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  • Date:14 Jun 2012
  • Kick-off:17:00
  • Venue:Poznan Municipal Stadium - Poznan
  • Andrea Pirlo (39)
  • Mario Mandzukic (72)

Live Commentary


Full-time: Italy 1-1 Croatia


Superb fightback from Croatia there, who were poor in the first half but righted all their wrongs in the second and deservedly equalised. Italy looked good before the break but paid the price for being happy to play on the counter and then couldn't force a winner. All in all, a fair result.


Great opportunity for Italy to swing a free-kick into the box, but Pirlo of all people scuffs his effort and Croatia clear.


Substitution for Croatia, who replace the injured Mandzukic with Niko Kranjcar.


Great chance for any number of Italy players to pull the trigger inside the box, but none of them take the opportunity and a grateful Croatian defence clears.


There is going to be five minutes of added time, which is a combination of the stoppages for Motta's head injury and the firecrackers being thrown on to the pitch.


Once more Croatia surge forward and Eduardo lays the ball wide for Strinic, who should have crossed but opted to shoot and, frustratingly for his team-mates, his effort flew well over.


Croatia push forward again and a whipped cross from the right has to be desperately cleared by Chiellini. Croatia look the more likely team to snatch a winner.


And now Giovinco is cynically fouled by Gordon Schildenfeld, who is subsequently booked.


Change for Croatia as Jelavic is replaced by Eduardo.


And a substitution for Italy, who send on Sebastian Giovinco for Cassano.


Giovinco makes an instant impact by running to the byline and holding up a cross that Pletikosa, who had lost track of where the net was, anxiously pushed wide.


Croatia break three-on-three but instead of shooting Mandzukic passes right to Jelavic, whose square ball across goal is cut out. Big opportunity missed for Croatia.


Montolivo picks up a yellow card for leading with his arm in a high challenge with Mandzukic.


Croatia have kept up their high-tempo approach to this second half and are still pushing men forward. Another goal for Bilic's side would deal a devastating blow to Italy's chances of progression.


Italy need to start stringing together some passes now and rebuild momentum. They had been happy to counter-attack, but are going to have go back on to the front foot. Montolivo duly lets fly with a long-range right-foot shot from 25 yards that Pletikosa had to scramble across goal to save.


Goal! Italy 1-1 Croatia (Mario Mandzukic)


Mandzukic scores his third goal of the tournament, collecting a deep cross from the left, taking a touch and then slamming the ball high into the net via a touch off the near post. Superb finish, but questionable defending from Chiellini, who got caught under the ball.


Another substitution for Italy, who send on Di Natale for Balotelli for the second match running.


Change for Croatia as Danijel Pranjic replaces Perisic.


Hearts in mouths for Italy as a Srna launches a long throw into the box that De Rossi inexplicably leaves, only for Bonucci to rescue the situation by calmy nodding back to Buffon.


Substitution for Italy as Motta is replaced by Riccardo Montolivo.


Spaces are opening up for Italy to counter-attack now as Croatia push men forward in search of an equaliser. They just broke three-on-three but couldn't find a final ball.


A rasping strike from Balotelli almost puts Italy 2-0 up, but his powerful right-footer from 25 yards whistles narrowly over.


Another stoppage as Motta picks up a blow to the head after being challenged by Srna. Daniele De Rossi is also down for the Italians.


Croatia have been much more positive and shown far greater urgency so far in the second half. They're attacking in greater numbers and pressing Italy further up the pitch.


Referee Howard Webb produces the first yellow card of the game, booking Thiago Motta for wrestling with Jelavic at a free-kick.


There's now a delay to the game after fans threw firecrackers on to the pitch. A couple of Croatia player, Ognjen Vukojevic being one of them, went over to the fans to remonstrate with them.


Croatia have gone back on the offensive but once again struggled to break down the three-man central defence of Italy. Jelavic tried to get the better of Bonucci in the left channel, but the Juventus defender didn't allow him space to get a shot away.


And now Italy try their luck from distance, with Leonardo Bonucci ambitiously letting fly from more than 30 yards. His effort looked on target, but was deflected wide for a corner that Italy could not capitalise on.


Another long-range effort from Modric, this time from 25 yards, but once again he struck the ball under pressure and it flew high over the bar. A really positive start to the second half from Croatia, though. Exactly what they needed.


Early chance for Croatia as Luka Modric side-steps a marker on the edge of the box and shoots right-footed, but his effort is scuffed and easily saved by Buffon.


Croatia started the game well but as the half wore on, Italy's extra man in midfield began to tell and they Azzuri took control. They had plenty of chances to score in open play, but in the end needed a magical set piece from Pirlo to make the breakthrough. Croatia need to improve their attacking play in the second half.


Half-time: Italy 1-0 Croatia


Finally Croatia muster a strike on goal as Ivan Rakitic breaks and feeds Mario Mandzukic in the right channel, but his low shot to the neat post is comfortably saved by Buffon.


