Day 3 Highlights from Euro 2012
Vineet Ramakrishnan/Zeenews Sports Bureau
Here are the highlights from the two fixtures on Day 3 of Euro 2012 – Spain vs Italy and Croatia vs Republic of Ireland
Absorbing draw: It was an absorbing 1-1 draw on Sunday in Group C when Spain met Italy. It was a classic fixture with the Spanish attacking prowess going up against the ever astute Italian defense. As expected, Iniesta dazzled in the midfield along with Xavi Hernandez and and Xavi Alonso only to find the rocks of Italian defense, Daniele De Rossi and Giorgio Chiellini. De Rossi put in defensive masterclass as Italy more than matched the champions.
Antonio Cassano gave the Spaniards many a heart-stopping moments shooting at the target at will and completing spectacular passes. But it was the precision pass of a certain Andrea Pirlo that gave Antonio Di Natale with a golden opportunity to give Italians the lead in 61st minute, and he converted. Minutes later, Fabregas equalised courtesy another masterclass pass by David Silva which split the Italian defense for Febregas to tap it past Buffon. Casllias and Buffon were subjected to much action as both pulled off rather difficult chances, but the chance of the day came for Mario Baletolli who ruined his own good effort of winning the ball from Ramos failing to take the strike at the right moment with only Casllias to beat. He picked up a yellow card as well.
Croats put in three: In the second fixture of the day, Ireland defense came up short against Croatia as the ‘Vatreni’ scored three goals to take three points in their opening match. Mario Mandzukic scored twice as Luka Modric created a ruckus among the Irish fullbacks. After conceding an early goal in the 3rd minute, Ireland brought back parity with an Aiden McGeady free kick which was well connected by Sean St Ledger in the 19th minute. The Croats though got two more goals through Nikica Jelavic (43') and Mario Mandzukic (48') to pull the game away from Ireland.