UEFA to investigate flares thrown from Croatia fans

English referee Mark Clattenberg briefly halted play when flares thrown from the Croatian fan block landed on the pitch in Saint-Etienne.

Mario Mandzukic - cropped

Mario Mandzukic speaks to a fireman who fell clearing flares in Saint-Etienne.

UEFA confirmed on Friday they will launch an investigation into flares thrown onto the pitch during Croatia's 2-2 Euro 2016 draw with the Czech Republic.

English referee Mark Clattenberg briefly halted play when flares thrown from the Croatian fan block landed on the pitch in Saint-Etienne.

"These people are not fans, they are sports terrorists," fumed Croatia's coach Ante Cacic. "95 percent of our supporters are ashamed in front of Europe, the players are very sad that, after playing a beautiful match, this happens."

Croatia was stripped of one point in qualifying, forced to play two home matches behind closed doors and fined 100,000 euros ($112,000) by UEFA after a swastika was painted on the field before a match against Italy in June 2015 in Split. It was also charged by UEFA for "field invasions by supporters" when a fan ran on the pitch to celebrate Luka Modric's winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Turkey on Sunday.

A member of the ground staff at the Stade Geoffrey Guichard appeared to have been hit by a flare.

"I have called it 'terrorism' in the past, people weren't happy with my comments, but now this has happened again," said Cacic. "These people are ruining everything we are doing, they probably have some support from somewhere."

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who scored Croatia's second goal, apologised for their fans behaviour.

"Most of our supporters are genuine in supporting this team and the Croatia Football Federation are fighting this small group of individuals," said Rakitic. "We have to say sorry to UEFA, the people at the match and all the people around the world who love football."