Croatia are outnumbered in midfield and as a result are struggling to get on the ball and create chances. Buffon has barely been tested in this first.


Italy look buoyant now and go straight back on the attack, resuming a stranglehold in possession in the process. They win a corner on the right and Pirlo whips in a cross that Cassano heads narrowly over at the near post.


Midfield maestro Pirlo finds the near bottom corner with a magnificent free-kick from an angle on the left-hand side of the box. Pletikosa got a hand to it, but such was the accuracy of the strike, he couldn't keep it out.


Goal! Italy 1-0 Croatia (Andrea Pirlo)


Fantastic chance for Italy as Marchisio is played in brilliantly down the left channel by Cassano. He cleverly turned his marker but saw not one, but two left-footed strikes saved well by Pletikosa. Superb build-up play but equally good goalkeeping.


Italy go straight back on the attack and Cassano is played in down the right channel, but drags his shot wide. Italy regained possession immediately and Balotelli tried his luck from 25 yards, but his right-foot shot was wide of Pletikosa's right-hand post.


Chance for Italy as Cassano tries to play in Balotelli. His pass was cut out but the ball fell to Marchisio, who fired a first-time shot off target.


Italy get themselves into a good position 30 yards out, with Marchisio looking to feed Emanuele Giaccherini, but his through-ball was off-target. Meanwhile, Cassano then beat Strinic on the Italy right but his low cutback was deflected to safety.


Croatia look to build pressure with a free-kick and then a corner but their delivery is sub-standard and Italy are allowed to clear.


Croatia are started to assert their own authority on the game now and are forcing Italy back. It's turning into a bit of a tactical battle, with Italy's 3-5-2 system up against Croatia's 4-4-2. Italy seem keen to play through their three-man central midfield, while Croatia seem more intent on using their width and mobile forwards.


Croatia go straight back on the attack down the right through Darijo Srna, whose low, whipped cross is gathered at the second attempt by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon with Jelavic lurking.


Claim for a penalty for Croatia as Chiellini appears to drag Nikica Jelavic down to the ground, only for referee Howard Webb to give a free-kick to Italy.


Italy are starting to take control of the game now, dominating possession and duly converting it into chances. Balotelli seems to have his shooting boots on today, but is so far lacking a clinical edge.


Another chance for Balotelli, who fires in a shot from the edge of the box that Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa can only palm away.


Pirlo splits open the Croatian defence with a lofted ball from deep for Balotelli, but the striker tried to flick the ball back to Cassano and the attempt was intercepted. Great pass from Pirlo, though.


Close call for Italy as Claudio Marchisio sends a rasping left-foot strike from 25 yards narrowly over. Just before, Cassano found Balotelli inside the box, but the Manchester City striker's shot was blocked.


Both teams are still just feeling each other out here, neither wanting to commit too many players forward other than their respective strike partnerships. They both look content to play the ball between defenders and build from the back.


Italy win the first corner of the game as Antonio Cassano whips a low ball into the box that Ivan Perisic can only slice over his own bar. Croatia comfortably clear Pirlo's set piece, though.


Chance for Italy as Balotelli receives the ball with his back to goal inside the box, turns on to his left foot and fires a shot narrowly wide. Probably should have hit the target.


And we're under way in Poznan, where Croatia immediately look keen to get the ball down and play.

Italy have four players on yellow cards: Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Christian Maggio and Mario Balotelli. Only Luka Modric is carrying a booking for Croatia.

The teams are back out and kick-off in the second half is immenent.

The teams are out and the national anthems are currently being sung. Italy will be in their famous blue shirts, with Croatia in their red and white checks.

Italy may have Andrea Pirlo, one of the finest passers of his generation, in their ranks, but the Azzuri had just 34 per cent of the possession against Spain.

Croatia manager Slaven Bilic has revealed he has been just as concerned about this match as Monday's clash with world champions Spain. He said: "You know how Spain are going to play but Italy are so unpredictable. They can pass the ball. They can play the short balls. They can play through the middle. They can play counter-attack, with long ball from (Andrea) Pirlo to the strikers. They can play down the flanks. They are, for me, one of the biggest favourites in this tournament."

Croatia have every reason to be confident going into this game. Not only did they excel against the Irish, but in the five matches they have played against Italy as an independent nation, they are yet to be beaten.

And here is the Croatia team: (4-4-2) Pletikosa, Srna, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Strinic, Rakitic, Vukojevic, Modric, Perisic, Mandzukic, Jelavic. Subs: Kelava, Simunic, Buljat, Vrsaljko, Vida, Pranjic, Badelj, Dujmovic, Kranjcar, Kalinic, Eduardo, Subasic.

Here's how Italy will line up: (3-5-2) Buffon, Bonucci, De Rossi, Cheillini, Maggio, Marchisio, Pirlo, Motto, Giaccherini, Cassano, Balotelli. Subs: Sirigu, Ogbonna Obienza, Balzaretti, Abate, Barzagli, Montolivo, Diamanti, Nocerino, Di Natale, Borini, Giovinco, De Sanctis.

