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Euro 2012 Predictions and Preview: Ireland vs Croatia

Group Elimination C: Sunday, 10 June 2012 - Poznan - City Stadium


Ireland comes into this tournament competing after being in the finals 10 years ago. Though they are the outsiders they are confident with playing with the like of Spain, Croatia and Italy in Group Elimination C. Things are crucial for Ireland, if they lose this match that would mean they would need to beat powerhouse Spain or Italy and would need to take a point in another. Ireland should take care of business here with Croatia it would give them one more point and could be enough for a quarter final berth. Star goalie Given who suffered a calf strain is doubtful but, coach Giovanni Trapattoni's insistent that he is ready to return to training in Poland. Trappatoni insist it’s just fatigue. All eyes will be on Given if he’ll return to training. Irish will look for veteran striker Robbie Keane to provide his scoring punch also "doubles as a playmaker, drifting deep into midfield to help ease pressure and start attacks" when he plays for the national team. Ireland qualified behind Russia winning 6 from 10 losing once to the Russians. Irish posses strong work ethic and they are a tight knit bunch. The problem is with defending coming from upfront they will lack help when going forward. 10 out of the last 12 games for Ireland have been 2.50 goals.


The Croats earned everything they have with hard work to get to these finals after a poor campaign. Bilic’s Croats finished second behind Greece they were put to the test against Israel for second place and winning against Turkey to qualify. Croatia is lead by mid fielder Luka Modric and striker Nikica Jelavic to lead a sound attack against the Irish. Croatia has the talent to win but, I don’t know if they pack enough punch to beat Ireland. I’m not quite sold on the Croats after dropping matches against Greece and Georgia.

Predictions: Croatia wins 0-1

Croatia has to win this match before facing the giants Italy or Spain. Though I think this will be a fight and look for it to be close in the 1st half but, I look for Croatia strategy to unveil in the second half. Also, with Irish goalie Given being out this presents opportunities for the Croats and we know the attack favors the Croats.

Euro 2012 Highlights: Ireland takes a beat down from Croatia 1-3

Croatia came into this game making a statement against the Irish, beating them 1-3 in their Euro 2012 opener here on Sunday, with stud striker Mario Mandzukic scoring two in a stirring meeting that saw both teams battle hard from start to finish.

It’s almost like the Croats were looking past this match knowing that aware that heavyweights Italy and defending European champions Spain, both Ireland and Croatia had been clear that they needed a convincing start to the tournament.

Just 3 minutes into the match, Wolfsburg striker Mandzukic positioned himself for a cross from captain Darijo Srna, stumbling briefly before steadying himself to beat Irish goalkeeper Shay Given with a powerful header.

Surprisingly, Ireland started injured goalie Shane Given who looked uncomfortable as he was caught off guard, conceding his country's first first half goal in 15 matches.

Given, the Aston Villa goal keeper who had been a doubt because of a knee injury but, was cleared to train and given the ok to play giving coach Giovanni Trapattoni a sigh of relief.

Croatia's fans went nuts and celebrated with flares on Mandzukic's goal, and did continued on to celebrate. Ireland, roared on by their fans, battled back.

The Irish had a chance to equalize 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.

