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  • Date:10 Jun 2012
  • Kick-off:19:45
  • Venue:Poznan Municipal Stadium - Poznan
  • Sean St Ledger (19)
  • Mario Mandzukic (3)
    Nikica Jelavic (43)
    Mario Mandzukic (48)
Goal!

Live Commentary

95mins

Andrews has one last effort but again he can't hit the target.

95mins

It's all over. Croatia have made the perfect start to their campaign, while Ireland have a mountain to climb to reach the knockout stages.

92mins

Cox can't get a shot away under pressure from a host of Croatia defenders and it's almost over for Ireland.

91mins

Andrews has a free header from Duff's corner but, from 10 yards out, his effort drifts agonisingly wide of the far post. That probably ends Ireland's hopes of a dramatic comeback.

90mins

We are into five minutes of stoppage-time.

89mins

Former Arsenal striker Eduardo comes on for the final moments in place of Perisic.

88mins

Kranjcar, already on a yellow card, slides in again but escapes a second booking.

87mins

Pletikosa is next to need treatment after Long crashes into the goalkeeper while he punches clear.

85mins

Some strong challenges from both sides now and Mandzukic has to be helped off after catching a stray arm from St Ledger.

83mins

Looks like Ireland are going to finish empty-handed here and that means they will likely need to beat both Spain and Italy to go through.

81mins

Andrews tries again moments later, but this time the 31-year-old is off target with a long-range effort.

80mins

Andrews' header brings a save from Pletikosa as the midfielder gets up to meet Duff's cross. Not enough power to beat the Croatian keeper though.

79mins

Cox snaps at Corluka and gives away a free-kick, but Croatia don't make it count.

77mins

Rakitic goes close to scoring the best goal of the evening as a flowing move ends with the Croatian midfielder curling his shot just past the far post.

74mins

Trapattoni makes his last throw of the dice, sending on striker Shane Long in place of Keane, who has been subdued for long periods.

73mins

No lack of effort from Ireland, but they lack the cutting edge needed to break down the Croatia defence.

71mins

Looks like Bilic is trying to close out the match as he makes his first change, with Jelavic replaced by midfielder Niko Kranjcar. That was an impressive display from the Everton striker.

69mins

Duff shows great pace to reach O'Shea's long ball on the right flank. His cross comes to nothing though as Pletikosa comes off his line to catch.

67mins

Duff wins a free-kick out on the left, but Dunne meets the winger's set-piece with a weak header that doesn't test Pletikosa.

66mins

Still plenty of noise from the Ireland supporters. Can their team respond in the final 24 minutes?

62mins

Ireland should have had a penalty there as Croatian defender Gordon Schildenfeld crunches into Keane just inside the area. His clumsy challenge from behind looks a clear foul, but referee Bjorn Kuipers waves play on and Keane is furious.

61mins

Ireland enjoy a decent spell of possession but it ends with a tame cross into the box from John O'Shea that Pletikosa claims easily. Ireland need better than that.

57mins

Croatia's superior technical ability is shining through now, but there's no sign of Ireland throwing in the towel.

56mins

Free-kick for Ireland deep into the Croatia half. They need to make these opportunities count, but Duff's delivery is too deep and Dunne ends up conceding a foul.

53mins

Ireland's substitutes combine immediately with Walters flicking on to Cox, who tries a speculative effort that flies over.

53mins

It's Doyle and McGeady who are hauled off, with Jon Walters and Simon Cox sent on.

52mins

Ireland need to do something to stem the tide of Croatia attacks and Trapattoni is about to make a double change.

50mins

Croatia have seized control of this match with a purple patch either side of half-time. It's a long way back for Ireland now.

49mins

It's a terrific goal from Mandzukic, who rises highest to meet Perisic's cross with a powerful header that bounces off the post and then hits the prone Given before rebounding into the net.

48mins

Mandzukic increases Croatia's lead with his second goal of the game.

