Big away wins for Croatia and Ireland in Euro playoffs

    The delighted Croatia players celebrate their emphatic 3-0 win over Turkey in Istanbul

    Story highlights

    • Croatia beat Turkey 3-0 in Istanbul in Euro 2012 playoff tie first leg
    • Ireland thrash Estonia 4-0 in Tallinn with Robbie Keane scoring twice
    • Bosnia-Herzegovina and Portugal play out a goalless first leg
    • Germany come back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Ukraine in friendly
    Croatia and Republic of Ireland all but sealed their places in Euro 2012 with emphatic away wins in the first leg of their playoff ties Friday.
    Croatia thrashed Turkey 3-0 while Ireland went one better in Tallinn with a 4-0 win over Estonia.
    The Czech Republic also took a big step towards the finals in Poland and Ukraine next year with a 2-0 home win over Montenegro, but Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal were held goalless in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
    Slaven Bilic's Croatia might have been expecting a tough test in Istanbul, but an early goal after just two minutes from Ivica Olic put the skids under the home side, set up by Tottenham Hotspur's Vedran Corluka.
    Croatia extended the lead on the half hour mark as Darijo Srna floated over cross for Wolfsburg striker Mario Mandzukic to head home.
    Turkey were in disarray and failed to pick up Corluka from a free kick early in the second half and he headed home for a third which has effectively killed the two-legged tie.
    "Nobody can expect a score like this when you come to this fantastic stadium," Bilic told local television.
    Ireland, who have suffered a series of near-misses in Euro and World Cup qualifying playoffs, made no mistake in Estonia, the home side reduced to nine-men by the finish as Andrei Stepanov and Raio Piiroja were shown red in each half.
    Keith Andrews headed the visitors ahead in the 13th minute before new boy Jonathan Walters doubled the lead from captain Robbie Keane's cross after the break.
    The prolific Keane, now playing for LA Galaxy in the MLS, scored two late goals to give them a comfortable lead for the return in Dublin next Tuesday.
    Two second half goals were enough for the Czech Republic in Prague as winger Vaclav Pilar and defender Tomas Sivok were on target.
    Czech captain Tomas Rosicky set up Pilar for his first goal for his country just after the hour mark and it was from the Arsenal midfielder's free kick in stoppage time that Sivok headed home a vital second.
    Bosnia-Herzegovina could not get past the Portugal defense in Zenica with striker Vedad Ibisevic missing their best two chances late on.
    Manchester City star Edin Dzeko was largely kept quiet by the visitors, while Cristiano Ronaldo had few sights of goal for Portugal in a largely disappointing match.
    In international friendly matches Friday, an experimental Germany side had to battle back from 3-1 down to salvage a 3-3 draw with in Ukraine in the newly-renovated 70,000 capacity Olympic Stadium in Kiev.
    Simon Rolfes and late substitute Thomas Mueller grabbed the equalizing goals for Germany.
    Mario Balotelli scored Italy's opener in their 2-0 win against Ukraine's co-hosts Poland while Loic Remy notched the only goal of the game as they beat the United States 1-0.