- European Championship Finals
- 14 June 2012, 4:00pm
- Stadion Miejski (Poznan)
FULL-TIME:Even stevens in Poznan which is probably a fair result. Italy were much stronger in the first half and took the lead through Pirlo's free-kick, but Croatia came back strongly after the break with Mandzukic grabbing their equaliser 18 minutes from time. Croatia are now on four points, two clear of Italy, but their last game is against Spain. It's all set up for a fantastic finale in Group C. Thanks for following our coverage.
90+4 mins:Worrying sign for Croatia as their goalsccorer Mandzukic is stretchered off. Kranjcar is coming on.
90 mins:Croatia are enjoying a late spell of pressure. Eduardo spreads the ball out wide to Strinic, but his selfish first-time shot swirls into the crowd. Five minutes added on.
86 mins:Sub Giovinco uses his pace to burst down the Italy right wing, but he's pushed back by Schildenfeld who is given a yellow card.
84 mins:Both sides make changes. Eduardo replaces Jelavic for Croatia and Italy's Giovinco, the smallest man at the Euros, comes on for Cassano.
82 mins:Mandzukic roams forward as Croatia push for a second goal. He finds an unmarked Jelavic on the right, but instead of going for goal, the Toffees forward tries to return the favour and his pass is cut out.
80 mins:Montolivo is booked for a foul on Mandzukic. Croatia look the more likely to force a late winner - and that would be good enough to send them through after only two games.
76 mins:Decent strike by Montolivo from the corner of the Croatia box, but his attempt is palmed away by Pletikosa who has been much quieter since the break.
74 mins:Half of the pitch is engulfed in smoke after more flares are set off by the Croatian fans.
72 mins: CROATIA DRAW LEVEL!It's that man again, MANDZUKIC! Srna swings a deep cross from the left into the box. Chiellini misses his headed clearance and the ball is controlled by Mandzukic and smashed in off the inside of the post from close range. That's his third goal of the tournament, although I can't believe he's been allowed to keep the one which went in off Given's head in their first match.
70 mins:More activity from the bench. Balotelli, still yet to open his account in this tournament, is replaced by Di Natale, who scored his side's goal against Spain in their opening game.
67 mins:Croatia make their first sub as Bayern Munich's Pranjic replaces Perisic.
65 mins:Promising attack by the Italians as a sea of blue bodies pour forward, but Cassano's loose control on the edge of the box sees the chance break down.
63 mins:The first sub of ther game is made by Italy as Montolivo replaces the yellow-carded Motta.
61 mins:Blistering strike from Balotelli who fires in a shot from 25 yards which flies just over.
59 mins:Srna catches Motta with his hip to the Italian's head when challenging for a high ball. Looked nasty - and deliberate - but the Croat escapes punishment.
56 mins:Motta is booked after a scuffle in the box as we await a Croatia corner. That's the first yellow card Webb has shown in the tournament.
55 mins:Good spell of pressure by Croatia as they earn a couple of corners. A flare has been hurled onto the pitch by the Croatian fans which is holding up play. Not very clever.
51 mins:Italy force a corner which is half-cleared towards Giaccherni, but his hopeless 25-yard strike ends up high and wide.
49 mins:Modric is playing in a more advanced role this half and has another shot from distance which just clears Buffon's crossbar. Positive start by Croatia.
47 mins:Early effort from Modric as the Spurs midfielder glides effortlessly towards the Italy area before unleashing a shot which Buffon dives low to his right to save.
46 mins:Croatia get us restarted as they attempt to overturn this one-goal deficit. No subs at the break.
HALF-TIME:Pirlo's excellent free-kick has given the Italians a 1-0 lead at the break. The Azzurri have been the better side and look far more threatening in the final third. Croatia have been average at best so far and face a tough task to turn this around. Join us for the second half soon.
45 mins:Mandzukic darts forward as Croatia look to catch their opponents on the counter attack, but his angled shot is easily held by Buffon. One minute added on.
42 mins:Goalscorer Pirlo whips a corner into the near post, but Cassano heads just over from six yards.
39 mins: AZZURRI IN FRONT!Deadlock broken in Poznan! Rakitic concedes a free-kick on the corner of the Croatia area. PIRLO takes the set-piece, bending his effort over the wall and past Pletikosa at the keeper's near post. Fantastic technique to dip that into the corner.
37 mins:Super double save by Pletikosa! Cassano's precise through pass to Marchisio unlocks the Croatia defence. Marchisio neatly turns away from Srna and only has the keeper to beat, but his shot is saved by Pletikosa, who then denies the same player by making a sprawling save from the follow-up.
37 mins:Super double save by Pletikosa! Cassano's precise through pass unlocks the Croatia defence. Marchisio flicks the ball past Srna, but his shot is saved by Pletikosa.
33 mins:Bonucci flicks a lovely pass with the outside of his left boot into the path of Cassano who breaks free of the Croatia defence, but the angle's against him and he drags his shot wide of the target.
30 mins:Cassano rinses Schildenfeld after nudging the ball past the defender inside the Croatia box, but he delays his pull-back and is tackled before he can tee up a team-mate.
27 mins:Now Giaccherni is penalised for leading with his arm as he concedes a free-kick a few yards outside his own area on the Croatia right. Srna whips in the set-piece which is cleared behind, before Perisic plants a tame header straight at Buffon from the corner.
25 mins:Needless foul from Balotelli as he sticks his elbow in the back of Strinic while jumping for a header.
Ricky Caig, Glasgow:"Jamie, you're having a laugh! Croatia 2-1."
