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Slick Croatia spoil Ireland's return

Published: Sunday 10 June 2012, 23.41CET
Republic of Ireland 1-3 Croatia
Two goals from Mario Mandžukić ruined Ireland's long-awaited return to a EURO finals as Croatia opened up with an impressive victory in Poznan.
by Sam Adams
from Municipal Stadium Poznan

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Match statistics

Republic of IrelandCroatia

Goals scored1
 
3
Possession (%)45
 
55
Total attempts13
 
15
Attempts on target5
 
9
Attempts off target8
 
6
Attempts blocked1
 
4
Attempts against woodwork0
 
0
Corners1
 
7
Offsides2
 
1
Yellow cards1
 
2
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed12
 
18
Fouls suffered18
 
12

Standings

Last updated: 12/02/2013 17:13 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Sunday 10 June 2012, 23.41CET

Slick Croatia spoil Ireland's return

Republic of Ireland 1-3 Croatia
Two goals from Mario Mandžukić ruined Ireland's long-awaited return to a EURO finals as Croatia opened up with an impressive victory in Poznan.

Mario Mandžukić struck twice as Croatia opened their UEFA EURO 2012 campaign with a stylish victory against the Republic of Ireland.

A match played in incessant rain for long periods produced anything but a damp squib. Mandžukić, a focal point for Croatia throughout, struck as early as the third minute – the sixth-fastest goal in EURO history. Ireland rallied to level through centre-back Sean St Ledger, but Mandžukić grabbed his second after Nikica Jelavić had reclaimed the lead and Croatia never looked like slipping up from there.

Enjoying their first experience of a UEFA European Championship in 24 years, Ireland's fans were in boisterous mood despite the deluge in Poznan, but Croatia soon rained on their parade. Ireland failed to clear a corner, Darijo Srna's cross came off the back of Stephen Ward and – despite an untimely stumble – Mandžukić guided a precise header to Shay Given's left, with the goalkeeper's desperate clawed attempt not enough to keep it out.

The goal subdued the large contingent of fans dressed in green and Nikica Jelavić was nearly in straight away for a second, only to be denied by a wonderfully timed challenge from Richard Dunne. However, the Irish supporters soon rediscovered their voices as their team regained their composure. Damien Duff shot wide, Keith Andrews had a free-kick blocked and then, in the 19th minute, they levelled.

Vedran Čorluka – only passed fit on the eve of the match – bundled over Kevin Doyle on the left flank and from the resulting Aiden McGeady free-kick, St Ledger lost Čorluka at the back post to head firmly past Stipe Pletikosa. Croatia came back at Giovanni Trapattoni's men, though. Given had to beat away Ivan Perišić's drive, Jelavić headed just wide and Luka Modrić fired straight at the Ireland No1. The pressure was building, and Ireland's defence soon burst.

Another half-cleared corner came to Modrić. His tame effort ricocheted into Ward who could only stab the ball towards his own goal – his second inadvertent assist of the night – and Jelavić was waiting to flick a deft finish over the onrushing Given.

If the goal came at a bad time for Ireland, just before half-time, Croatia were not about to let the lead slip this time. Three minutes after the break, Perišić's invitation of a cross was met with glee by Mandžukić, and his powerful header hit the post, before striking the prone Given and cannoning in.

Croatia were playing on the break now, inviting Ireland on to them. Trapattoni brought on Jon Walters and Simon Cox, but apart from set pieces, Ireland were looking forlorn going forward. As their belief ebbed, Croatia reassumed their hold on possession. Ivan Rakitić shot narrowly wide and Mandžukić was a constant threat. Ireland supplied some late pressure, Andrews in particular going close with a couple of headers, but Croatia were good value for the three points and have the early lead in Group C after Italy and Spain's draw earlier in the day.

Last updated: 26/10/12 14.12CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2012/matches/round=15172/match=2003324/postmatch/report/index.html#croatia+spoil+irish+return

Quotes

  • Giovanni Trapattoni

    Read more"This evening we met a team who are technically strong but every game in this tournament could bring a surprise"

  • Slaven Bilić

    Read more"We prepared well for the game and knew everything about Ireland. We thought we were the better team but you never know"

Lineups

Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland

Croatia

Croatia

1
GivenShay Given (GK)
1
PletikosaStipe Pletikosa (GK)
2
St LedgerSean St Ledger
Goal19
2
StrinićIvan Strinić
3
WardStephen Ward
5
ČorlukaVedran Ćorluka
4
O'SheaJohn O'Shea
7
RakitićIvan Rakitić
Substitution90+2
5
DunneRichard Dunne
8
VukojevićOgnjen Vukojević
6
WhelanGlenn Whelan
9
JelavićNikica Jelavić
Goal43
Substitution72
7
McGeadyAiden McGeady
Substitution54
10
ModrićLuka Modrić
Yellow Card53
8
AndrewsKeith Andrews
Yellow Card45+1
11
SrnaDarijo Srna (C)
9
DoyleKevin Doyle
Substitution53
13
SchildenfeldGordon Schildenfeld
10
KeaneRobbie Keane (C)
Substitution75
17
MandžukićMario Mandžukić
Goal3
Goal49
11
DuffDamien Duff
20
PerišićIvan Perišić
Substitution89

Substitutes

16
WestwoodKeiren Westwood (GK)
12
KelavaIvan Kelava (GK)
23
FordeDavid Forde (GK)
23
SubašićDanijel Subašić (GK)
12
KellyStephen Kelly
3
ŠimunićJosip Šimunić
13
McShanePaul McShane
4
BuljatJurica Buljat
14
WaltersJon Walters
Substitution53
6
PranjićDanijel Pranjić
15
GibsonDarron Gibson
14
BadeljMilan Badelj
17
HuntStephen Hunt
15
VrsaljkoŠime Vrsaljko
18
O'DeaDarren O'Dea
16
DujmovićTomislav Dujmović
Substitution90+2
19
LongShane Long
Substitution75
18
KalinićNikola Kalinić
20
CoxSimon Cox
Substitution54
19
KranjčarNiko Kranjčar
Substitution72
Yellow Card84
21
GreenPaul Green
21
VidaDomagoj Vida
22
McCleanJames McClean
22
EduardoEduardo
Substitution89

Coach

Giovanni Trapattoni (ITA) Slaven Bilić (CRO)

Referee

Björn Kuipers (NED)

Assistant referees

Sander van Roekel (NED), Erwin Zeinstra (NED)

Fourth official

Viktor Shvetsov (UKR)

Additional assistant referees

Pol van Boekel (NED), Richard Liesveld (NED)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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