48mins

Goal for Croatia!

47mins

It's half-time in Poznan.

46mins

Ivan Rakitic almost increases Croatia's lead as he heads over from Perisic's teasing cross. That was a good chance wasted.

46mins

Television cameras caught Keane having a go at an official in the tunnel as the players came back out. Might have been complaining that no Croatians were given offside in the build-up to Jelavic's goal. Did look a tight call.

45mins

The Croatian fans celebrate by setting off fireworks and flares that cast a cloud of smoke over the pitch in the final moments of the half.

44mins

Croatia deserve that for a period of intense pressure. The goal comes at a bad time for Ireland just before half-time. But they have already come back once so don't write off Trapattoni's team just yet.

42mins

Ireland can't clear a corner and when Modric miscues a shot from the edge of the area, Ward's attempt to clear only diverts the ball to Jelavic, who is all alone six yards from goal. That's too much of a gift for the Croatian to pass up and he cleverly guides his shot over the exposed Given.

41mins

Jelavic restores Croatia's lead with a predatory finish.

41mins

Goal for Croatia!

38mins

Ivan Strinic swings over an inviting cross towards Jelavic, but the striker can't keep his header on target.

36mins

Croatia are enjoying a good spell here. It's all hands to the pump for the Ireland defenders as they battle to keep Bilic's side at bay.

34mins

Perisic sets his sights on a spectacular strike from the edge of the area after a neat flick from Jelavic. The midfielder can't connect cleanly enough though and Given doesn't need to move as the shot goes wide.

33mins

Modric hasn't had a lot of time on the ball, such is the frenetic nature of the tie so far. But the classy Croatian works just enough space for a shot that Given saves easily.

30mins

It's a really open game, with the promise of more goals to come as neither defense looks impregnable.

28mins

McGeady takes another free-kick, from the exact spot that he delivered for the goal, but this time his inswinger is too high for Stephen Ward to reach at the far post.

24mins

Modric causes a brief moment of panic in the Ireland defence as he tries to exchange passes with Mandzukic after a dynamic run, but Trapattoni's men smuggle the ball to safety.

21mins

Croatia midfielder Ivan Perisic drives in a powerful long-range effort that forces Given to make a sprawling save. It's end to end stuff at the moment.

20mins

The Ireland supporters have chosen an appropriate response to that goal as they turn their backs on the action and link arms to do "The Poznan" -- the goal celebration made famous by supporters from this Polish city.

18mins

Leicester defender St Ledger did well to get in front of Vedran Corluka as the pair challenged for Aiden McGeady's free-kick and his close-range header gave Pletikosa no chance. Great start to the match.

18mins

Sean St Ledger draws Ireland level with a glancing header.

17mins

Goal for Ireland!

15mins

Someone in the crowd is blowing a whistle when Croatia attack and once or twice players have appeared to hesitate, thinking it's the referee's whistle.

15mins

Jelavic shows great determination to close down Dunne and wins a free-kick as the Ireland defender loses possession and drags him to the turf.

13mins

We haven't seen anything of Keane yet. Ireland need to get the LA Galaxy forward on the ball.

10mins

Andrews takes the set-piece but his hit and hope effort bounces back off the wall and the midfielder fares even worse with the rebound as he drags a hurried strike way wide.

10mins

Chance for Ireland, who have a free-kick just 20 yards out in a central position.

9mins

Duff tries to lead the Irish response as he picks up a pass from Kevin Doyle, but his shot doesn't trouble Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa.

7mins

Ireland need to regroup quickly after such a dispiriting start. They've waited too long for this chance to throw it away so easily.

6mins

That's Mandzukic's sixth goal in 30 international appearances and it puts Ireland's 14-match unbeaten run in danger.

2mins

Mandzukic did well to readjust as he initially lost his footing when Darijo Srna's deflected cross from the touchline found him completely unmarked. It's a good header but Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given might be a little disappointed he couldn't keep it out.

