This was England's final group game of Euro 2004 and they needed a draw to qualify for the quarter-finals, and a date with Portugal. Croatia had looked good in their earlier games so indications
were that this game was going to be difficult.
For England, the game got off to a disasterous start when Croatia took the lead in just the sixth minute through Kovac, punishing England for their failure to clear the ball away from danger.
For just under forty minutes England tried to equalise and get back into the game. The much needed goal came from Paul Scholes who had not scored in 30 internationals. His header seemed to motivate the team and England were able to go into the locker room with a 2-1 lead thanks to the wonderful Wayne Rooney and his goal in the 45th minute. Frank Lampard made a great pass to Michael Owen who traded passes with Scholes and finally the ball was delivered to Rooney who made no mistake with his shot, firing the ball past Butina and into the net. In the last five minutes of the first half it seemed as though England had gained control of the game.
England continued to play with flare and imagination in second half with Owen sending to ball over Croatia's goal before Rooney put England 2 goals ahead of their opponents in the 68th minute.
Again linking well with Owen, Rooney steamed his way down the field to drill a low shot past Butina. Croatia did get a goal back in the 74th minute thanks to a header by Tudor but this was England's night and they were not finished. England's fourth goal was from Lampard who scored from the edge of the area and it was effectively game over, and England marched on to the next
round and a match-up with one of the tournament's favourites and the host nation - Portugal. Croatia bowed out of the tournament with France leading the group and England finishing in second
A little trivia note from this game - Gary Neville has now the record for the most European Championship appearances for England.
Butina, Simic (Srna 67 mins), R Kovac (Mornar 45 mins), Simunic, Zivkovic, Rosso, Tudor, N Kovac, Rapaic (Olic 55 mins), Prso, Sokota.
Subs Not Used: Babic, Bjelica, Didulica, Klasnic, Leko, Neretljak, Tokic, Tomas, Vasilj.
James #13, G Neville #2, Terry #5, Campbell #6, A Cole #3, Beckham #7, Lampard #11 (P Neville 84 mins - #14), Gerrard #4, Scholes #8 (King 70 mins - #15), Rooney #9 (Vassell 72 mins - #23), Owen #10.
Subs Not Used: Robinson #1, Walker #22, Bridge #12, Butt #17, Carragher #16, J Cole #19, Dyer #20, Hargreaves #18, Heskey #21. (Full Squad)
Croatia Goals: N Kovac (6 mins), Tudor (74 mins)
England Goals: Scholes (40 mins), Rooney (45 & 68 mins), Lampard (79 mins)
Croatia Caution: Simic
Referee: Pierluigi Collina (Italy)