Davor Suker and Zvonimir Boban celebrate in Croatia's 3-0 win over Denmark at Euro 1996
Davor Suker and Zvonimir Boban celebrate in Croatia's 3-0 win over Denmark at Euro 1996

Throughout Euro 2020, LiveScore will be looking back at classic games from previous tournaments. In today's column, we turn the spotlight on Davor Suker’s stunning chip as Croatia thrashed reigning champions Denmark in 1996.

Slow start

Winners in 1992 after being invited to join the party late on following Yugoslavia’s expulsion, Denmark were dumped out of the 1996 European Championships by a talented Croatian side.

However, the Croats had yet to truly convince in England, eking out a forgettable 1-0 win over Turkey in their first Group D fixture at the City Ground.

Generational talents

At Hillsborough, Croatia showed exactly why they were so highly regarded as a side including Igor Stimac, Slaven Bilic, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki and Davor Suker ran riot.

Though the Danes themselves did not lack talent either, with the Laudrup brothers — Michael and Brian — their star turns, alongside Peter Schmeichel.

Suker show

Croatia took the lead after 54 minutes when Manchester United legend Schmeichel clumsily brought down future Chelsea midfielder Mario Stanic inside the box.

Up stepped Suker, converting with minimal fuss.

The forward, who would join Real Madrid later that year, then teed up Stimac to thump the bar shortly after as the Croats started to turn up the heat.

Show stopper

Davor Suker lifts the ball over Peter Schmeichel with a deft left-footed finish
Davor Suker lifts the ball over Peter Schmeichel with a deft left-footed finish

With just nine minutes remaining, Suker turned provider again, beating Claus Thomsen before crossing low for Boban who cooly converted Croatia’s second.

But the brilliant Suker was not done there.

With Denmark chasing the game, Schmeichel scampered back to his goal as Croatia broke at pace. 

Suker’s first touch was exquisite, taking him away from the nearest Denmark defender.

He then nonchalantly motored into the area before lifting the ball over the Danish stopper with his left foot, as if it was the easiest thing in the world.

Recalling the goal, Suker said: “For me, it's that first idea that comes into my mind and I want to pursue it — even if it is more difficult or technically more demanding.

“Perhaps you think, in that millisecond you have, that it won't work. But an attacking player, someone who is confident, someone who does it in training, who would do that at any time, that was the first choice for me.”

End of the road

The Danes despair after Davor Suker delivered the hammer blow in stoppage time
The Danes despair after Davor Suker delivered the hammer blow in stoppage time

With their quarter-final spot already booked, Croatia would go on to lose 3-0 to Portugal in their final group game which set up a showdown with Germany at Old Trafford in the quarter-finals.

Suker again had his say, but his 51st-minute striker proved scant consolation as Die Mannschaft ran out 2-1 winners en-route to winning the tournament against surprise package Czech Republic.

Two years later, at France 1998, Suker would finish top scorer with six goals, inspiring Croatia's golden generation to a third-place finish.

Tags

CroatiaDenmarkEuropean Championship

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