2mins

Wolfsburg striker Mario Mandzukic gives Croatia a dream start as he heads home from 10 yards out.

2mins

Goal for Croatia!

Croatia make an early incursion down the left and Keith Andrews is forced to concede a corner.

There's been heavy rain in Poznan today and the resulting slick pitch should make for a lively match as Croatia get us underway.

The Irish national anthem raises the roof as the green-clad masses bellow out "A Soldier's Song". Just moments away from kick-off now.

It's national anthem time and Croatia are first up.

The teams have just emerged onto the pitch at the 43,090-capacity Municipal Stadium. There's a huge Irish travelling support, over 25,000 are believed to have made the journey to Poznan, and they are making a tremendous racket.

Croatia: Pletikosa, Srna, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Strinic, Vukojevic, Rakitic, Modric, Perisic, Mandzukic, Jelavic. Subs: Kelava, Simunic, Buljat, Pranjic, Badelj, Vrsaljko, Dujmovic, Kalinic, Kranjcar, Vida, Eduardo, Subasic.

Republic of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, St. Ledger, Dunne, Ward, McGeady, Whelan, Andrews, Duff, Doyle, Keane. Subs: Westwood, Kelly, McShane, Walters, Gibson, Hunt, O'Dea, Long, Cox, Green, McClean, Forde.

Two stars of the English Premier League will be key to Croatia's hopes of reaching the knock-out stages. Luka Modric sets the tempo in midfield with his intelligent passing and astute reading of the game. The Tottenham playmaker is a transfer target for Manchester United and Chelsea and will be expected to supply the ammunition for Everton striker Nikica Jelavic, who bagged 11 goals in just 15 league appearances following his January move from Rangers.

Croatia, who have never been past the quarter-finals in three attempts at the Euros, aren't among the favourites for the title, but Slaven Bilic's side won't fear any of their Group C opponents. Like Ireland they had to negotiate a play-off tie to qualify after finishing second behind Greece in their group. A stunning 3-0 first leg win over Turkey in hostile Istanbul underlined Croatia's class and effectively booked their place in the finals.

Ireland are fortunate to have a manager with Trapattoni's wealth of experience as their only previous appearance at the European Championships came way back in 1988. Then Jack Charlton's side claimed a shock 1-0 win over England, drew with the Soviet Union, who finished as runners-up, and only bowed out after a narrow defeat to eventual winners Holland. A repeat of that memorable run would be a tremendous effort this time around.

Trapattoni has his eyes on erasing the one blemish on his glittering CV. Despite winning a host of trophies with the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich, the 73-year-old is still bitter about a disappointing four-year spell in charge of Italy and would love to make amends by leading Ireland through a tough group.

It's a big moment for Irish old-stagers like Robbie Keane, Shay Given, Richard Dunne and Damien Duff, who are all survivors from that 2002 campaign and are relishing an unexpected chance to steal some of the spotlight at a showpiece event.

After of series of agonising play-off defeats to the likes of France, Belgium and Turkey in previous years, Ireland are finally back on the big stage. This is their first match at a major international tournament since they lost on penalties to Spain in the second round of the 2002 World Cup. To get here, Giovanni Trapattoni's side comfortably beat Estonia in the play-offs after finishing second behind Russia in their qualifying group.

Welcome to our live updates from Euro 2012. Earlier on, we saw holders Spain held to a 1-1 draw by Italy and now it's time for the other Group C fixture as the Republic of Ireland face Croatia in Poznan.

That concludes another entertaining day at the Euros. Join us on Monday for France v England and Ukraine v Sweden.

Ireland get the second half underway. Lets hope for more of the same.

A superb half comes to a close with Croatia in the ascendancy. Bilic's team have really hit their stride now.