  • 90+5' - The match is over. Final score 1-3.
  • 90+5' - K.Andrews of Ireland gets in a strike, but is off target.
  • 90+1' - Tomislav Dujmovic is on a sub for Ivan Rakitic for Croatia.
  • 90' - K.Andrews (Ireland) wins the ball in the air but heads wide.
  • 90' - At Municipal Stadium Poznan Damien Duff (Ireland) takes a corner from the Right.
  • 90' - Ireland's G.Whelan gets in a shot but it is blocked by a Croatia defender.
  • 90' - The fourth official's board shows 5 minutes, which will be added to the Second half.
  • 89' - Eduardo is replacing Ivan Perisic for Croatia at Municipal Stadium Poznan.
  • 89' - Croatia’s M.Mandzukic is on his feet again at Municipal Stadium Poznan.
  • 88' - The match at Municipal Stadium Poznan is underway again.
  • 88' - S.Pletikosa for Croatia is back on the field again.
  • 87' - The match has been stopped briefly for attention to the injured S.Pletikosa.
  • 87' - The match is underway again.
  • 86' - M.Mandzukic is down and play has been interrupted for a few moments.
  • 84' - Niko Kranjcar (Croatia) has been booked and must now be careful not to get a second yellow card.
  • 84' - Croatia drive upfield and D.Srna gets in a shot. The strike is blocked by a Croatia defender.
  • 81' - Ireland are pushing forward but K.Andrews's finish is wide of the goal.
  • 80' - K.Andrews (Ireland) gets in a powerful header but the ball is cleared away.
  • 78' - Croatia's I.Rakitic breaks free at Municipal Stadium Poznan. But the strike goes wide of the post.
  • 74' - Ireland make their Third substitution with Shane Long replacing Robbie Keane.
  • 72' - Bilic, Slaven (Croatia) is making a First substitution, with Niko Kranjcar replacing Nikica Jelavic.
  • 68' - In Poznan, R.Dunne (Ireland) gets his head to the ball but the strike is cleared by an untiring defence.
  • 64' - Croatia have been awarded a corner by Kuipers, Bjorn. Darijo Srna steps up to take it.
  • 54' - S.Cox for Ireland gets in a strike but fails to hit the target.
  • 54' - Simon Cox is on a sub for Aiden McGeady for Ireland.
  • 53' - Ireland make their First substitution with Jonathan Walters replacing Kevin Doyle.
  • 53' - Luka Modric (Croatia) gets a yellow card.
  • 50' - D.Srna (Croatia) gets in a strike but the shot is blocked by a defender.
  • 50' - Corner awarded to Croatia.
  • 50' - I.Rakitic (Croatia) is given an opening but the shot is blocked by a defender.
  • 49' - Ivan Perisic instrumental with a fine assist.
  • 49' - Goal! Mario Mandzukic extends Croatia's lead to 1-3 in Poznan with a header.
  • 48' - I.Perisic has recovered and rejoins the match in Poznan.
  • 48' - Play has been resumed at Municipal Stadium Poznan.
  • 47' - I.Perisic is writhing in pain and play has been suspended for a few moments.
  • 46' - The second-half is underway in Poznan.
  • 45+3' - The first-half has come to a close in Poznan.
  • 45+2' - Croatia's I.Rakitic attacks the ball with his head but his effort fails to hit the target.
  • 45+1' - 2 minutes will be added to the First half.
  • 45+1' - M.Mandzukic is back on the pitch.
  • 45+1' - Play is underway once more.
  • 45' - Attention is being given to Croatia’s M.Mandzukic and play has been suspended briefly.
  • 45' - Ireland's Keith Andrews has been booked in Poznan.
  • 43' - Goal! Nikica Jelavic gives Croatia a 1-2 lead in Poznan.
  • 43' - Kuipers, Bjorn has awarded Croatia a corner. Darijo Srna takes the kick from the Right.
  • 40' - N.Jelavic's header is off-target for Croatia.
  • 39' - Corner awarded to Croatia.
  • 36' - In Poznan Croatia attack through I.Perisic. The finish is off target, however.
  • 33' - Croatia push forward through L.Modric, whose finish on goal is saved.
  • 26' - Ireland drive forward but Robbie Keane is judged offside.
  • 24' - Kuipers, Bjorn blows against Ireland's Robbie Keane for offside.
  • 22' - Croatia's I.Perisic is on target but unsuccessful.
  • 21' - Croatia are coming forward and I.Rakitic gets in a strike, it misses the target, however.
  • 21' - In Poznan Darijo Srna for Croatia takes a corner from the Right-hand flag.
  • 19' - Aiden McGeady with an assist there.
  • 19' - Sean St. Ledger scores with his head for Ireland to level the match at 1-1.
  • 17' - At Municipal Stadium Poznan Darijo Srna (Croatia) takes a corner from the Right.
  • 12' - Ireland's K.Andrews gets his shot away but it misses the target.
  • 12' - K.Andrews (Ireland) goes for goal but the shot is blocked by an alert defence.
  • 7' - Ireland's D.Duff misses with an attempt on goal.
  • 3' - That's a fine assist from Darijo Srna.
  • 3' - Croatia move into a 0-1 lead through a Mario Mandzukic header.
  • 3' - Croatia have been awarded a corner by Kuipers, Bjorn. Ivan Rakitic steps up to take it.
  • 1' - The first-half is now underway.

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