Republic of Ireland 1-3 Croatia – Irish facing early Euro 2012 exit
The Republic of Ireland were outclassed in Poznan on Sunday night, with Croatia producing a high-class performance to leave any Irish hopes of reaching the quarter finals hanging by a thread.
June 10th, 2012
Giovanni Trapattoni wanted his side to be organised and defensively stout although any hopes of keeping a clean sheet evaporated in the third minute when Mario Mandžukić found space in the penalty area and the Wolfsburg striker was able to nod home for an early opener.
Ireland were stunned by this goal although they found their feet and were level by the 20th minute thanks to Sean St Ledger being able to beat Vedran Corluka from a free-kick and the Leicester City central defender made no mistake from close range.
The Republic now had a foothold in the game and appeared to be heading towards half-time with the scores level pegging although an attempted shot from Luka Modric came off an Irish player and Nikica Jelavic was able to pounce to ease the Croatians back into the lead.
Within minutes of the restart, Croatia had extended their lead when Mandžukić found space for a header and the ball rebounded off the post and hit Shay Given’s head before crossing the line.
Trapattoni made several chances including the introduction of Shane Long, Simon Cox and Jonathan Walters, although none of them could make the required impact and the Republic of Ireland now face Spain in four days’ time.