21 mins:Croatia right-back Srna swings in a teasing near-post cross which Jelavic almost gets on the end of after running across the defence, but he doesn' make any contact and Buffon sweeps up.
19 mins:Cries for a Croatia penalty as Jelavic takes a tumble after being tugged down by Chiellini off the ball, but the free-kick goes Italy's way. The replays show that Jelavic committed the first foul by pulling back his marker. Good work by the English officials.
16 mins:Pletikosa is forced into his first save as he pats away a Balotelli banger from the edge of the area. Plenty of power but it was straight at the keeper. Super Mario has been busy in the early stages with Italy on top.
14 mins:Pirlo dinks a perfectly-weighted through ball over the top for Balotelli, but his first touch is poor and the danger is cleared by Schildenfeld.
11 mins:Another half-chance for Balotelli as he's picked out by Cassano inside the box, but his strike is blocked at point-blank range. The ball breaks to Marchisio who unleashes a fizzing rocket with his left peg which flies just over the bar from 25 yards. Cracking effort.
8 mins:Jelavic uses his body to turn away from Chiellini who hauls down the Everton striker on the halfway line. Referee Webb, who didn't dish out any cards during his first match between Russia and the Czechs, lets the defender off with a warning.
5 mins:Crosses are lofted into the Italian area from both sides as Croatia enjoy a spell of possession, but Bonucci heads clear the danger under pressure from Mandzukic.
3 mins:Balotelli goes close! Giaccherni finds space down the left and fires a cross to the Man City striker who spins quickly before sending his shot a fraction wide of the post.
0 mins:Howard Webb gets us underway in Poznan. The Azzurri are shooting left ro right.
Jamie, Hull:"£1,000 double on Spain and Italy must be a cert!"
1654:The teams are out for the anthems at the Municipal Stadium. Can Croatia secure their spot in the knockout stages? Send in your comments and predictions by clicking in the box above.
1630:Welcome to Orange's live coverage of Italy v Croatia in Poznan. The Azzurri made a solid start to their Group C campaign with a draw against reigning champions Spain, and coach Cesare Prandelli has decided to keep faith with Mario Balotelli in an unchanged line-up. That means Antonio Di Natale, who stepped off the bench to net against Spain, remains on the sidelines. Andrea Barzagli is still not match fit so Daniele De Rossi continues in the makeshift libero role. Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has also selected the same XI that beat the Republic of Ireland with Mario Mandzukic and Nikica Jelavic spearheading the attack. Croatia will become the first team to reach the quarter-finals if they win.
- European Championship Finals
- 14 June 2012, 4:00pm
- Stadion Miejski (Poznan)
Mario Mandzukic found the net once again to earn Croatia a deserved 1-1 draw in their Euro 2012 Group C clash with Italy in Poznan.
Croatia went into the encounter knowing a win over Italy would guarantee them a last-eight place, but they were decidedly second best in the opening 45 minutes at Poznan's Municipal Stadium.
Italy deservedly led at the half-time interval courtesy of Andrea Pirlo's stunning free-kick, but were never the same attacking force in the second period, allowing Mandzukic to equalise in the 72nd minute.
With four points from two matches, Croatia now face a challenging final clash with reigning world and European champions Spain.
As for Italy, who have now drawn both of their matches, they know they will have to beat the Republic of Ireland on Monday to be in with a chance of a quarter-final spot.
Although Italy coach Cesare Prandelli remains unbeaten in competitive internationals with eight wins and four draws, he will likely feel this was a game that should have been won in the first half.
Italy signalled their intent inside three minutes, via Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli in particular.
Receiving Emanuele Giaccherini's left-wing ball inside the area and with his back to goal, Balotelli made one touch and a sharp turn before firing a 12-yard left-foot shot narrowly wide.
It was the start of a predominantly one-sided half, with Claudio Marchisio shaving the crossbar with a rasping 20-yard drive just eight minutes later.
A further opportunity for Balotelli, with a snap shot straight at goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa, and an Antonio Cassano flick through the six-yard box sandwiched Croatia's one significant chance.
That came in the 20th minute when Darijo Srna played a piercing low ball from the right into the near post.
All that was required was the merest of touches from Nikica Jelavic that would potentially have been enough to beat Gianluigi Buffon, but instead the veteran was allowed to collect.
Italy, though, retained their stranglehold on the game and should have taken the lead eight minutes from the break, only for Marchisio to twice be denied by Pletikosa.
After a delightful touch to leave Srna for dead inside the area following a through ball from Cassano, Marchisio's initial left-foot shot was superbly saved by Pletikosa, who then blocked the follow-up at point-blank range.
But with the danger still present, Ivan Ratikic fouled Balotelli on the edge of the area, allowing Pirlo to whip a 21-yard right-foot free-kick over the wall and inside Pletikosa's right-hand post.
It left Slaven Bilic's side going into the break knowing they had to up the tempo and chase the game in the second half, which they at least started with greater urgency.
But after Luka Modric first fired a 20-yard shot a yard over the bar the encounter turned scrappy, dominated by niggly fouls and challenges until Balotelli came within inches with a fierce drive on the hour.
Then finally, in the 72nd minute, Croatia made their presence felt in the right way as their two-goal hero from the 3-1 win over the Republic of Ireland struck again.
Ivan Strinic's ball from deep on the left wing was missed by Giorgio Chiellini, allowing Mandzukic to control and beat the advancing Buffon in off the right-hand post from six yards.
Croatia finished the game the stronger as they went in search of the winner that would have sealed their last-eight place, but it was not to be, leaving both sides facing a dramatic final group game.