain)
df — TAL BEN HAIM (West Ham United – Eng), DEKEL KEINAN (FC Blackpool – Eng), YOAV ZIV (FC Maccabi Tel Aviv)
mf — ELYANIV BARDA (Racing Genk – Bel), BEBERS NATCHO (FC Rubin Kazan – Rus), TAMIR COHEN (Bolton Wanderers – Eng), ALMOG COHEN (1.FC Nuremberg – Ger), GIL VERMOUTH (FC Hapoel Tel Aviv)
fw — ITAY SHECHTER (FC Hapoel Tel Aviv), ALROEY COHEN (Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona)
fw — ROBERTO COLLAUTI (FC Maccabi Tel Aviv) for Ay. Cohen — 52nd min
mf — LIOR RAFAELOV (FC Maccabi Haifa) for Barda — 55th min
mf — EYAL GOLSA (FC Maccabi Haifa) for Ag. Cohen — 69th min
gk — VEDRAN RUNJE (RC Lens – Fra)
df — IVAN STRINIC (Hadjuk Split), JOSIP SIMUNIC (TSG Hoffenheim – Ger), VEDRAN CORLUKA (Tottenham Hotspur – Eng), GORDON SCHILDENFELD (SK Sturm Graz – Aut)
mf — LUKA MODRIC (Tottenham Hotspur – Eng), DANIJEL PRANJIC (Bayern Munich – Ger), IVAN RAKITIC (Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen – Ger), NIKO KRANJCAR (Tottenham Hotspur – Eng)
fw — IVICA OLIC (Bayern Munich – Ger), EDUARDO (FC Shakhtar Donetsk – Ukr)
fw — MARIO MANDZUKIC (Vfl Wolfsburg – Ger) for Eduardo — 56th min
fw — MATE BILIC (Sporting Gijon – Spa) for Olic — 71st min
mf — OGNJEN VUKOJEVIC (FC Dynamo Kiev – Ukr) for Rakitic — 78th min
Midfielder NIKO KRANJCAR (19) of Tottenham Hotspur is trailed by striker EDUARDO Alves da Silva (9), previously with Spurs’ traditional London rivals Arsenal in England, after scoring for Croatia against Israel at the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv. (Reuters photo)