Euro 2012 Group C: Ireland 1-3 Croatia | inside World Soccer

Euro 2012 Group C: Ireland 1-3 Croatia

[Monday, June 11, 2012 ]

Croatia got their Euro 2012 Group C campaign off to a flying start with a 3-1 victory over Republic of Ireland in Poznań on Sunday.

Croatia striker Nikica Jelavić shoots to score a goal against Republic of Ireland
Croatia striker Nikica Jelavić shoots to score a goal against Republic of Ireland

Photo: Getty Images

The Croats were ahead within three minutes of the kick-off when Mario Mandžukić's header from Darijo Srna's deflected cut back appeared to wrong-foot Shay Given and was allowed to loop into the bottom corner of the net.

Giovanni Trapattoni's men levelled it up before the 20 minute mark when Aiden McGeady's delivery to the far post was headed in by Sean St Ledger via his own shoulder.

But Croatia regained the lead just before half-time as Stephen Ward sliced a clearance from Luka Modrić's shot straight into the path of an unmarked Nikica Jelavić, who easily beat Given from close range.

And any hopes that Ireland could use the interval to regroup were gone when Mandžukić's header bounced out off the post but was cruelly diverted into the net via the head of Given as he dived to make the save.

Trapattoni made changes by introducing Jonathan Walters, Simon Cox and Shane Long but there was little in the way of invention and, for all the Irish efforts, Slaven Bilić's side were able to see the game out.

Lineups:

Ireland: Shay Given; John O'Shea, Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Stephen Ward; Damien Duff, Glenn Whelan, Keith Andrews, Aiden McGeady (Simon Cox, 54); Kevin Doyle (Jon Walters, 53), Robbie Keane (Shane Long, 75)

Croatia: Stipe Pletikosa; Darijo Srna, Vedran Ćorluka, Gordon Schildenfeld, Ivan Strinić; Ognjen Vukojević; Ivan Rakitić (Tomislav Dujmović, 92), Luka Modrić, Ivan Perišić (Eduardo, 89); Mario Mandžukić, Nikica Jelavić (Niko Kranjčar, 72)



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