Croatia have been charged by UEFA over the crowd disturbances which briefly stopped play during the latter stages of their Euro 2016 group-stage match against the Czech Republic on Friday.
Referee Mark Clattenburg paused the match as dozens of flares were thrown onto the pitch. Scuffles also broke out in the stand from where the flares were thrown as the Croatian players appealed for the supporters to calm down.
After the match, Croatia boss Ante Cacic described those who threw the flares as “sports terrorists”.
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"They are not really Croatia supporters. These people are scary and I call them hooligans," Cacic was quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
"These are sports terrorists. This is maybe just a question about six to 10 individuals. I hope they can be identified and punished. I hope the Croatia FA is doing everything to prevent this, but it is impossible to avoid.”
Questions are now being asked over how so many flares were smuggled into the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Étienne.
This isn’t the first time flares have been used at Euro 2016 and security at grounds across France should surely be extra vigilant at this moment in time.
Croatian ultras' 'blueprint' posted on Facebook
However, an image posted by so-called Croatian ‘ultras’ - per 101 Great Goals - on Facebook indicates that Friday’s disturbances were the result of a pre-planned operation.
Torcida Split 1950 posted an image of the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with various arrows drawn on it; a blueprint for how they would get the flares into the ground and cause disruption inside it.
Croatia threw away two-goal lead
Croatia ended up throwing away a two-goal lead during the final 15 minutes of the match.
Goals from Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic had put Croatia 2-0 ahead on the hour-mark, but Milan Skoda restored some hope for the Czechs with a fine header before a 93rd-minute penalty by Tomas Necid secured an unlikely point for Pavel Vrba’s men.
Are Croatia dark horses to win Euro 2016? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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