Thursday, June 14, 2012

Italy 1 - 1 Croatia (full-time) UPDATED

A good half by the Italian side puts them in front deservedly as they created a lot of goalscoring opportunities in this half. Croatia look more nervous as they did a lot of fouls in this half. The first chance of the match came from Italy as a cross was cleared awkwardly by Perisic, but fortunately it ended up on top of the net, as the it went nearly in. Croatia wanted to score but Italy looked really good at the back. Balotelli had a chance when he shot the ball but Pletikosa handed the shot rather well. Balotelli continued to impress in this half as a good run by him created chaos is Croatia defense and they had to clear to a corner. Pirlo took the corner but Motta handed the ball and Croatia had a free-kick. Croatia responded with Jelavic after a pass by Rakitic, but the Jelavic shot went wide. When attacked Croatia were dangerous and if they continue to press I'm sure they will score. Modric was bossing the midfield as pass after pass he was opening up Italy's defense. Giaccherini did not enter the match yet, as he gave possession far too cheaply in the half. Buffon did not make 1 save yet in this half even though the ball was in the Italy's half. But Italy were back on attacking mode with good work from Cassano, but instead of shooting he tried a pass to Balotelli which was cleared by Croatia. Marchisio had a golden chance to open the score after he shot once, but was saved by Pletikosa, the rebound ended again in the feet of Marchisio, tried again his luck but Pletikosa again saved the goal. But Italy's goal was in the air as Italy were given a free-kick, and with a beautiful shot Pirlo opened the score for Italy. Pletikosa may have had some fault in the goal though as he seemed way out of place to save the free-kick. Italy continued to press, and a Pirlo corner met the head of Cassano but his header went wide.

2nd Half

The second saw the Italian team defend and control the result, with Croatia looking more lively. In fact the half barely started when Mandzukic won the ball in the box searched for a player, but there was no one to get it, with the ball ending in Buffon's hands. Mandzukic was again dangerous as he tried his luck from outside the penalty area, but it ended over the bar. Bilic's half-time talk surely is giving the fruit in this half. Pirlo was still being left alone, as a long-ball from the midfielder tried to find Maggio but he was judged off-side. Croatia were pressing harder in the midfield, and this was creating problems in the Italian side. Srna with across tried to find Modric, but the Italy defense cleared the danger. Srna risked being sent off as when jumping with Motta he elbowed him, but the referee whistled just a foul Pirlo tried finding Cassano with a through ball, but Cassano failed to control the ball. Balotelli then was substituted by Di Natale, but the Udinese's player did not have a good match. Croatia then scored the equalizer, when Strinic crossed a good ball in the far post, Chiellini left Mandzukic unmarked, controlled the ball, and fired the ball into the back of the net.

Italy had a chance from Maggio but he was judged off-side, which replays showed he wasn't. Croatia had a chance from a counter attack, Modric passed to Jelavic, but Italy defended rather well. Mandzukic was agian presented with a chance, when he was again left unmarked in the box, but Italy recovered well, and blocked his shot. Eduardo came in for Jelavic, and Giovinco replaced Cassano. Giovinco was trying to push more unlike Cassano, but however was finding it hard to challenge the Croatian players as they are more built than him. Croatia then started wasting time by players saying they are injured as they seemed happy with a draw. Eduardo then had a chance by a counter attack, but he could not find the final pass.

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