Euro 2012: Croatia defeat Ireland 3-1


Croatia bounced in command of Group C after a solid 3-1 win against Ireland in Poznan. Mario Mandžukić opened the scoring just three minutes after the game, then Ireland netted the equaliser through Sean St Ledger but Nikica Jelavić put Croatia in front a couple of minutes before half time and Mario Mandžukić wrapped things up for the Croatians three minutes after the interval.

Croatia struck just three minutes after the first whistle when captain Srna weaved to the byeline before passing the ball back into the area where Mandžukić headed past Shay Given. Ireland replied on a dead ball situation, a free kick that was curled in by McGeady at the far post where St Ledger was unmarked and nodded in to make it all square.

Ireland dropped deeper after netting the equaliser and Croatia were forced to resort to shots from distance with Modric and Perisic being denied by Given on such efforts. The pressure was mounting in the Ireland box though and Jelavic punished Trapattoni's men two minutes before half time when a poor clearance fell into his path.

Then Mandžukić doubled his tally three minutes after the interval, also with a header, but this time from a Perisic cross. The goal was a bit unfortunate for Ireland as the ball bounced off the post into the head of Shay Given and then into the back of the net.

Then Croatia controlled the game and denied Ireland any clear opportunities to score. The only slim chance came in stoppage time when Keith Andrews headed wide. Ireland will have to get results against both Italy and Spain to progress while Croatia lead the group at the end of day one.

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