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Euro 2016 warm-ups: Croatia score record win; Northern Ireland unbeaten

June 05, 2016 10:08 IST

Ten-goal Croatia score record win over San Marino

Croatia players

IMAGE: Croatia players celebrate. Photograph: Getty Images.

Mario Mandzukic and Nikola Kalinic grabbed hat-tricks as Croatia achieved a record win as an independent nation by demolishing San Marino 10-0 in their final Euro 2016 warm-up match in Rijeka on Saturday.

Thrashing the hapless part-timers meant the hosts surpassed 7-0 victories over Andorra in a Euro 2008 qualifier and Australia in a friendly in 1998.

"I want to congratulate the players for their commitment. They were poised and hungry to score as many goals as they could," said coach Ante Cacic.

"The idea was to build a positive atmosphere ahead of Euro 2016 and we accomplished that. I am especially pleased with the strikers' form because it's paramount for their confidence to score goals."

The visitors held out for 20 minutes before the floodgates opened and Croatia surged into a 6-0 halftime lead at the Rujevica Stadium.

Midfielder Luka Modric pulled the strings while captain Darijo Srna bagged three assists with darting runs down the right flank.

Although San Marino were little more than a punch bag for the home side and rarely got out of their own half, the goal bonanza will boost Croatia's confidence ahead of Euro 2016 in France that starts next week.

Substitute Kalinic, who replaced Mandzukic in attack at halftime, struck three times in the second period. The other goals came from Srna, Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic and Marko Pjaca.
"It was little more than a practice session but we took it very seriously," said Perisic.

Croatia have been drawn in Group D alongside holders Spain, Czech Republic and Turkey.

Cacic's squad open their campaign against the Turks in Paris on June 12. They meet the Czechs in St Etienne on June 17 and Spain in Bordeaux four days later.

Northern Ireland extend record unbeaten run

Northern Ireland will go into Euro 2016, their first finals appearance for 30 years, with the longest unbeaten run of all 24 teams after drawing 0-0 with Slovakia in a warm-up match in Trnava.

Michael O'Neill's men are now unbeaten in 12 matches but they picked up a few bumps and bruises in a competitive, if unexciting, final friendly before the opening games in France next week.

Defender Aaron Hughes, 36, became Northern Ireland's first outfield player to win 100 caps when he replaced the injured Craig Cathcart with less than half an hour gone.

In a physical first half the back three of Jonny Evans, Gareth McAuley and Cathcart also took heavy knocks.

Striker Kyle Lafferty then limped off less than 10 minutes into the second period although it looked like a precautionary move by O'Neill with their first match at Euro 2016, against Poland, eight days away.

Slovakia, who play Wales in their opening Group B match on June 11, had the better of the first half with Vladimir Weiss, Patrik Hrosovsky and Robert Mak spurning chances.

The Irish almost went ahead on the stroke of halftime as goalkeeper Matus Kozacik spilled Chris Baird's low shot.

The home side, who beat Germany in their previous warm-up game, were slicker with their passing but squandered a string of chances, Marek Hamsik adding to the catalogue of misses when he failed to get a touch to an inviting cross 10 minutes from time.

The Irish could have snatched victory when Martin Skrtel deflected a cross straight at his goalkeeper whose reactions spared his captain's blushes.

Northern Ireland's other opponents in Group C are Ukraine and Germany while Slovakia also meet England and Russia in their section.

Austria suffer new defensive calamity in defeat by Dutch

Austria suffered another defensive calamity on the way to a disappointing 2-0 home defeat by Netherlands in their final Euro 2016 warm-up game.

Vincent Janssen put a young Dutch side in front after nine minutes when the home defence mistakenly thought he was offside, leaving him free to head in Steven Berghuis' looping cross from six metres.

A superbly-worked goal by Georginio Wijnaldum in the second period gave Austria a miserable send-off as they headed for their first major finals since 2008.

The Austria defence was also left red-faced when David Alaba scored an embarrassing own goal in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Malta after passing the ball back to his goalkeeper without looking.

The Dutch had a point to prove after their failure to qualify for the finals in France and, with the hosts wanting to land a morale-boosting win, there were some surprisingly late and full-blooded challenges.

Austria fielded a full-strength side apart from Marcel Sabitzer replacing Martin Harnik on the right of midfield.

The home side made a bright start and were lively going forward but the early goal took the wind out of their sails.

Austria left gaps at the back and had another scare when Quincy Promes hit the post with a deflected shot from 25 metres in the 34th minute.

Promes was a constant menace and set up the second goal when he burst down the left and found Luuk De Jong who laid the ball off for Wijnaldum to sidefoot home in the 66th minute.

Marc Janko had Austria's best first-half chance when he fired into the sidenetting from close range and Alaba blasted over from a similar position just before the Dutch scored their second goal.

Germany finally keep clean sheet in win over Hungary

Germany kept their first clean sheet for nearly a year as they coasted to a 2-0 win over fellow Euro 2016 finalists Hungary in the final warm-up friendly for both teams.

There was more encouragement for home coach Joachim Loew when midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger came on in the second half for his first match since suffering a knee injury in March.

An own goal by Adam Lang and a Thomas Mueller header gave the world champions victory against a disappointing Hungary who barely troubled Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and struggled to get out of their own half.

Germany, who slumped to a 3-1 home defeat by Slovakia one week ago and had lost three of their previous four games, last kept a clean sheet in a 7-0 win over Gibraltar in a Euro qualifier, a run of eight matches.

"I think we can be satisfied. We played better than recently and the whole team helped to defend," said defender Jerome Boateng.

Defensive duo Benedikt Hoewedes and Antonio Rudiger and forwards Julian Draxler and Mario Goetze were among the players given a chance to stake a place in the team at this month's finals in France.

Germany went ahead six minutes before halftime when Draxler released Jonas Hector on an overlapping run and his ball across the goal was turned into the net.

Goetze, who had an unhappy season with Bayern Munich after being injured and then finding it tough to get in the side, initially seemed to be the scorer but replays showed the ball had gone in off his marker Lang.

Mueller grabbed his 32nd international goal when he headed in from a rebound after Hungary goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly could only parry Mario Gomez's header.