Vineet Ramakrishnan/Zeenews Sports Bureau
Poznan: So that is the end of another absorbing game, another draw (1-1) for Italy after being 1-0 up as the Croats salvage their top spot in Group C with 4 points in two games. Mario Mandzukic scored the all important equaliser for the Balkans in the 72nd minute after Andrea Pirlo had given the Azzurri lead with a stellar free kick in the 39th minute.
FINAL SCORE - CROATIA 1 : 1 ITALY
Here is how the game panned out..
90 + 5 min Kranjcar (Croatia) has an final effort on goal, thunderous drive, buffon saves it on the second attempt.
90 + 4 min Free kick for Itlay, Pirlo takes it not a good one, cleared.
90 + 3 min SUBSTITUTION Kranjcar (in) - Mandžukic (out) (Croatia).
90 + 2 min Chance for Italy, as Cassano takes the ball away from his teammate at the edge of the box, and passes to Pirlo who does not find any space.
90 + 1 min Crucial interception by Schildenfeld as Pirlo tries a pass to Cassano.
90 min Buffon takes a long Strinic cross and that’s FIVE long minutes of added time.
89 min Modric goes for goal from a tight angle, right wing, ball sails over the cross bar.
87 min Giovinco (Italy) concedes a free-kick for a foul on Vukojevic (Croatia).
86 min Free kick for Italy, in a favorable position, Schildenfeld fouled Giovino Yellow Card Gordon Schildenfeld. Pirlo takes the kick from the right wing headed away.
84 min Srna concedes the corner as Giovinco’s cross puts the keepr in a spot of bother, Srna clears it for corner.
83 min SUBSTITUTION Eduardo (in) - Jelavic (out) (Croatia), and Giovinco (in) - Cassano (out) (Italy).
80 min: YELLOW CARD for Montolivo on a foul on Mandžukic.
77 min: Maggio (Italy) is flagged for offside.
75 min: Montolivo (Italy) has an attempt on goal,open space for Montolivo but Pletikosa makes the save.
72 min: GOOOAAALLLL Mandžukic (Croatia) scores! Good long cross in by Ivan Strinic from deep left, Mario Mandzukic goes behind Giorgio Chiellini who mistimed his jump, Mandzukic, takes a touch before blasting in off the post. It 1-1, and Italy have been pegged back once again from 1-0 to 1-1.
70 min: SUBSTITUTION Antonio Di Natale (in) - Mario Balotelli (out) (Italy).
69 min: Free kick for Itlay right in the middle, di Natale warming up.
68 min: SUBSTITUTION Danijel Pranjic (in) - Ivan Perisic (out) (Croatia).
67 min: Montolivo (Italy) is penalised for a foul on Srna (Croatia).
66 min: Modric (Croatia) is penalised for handball.Tried to control a volley with the chest but gets a hand to it.
62 min: SUBSTITUTION Riccardo Montolivo(in) - Thiago Motta (out) (Italy).
61 min: Balotelli (Italy) has shot on target, long range over the cross bar.
59 min: Modric (Croatia) is penalised for a foul on De Rossi (Italy).
58 min:Corluka (Croatia) is penalised for a foul on Cassano (Italy). Chiellini (Italy) takes the free-kick.
55 min: Strinic (Croatia) has an attempt on goal. Corner for Croatia, Thiago Motta (Italy) is cautioned by the referee. YELLOW CARD for Thiago Motta.
53 min: Jelavic (Croatia) has an attempt on goal, corner won, Rakitic (Croatia) takes the corner a low one cleared one. But Rakitic gets the ball again at the right wing, dangerous ball in no one attacked!!!
51 min: Cassano goes for goal. Defectinoas Corner for Iltay, Pirlo delivers, well defended by Strinic.
50 min: Vukojevic (Croatia) is penalised for a foul on Balotelli (Italy)
49 min: Modric drives strong from the edge of the box, the ball kept on rising.
48 min: Corluka (Croatia) commits a simulation foul.
47 min: Modric goes for goal, weak one, Buffon saves it.
46 min: Croatia get under way in the second half with Giaccherini (Italy) fouling Srna (Croatia). Modric is playing higher but just behind Jelavic.
The Italians outpaced their Balkan neighbours in the first half as the Azzurri were on the ascendency for the first 45 minutes of the game going into half time 1-0 up.
Antonio Cassano and Mario Baletolli had ample chances at the goal with Italy getting 11 total shots at goal but it was the top class free kick from the 33-year old midfield maestro, Andrea Pirlo in the 39th minute from the left wing that made all the deference in the middle.
It was entertaining bit of play by both the teams but Italy created more chances as Croats, even though had some terrify play led by captain Srna failed to get something substantial out of it.
So that is the end of the first half with Italy leading one goal to nil courtesy a moment of pure genius by 33-year old Andrea Pirlo.
45 + 1 min: one minute of added time as Mandžukic (Croatia) has an effort on goal from the ring wing, collected by Buffon.The referee blows for half-time.
45 min: Srna (Croatia) concedes a free-kick for a foul on Balotelli (Italy).
42 min: Corner awarded to Italy. Pirlo (Italy) takes the corner. Antonio Cassano dahses to the near post, but his header flies over.
39 min: GOOOAAALLLL by Pirlo. Total class from the veteran, amazing free kick by the midfielder, from the corner of the box on the left side, Pirlo curls the ball just over the defensive wall, and into the bottom corner. Italy 1-0 Croatia.
