Andrea Pirlo said Italy paid the price for not taking their chances after Croatia hit back to hold them to a 1-1 draw.
The Carlsberg Man of the Match opened the scoring in Poznan with a sublime 39th-minute free-kick, and was at the heart of an impressive first-half performance by the Azzurri. However, they could not take advantage of the numerous opportunities that came their way before the break, and Mario Mandžukić’s second-half strike pegged them back.
"We feel a bit bitter, as we had the chance to win it," the 32-year-old said. "We had some chances in the first half that we could have converted, but we still have one match left on Monday, and maybe then we will win. We just didn't score the second goal – maybe if we could have been a bit more composed it would have come, but it didn't happen."
Former Croatia striker Davor Šuker handed the award to Pirlo and commented: "It was a beautiful goal. I'm Croatian, but Pirlo was the best player on the night." The Azzurri 'regista' – or playmaker – said his side did not maintain their early levels for the whole game. "In the second half we dropped too deep and were under pressure."
The draw leaves Italy on two points with their final Group C match to come on Monday against the Republic of Ireland.
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