Kiev: Highlights from Day 11 of 2012 UEFA Euro Championships being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine where four teams—Spain, Croatia, Italy and Republic of Ireland were in action on Monday.
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Spain and Croatia locked horns in Gdansk while Italy and Ireland squared off in Poznan.
Spain struggle to sneak in the quarters
Spain 1-0 Croatia
Spain overcame Croatia in a crucial Group C encounter on Monday to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Euro Cup defeating Ireland 1-0.
Spain’s tiki-taka brand of football combined with Croatian defensive mindset produced one of the dullest encounters of the tournament. Spain named an unchanged team while Ireland made two changes on their line-up with Domagoj Vida and Danijel Pranjic in place of Nikica Jelavic and Ivan Perisic from their last matches.
The contest was heading for a draw as La Roja looked for an opening through the defenses of Croatian team without any success. Till the half-time, the score was 0-0. Post break, Croatia looked a bit offensive only to be denied by keeper Iker Casillas who blocked Ivan Rakitic’s close-range header.
The stalemate was broken during the 87th minute as substitute Jesus Navas slotted home after Andres Iniesta’s generous tap gave him the simplest of chances as Spain charged ahead with a decisive 1-0 lead to end Croatian hopes.
Boys in Green clear the way for Azzurri
Italy 2-0 Ireland
Ireland ended their disastrous Euro Cup 2012 campaign with a third successive loss to Italy losing 0-2.
Having being knocked out of the tournament already, Ireland were off pressure and with a wholehearted support from their fans, charged early on having created a chance for an opener within 10 seconds into the game.
Italy were sluggish early on but got their groove back as Cassano headed past keeper Shay Given in the 35th minute to give his side the lead. They were on the verge of doubling their lead 14 minutes later but for Richard Dunne who blocked Cassano’s strike from 12 yards. The Italians were leading 1-0 at the end of first half.
Substitute B Mario Balotelli sealed the deal with an acrobatic bicycle kick from just outside the box in the 90th minute as Italy booked their place in the quarters.
Nicklas fined and banned
Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner was fined 100,000 euros and banned for one international match by UEFA for displaying the name of a betting company on his underpants in a Euro 2012 game.
The striker pulled down his shorts after scoring against Portugal on Sunday revealing the name of a betting firm.
First Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 13:40