**Provisional teams until kick-off

Ireland

  • Giovanni Trapattoni Coach
  • Shay Given Goal
  • John O'Shea Defender
  • Richard Dunne Defender
  • Sean St Ledger Defender
  • Stephen Ward Defender
  • Damien Duff Midfielder
  • Glenn Whelan Midfielder
  • Keith Andrews Midfielder
  • Aiden McGeady Midfielder
  • Kevin Doyle Forward
  • Robbie Keane Forward
  • Kieran Westwood Substitute
  • David Forde Substitute
  • Stephen Kelly Substitute
  • Paul McShane Substitute
  • Darren O'Dea Substitute
  • Darron Gibson Substitute
  • Stephen Hunt Substitute
  • Paul Green Substitute
  • James McClean Substitute
  • Jonathan Walters
  • Simon Cox
  • Shane Long

Croatia

  • 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
  • Sime Vrsaljko Substitute
  • Domagoj Vida Substitute
  • Danijel Pranjic Substitute
  • Milan Badelj Substitute
  • Nikola Kalinic Substitute
  • Niko Kranjcar Substitute who played
  • Eduardo Substitute who played
  • Tomislav Dujmovic Substitute who played

Match Report

Croatia thrash Ireland in stirring Euro start
Croatia piled on the misery for Ireland, beating them 3-1 in their Euro 2012 opener in Poznan on Sunday, with Mario Mandzukic scoring two in a stirring meeting that saw both teams battle hard from start to finish.
Keenly aware that on the road ahead lie heavyweights Italy and defending European champions Spain, both Ireland and Croatia had been clear that they needed a convincing start to the tournament.
Just three minutes in, Wolfsburg striker Mandzukic moved into position for a cross from captain Darijo Srna, stumbling briefly before steadying himself to beat Irish goalkeeper Shay Given with a powerful header.
Veteran Given - Ireland's most capped player with 122 - appeared uncomfortable as he was caught off guard, conceding his country's first first half goal in 15 matches.
The 36-year-old Aston Villa keeper had been a doubt because of a knee injury but after being able to train fully on Friday suffered no reaction and was cleared to play in Sunday's match giving coach Giovanni Trapattoni a boost.
Croatia's ecstatic fans let off flares to celebrate Mandzukic's goal, and did so again to mark the ensuing strikes despite appeals from the announcer, meaning the team looks set to be the latest to be fined by UEFA for the behaviour of its supporters at Euro 2012.
Ireland, roared on by their fans, battled back.
They had a chance to equalise after winning a free kick on the edge of the area in the 11th minute when Gordon Schildenfeld fouled Kevin Doyle, but Keith Andrews's shot was blocked.
Eight minutes later, however, came a repeat performance, as Doyle was brought down by Vedran Corluka.
Aiden McGeady stepped up to take the shot, firing the arching free kick to Sean St Ledger, who nodded past Croatian keeper Stipe Pletikosa.
That put a smile on the face of the Leicester City player, who did not score for his club this season.
Ireland's green, white and orange-clad supporters responded by doing "the Poznan", a backs-to-the-pitch jumping dance made famous by fans of the city's top-flight club Lech.
The two teams continued to parry and thrust into the dying minutes of the half, until Croatia packed into the Irish area, with Ivan Perisic crossing to Ivan Rakitic.
A touch by Stephen Ward put Nikica Jelavic onside, and he beat Given in the 43rd minute.
Three minutes after returning from the dressing room, Croatia made it 3-1 when Mandzukic fired towards the far corner of the net.
The shot hit the post, but bounced off the lunging Given and into the back of the net.
Ireland and their supporters were irate in the 62nd minute when talismanic captain Robbie Keane - their 31-year-old record goalscorer who like Given is at what is likely to be his last international tournament - was brought down by Schildenfeld in what the video replay showed was the Croatian box.
But Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers refused to award a penalty.
Ireland came achingly close to an honour-saving goal in the 86th minute as they packed around the Croatian net, but failed to made good on the pressure they applied.

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