39 min: Rakitic (Croatia) is penalised for a foul on Balotelli (Italy), Pirlo to take the free kick.
37 min: Twice denied by Pletikosa, Marchisio with the attempt on both the occasion, that had to be a goal.
35 min: Cassano (Italy) concedes a free-kick for a foul on Vukojevic (Croatia).
34 min: Baletolli goes for goal again, firing wide with a strong shot from range.
33 min: Cassano shoots just wide from a difficult angle on the right side, Leonardo Bonucci flicks the ball into space in the box, and Antonio Cassano fires across the goal from the angle.
31 min: Chance again for Italy Marchisio (Italy) has an effort on goal from the edge of the area after first Mario Balotelli then Antonio Cassano is crowded out. Well blocked by Gordon Schildenfeld.
29 min: Baletolli (Italy)fined by Strinic (Croatia).
28 min: Chance for Italy !!! Cassano darts into the area by a lovely turn of pace beating Schildenfeld, but his shot of goal is blocked before being taken by a perfectly timed tackle by Schildenfeld.
27 min: high ball in from Srna (Croatia) with corner, Perišic (Croatia) has an attempt on goal with the header, straight to Buffon though.
26 min: Giaccherini concedes a free kick in a dangerous position, Croat Captain Srna delivers from left wing, deflection from the wall, corner for the Balkans.
24 min: Balotelli (Italy) is penalised for a foul on Strinic (Croatia). Slight nudge on the back.
22 min: Jelavic (Croatia) is penalised for a foul on De Rossi (Italy). De Rossi (Italy) takes the free-kick.
20 minIvan Rakitic with the attack for the Croats, as he passes to Darijo Srna down the right. The winger's cross is well held at the near post by Gianluigi Buffon as Jelavic is inches away from connecting with another dangerous low cross,
19 min Good delivery by Perisic as Chiellin and Jelavic go down inside the area. Free kick to Italy.
18 minBaletolli wins a corner, Pirlo takes the kick, just a tad long, scrum in the middle but cleared eventually by the Croats
17 min: Cassano (Italy) concedes a free-kick for a foul on Schildenfeld (Croatia).
15 min Balotelli (Italy) has an effort on goal for the third time, this time on target but Croat goalie stops it well. Too much space for Baletolli.
14 min fantastic ball from Pirlo to Baletolli but the ball is cleared.
12 min Baletolli again goes for goal, blocked by Corluka. But bal laws still loose and Marchisio tried his luck as his drive goes narrowly over. Cassano was the man behind that move, stunning pass to find Baletolli inside the area.
11 min good run by Perišic as he sprints past Marchisio, but is stopped by Giaccherini.
9 min Free kick for Croatia, Chiellini fouls Jelavic.
8 min First Corner for Italy, Pirlo takes it, not strong, cleared away with ease.
6 minJelavic (Croatia) has an attempt on goal, weak one as he tried a bicycle kick. Buffon takes the ball.
5 min Mandžukic (Croatia) concedes a free-kick for a foul on Chiellini (Italy).
3 min Great opportunity for Italy, Baletolii has a shot on goal just wide.
1 min So we are under here at Municipal Stadium Poznan, Poznan.
Coin toss won by Srna (Croatia) he chooses the side, Italy to start of the proceedings.
Italy have never won their second group match in last 5 major tournaments whereas Croatia have never lost theirs.
National Anthems of Croatia followed by the Italians.
Dancers on the field with white flags doing the now customary pre-match routine that we have seen in all the euro matches so far.
Daniele De Rossi usually a midfielder, impressed as a makeshift centre-back against Spain and with an unchanged squad and he will be in charge of Luka Modric this evening.
Welcome to the live coverage of the Group C fixture of Euro Cup 2012 between Italy and Croatia.
Croatia: Pletikosa, Strinic, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Rakitic, Vukojevic, Modric, Srna, Perišic, Jelavic, Mandžukic.
SUBS: Kelava, Subašic, Šimunic, Buljat, Vrsaljko, Vida, Pranjic, Badelj, Dujmovic, Kranjcar, Kalinic, Eduardo.
Italy: Buffon, Maggio, Chiellini, Bonucci, Motta, Marchisio, Giaccherini, De Rossi, Pirlo, Balotelli, Cassano.
SUBS: Sirigu, De Sanctis, Ogbonna, Balzaretti, Abate, Barzagli, Montolivo, Diamanti, Nocerino, Di Natale, Borini, Giovinco.
Italy drew 1-1 with England in their opening game as Croatia had little trouble dispatching Republic of Ireland 3-1.
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli is likely to stick with the 3-5-2 formation which earned his side a 1-1 draw against Spain on Sunday.
The former Fiorentina coach has two major decisions to make, the first will come at the back as he must choose whether to retain Daniele De Rossi, who was impressive at the heart of the defence in their last match, or opt for Angelo Ogbonna and move the Roma star back into midfield.
His other dilemma is up front as he must pick between fielding Mario Balotelli or Antonio Di Natale. Balotelli looked frustrated and wasted a golden opportunity to open the scoring versus Spain, while the veteran Udinese star came off the bench to replace the youngster and netted the opening goal. However, Di Natale may not have a full 90 minutes in his legs at 34 years of age.
Croatia, meanwhile, are sitting in pole position in the group after their 3-1 triumph over Republic of Ireland and despite injuries to key players such as defender Dejan Lovren and striker Ivica Olic before the tournament, they did not miss a beat in their opener with the midfielders and strikers looking particularly bright.