Both teams are unchanged from their opening games, with Italy resisting the urge to drop Mario Balotelli in favour of Antonio Di Natale, their goalscorer against Spain.

Welcome to our coverage of Italy's clash with Croatia in Group C in Poznan. Cesare Prandelli's side go into the game with one point after holding world champions Spain to a 1-1 draw in their opener, while Croatia top the group having swept the Republic of Ireland aside in an impressive 3-1 win.

**Provisional teams until kick-off


  • Cesare Prandelli Coach
  • Gianluigi Buffon Goal
  • Leonardo Bonucci Defender
  • Daniele De Rossi Defender
  • Giorgio Chiellini Defender
  • Christian Maggio Midfielder
  • Claudio Marchisio Midfielder
  • Andrea Pirlo Midfielder
  • Thiago Motta Midfielder
  • Emanuele Giaccherini Midfielder
  • Mario Balotelli Forward
  • Antonio Cassano Forward
  • Salvatore Sirigu Substitute
  • Morgan De Sanctis Substitute
  • Angelo Ogbonna Substitute
  • Federico Balzaretti Substitute
  • Ignazio Abate Substitute
  • Andrea Barzagli Substitute
  • Alessandro Diamanti Substitute
  • Antonio Nocerino Substitute
  • Fabio Borini Substitute
  • Riccardo Montolivo
  • Antonio Di Natale
  • Sebastian Giovinco


  • Slaven Bilic Coach
  • Stipe Pletikosa Goal
  • Darijo Srna Defender
  • Vedran Corluka Defender
  • Gordon Schildenfeld Defender
  • Ivan Strinic Defender
  • Ivan Rakitic Midfielder
  • Ognjen Vukojevic Midfielder
  • Luka Modric Midfielder
  • Ivan Perisic Midfielder
  • Mario Mandzukic Forward
  • Nikica Jelavic Forward
  • Ivan Kelava Substitute
  • Danijel Subasic Substitute
  • Josip Simunic Substitute
  • Jurica Buljat Substitute
  • Milan Badelj Substitute
  • Sime Vrsaljko Substitute
  • Tomislav Dujmovic Substitute
  • Nikola Kalinic Substitute
  • Domagoj Vida Substitute
  • Danijel Pranjic Substitute who played
  • Eduardo Substitute who played
  • Niko Kranjcar Substitute who played

Match Report

Croatia hold Italy to boost quarters hopes
Croatia held Italy to a 1-1 draw in their Euro 2012 Group C clash at the Municipal Stadium here on Thursday to boost their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Italy totally dominated the first period and went in at the break a goal to the good through a sumptuous Andrea Pirlo free-kick.
But a defensive error allowed Mario Mandzukic to equalise in the final 20 minutes and keep Croatia at the top of the group on four points.
Italy will now need to beat Ireland in their final group game and hope that the result in Croatia's game against Spain is kind to them if they are to progress.
The first half was one-way traffic and the Azzurri deserved more than the single goal they registered.
Having been such a disappointment against Spain, Mario Balotelli seemed more awake here and shot wide after a neat turn on three minutes, making the most of limited space in the box.
Claudio Marchisio rifled a shot over the bar while a Balotelli shot from the edge of the area was punched clear by goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa.
Croatia were struggling to create aything of note but Nikica Jelavic was a shoelace away from turning in Darijo Srna's cross at the near post.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli had asked his team to get in behind the defence and Antonio Cassano did exactly that to meet Leonardo Bonucci's flick over the top but he screwed his effort wide.
Pletikosa came to his side's rescue on 37 minutes as he made a double save from Marchisio, who latched onto Cassano's pass, turned a sliding Srna but then couldn't find the finish to beat the goalkeeper, who spread himself ice hockey style to deny the Juventus midfielder.
Italy got the goal their dominance deserved two minutes later as Pirlo curled an exquisite free-kick over the wall and inside the post, although it seemed a generous award in the first place from English referee Howard Webb.
Cassano almost added a second before the break with a flicked header from Pirlo's corner that went just over.
Right on the stroke of half-time Croatia broke but Gianluigi Buffon comfortably stopped Mandzukic's shot.
Croatia started a bit brighter in the second period and Modric got a shot away that Buffon again gathered comfortably before sending another over the bar.
Balotelli had a crack from distance that sailed over but then out of the blue, Croatia equalised.
Ivan Strinic sent over a cross from deep and Italy centre-back Giorgio Chiellini mistimed his jump allowing Mandzukic to bring the ball down and fire home off the near post from six yards.
Substitute Riccardo Montolivo had a shot from distance for Italy that Pletikosa dealt with.
But it was the Croats who were pushing hardest for a winner in the dying stages, without creating anything of note.





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