FT: Republic of Ireland 1 Croatia 3

Well, Ireland's ten year wait for another major tournament ends with a low-key performance and a disappointing defeat. Ireland were clumsy in defence while Croatia were clinical upfront. Spain are up next for Trapattoni's side who have it all to do if they are to progress from Group C. What is your reaction to the result? Email ollybell_2@msn.com with your thoughts on tonight's game.

And the whistle does finally blow after Andrews sees Ireland's last effort go wide.

Numerous full time whistles sounding from the crowd, but not yet from the referee.

Ireland continue to pressure but lose possession after St Ledger fails to control his header on the right wing.

Croatia make their final change now, Dujmovic coming on for Rakitic.

Duff find Andrews with the corner, who sees his well struck header go narrowly wide of Pletikosa's left post.

the first of five added minutes begins with an Ireland corner. Surely too late for a miraculous comeback.

Eduardo is coming on, but for Perisic rather than Mandzukic, who is back on the field.

Pletikosa's bravery is rewarded with an elbow to the face from Long. Accidental of course.

Fantastic cross by Cox is well dealt with by Pletikosa. The ball comes back in from the right but Andrews heads over.

Kranjcar slides in dangerously again, but goes unpunished this time. Tonight's hero for Croatia Mandzukic is hobbling off the field and will most likely be replaced.

Kranjcar gets his name on the book for a late tackle.

Srna hits his free-kick goalward but the wall stands strong to deny it.

O'Shea's crosses from the right, but Rakitic heads away. Cox looks to keep the attack going by searching out Walters but the pass is poor.

Ireland forward again and this time Andrews pounces on the loose ball to have a strike, but he mishits it and it goes wide of the goal.

Duff puts in a great cross for Andrews, but Pletikosa gets down well to hold.

Cox is a bit too eager to win the ball from Corluka, and clips his heels to concede a free-kick.

So close for Croatia as they threaten to extend their lead. A lovely move results in Srna setting up Rakitic for the shot, but he curls his effort just wide.

Perisic chases a lost cause, but does well to force a throw as opposed to a goal kick for Ireland.

Ireland press well in the middle and get their reward by collecting possession in defence.

Ireland make their final change now, Long replacing Keane.

Duff is getting increasingly involved in this game, and crosses again from the right, but the unchallenged Schildenfeld heads clear.

Croatia make a change with goalscorer Jelavic being replaced by Kranjcar.

Walters shows his strength by winning a header from Given's long kick, but Ireland can't get the ball under control.

Duff does really well to beat his man and cross dangerously, but Pletikosa is sharp off his line to claim the ball under the pressure of Keane.

Jelavic fouls Duff as Ireland now have a free-kick, sending forward the numbers. Duff crosses and Dunne meets with a header but it lacks enough power to beat Pletikosa.

Free-kick for Croatia as Cox blatantly fouls Mandzukic.

Ireland are playing with purpose but look unable to break an organised Croatia setup. Modric once again shows his technical ability with a lovely touch.

Srna wins a corner from Ward, but his delivery is cleared by the Irish defence.

The crowd is booing as Ireland play on despite Mandzukic staying on the floor with an injury. They go on to have a very good penalty appeal turned down by the referee, with Keane going down under the challenge of Schildenfeld.

Ireland seeing more of the ball again but O'Shea's cross from the right is poor and Pletikosa catches.

Ireland enjoy a bit of possession in the middle of the park as they look to cut the deficit which stands at two goals. They threaten on the edge of the Croatia box but Rakitic intervenes to hand possession back to Croatia.

Srna tries to cross from the right but it goes behind for a goal kick.

It is now Croatia with the set-piece in Ireland's half, which they play short to try and work the ball into the box.

Walters wins a throw on the right wing, which is converted into a free-kick as Strinic fouls Duff. Ireland are unable to take advantage though and Dunne is penalised for pushing in the Croatia box.

Mandzukic almost plays through Jelavic but the Irish defence are alert to the danger.

Cox tries to make an immediate impact on the game but his shot from distance flies over.

Ireland make a double change. Walters and Cox replace McGeady and Doyle.

Modric is fouled for a very late challenge on Dunne.

Ward crosses on the left for Ireland but Strinic heads clear.

Ireland begin the second half as they did the first, and are in all sorts of trouble as Trapattoni prepares to make a change.

Rakitic hits a corner towards Srna who hits a fierce drive at goal but it deflects clear.

Unfortunate for Given as Croatia make it 3-1. Perisic returns to the field in style by whipping in a fantastic cross, which Mandzukic heads towards the right corner. It hits the post and hits Given's head before finding the net.

OWN GOAL - Given deflects the ball into his own net!

Perisic is on the floor in a lot of pain following a clash with Whelan in the air.

Ireland kick off the second half. Can they turn this match around?

Ireland have moved out to 16/1 to claim an unlikely victory, while Croatia are heavily fancied to see out the win, priced at 2/9. The draw is available at an attractive 4/1. Ireland are far from finished in this game and I expect them to come out fighting in the second half. Robbie Keane is 8/1 to net the next goal, which may just be a wise choice to go for. Visit www.skybet.com to see all the in-game markets for rest of the match.

Ireland suffered from a disastrous start, and did really well to get back into the game, but a costly error from Ward has left them trailing at the interval. What do you think is in store for us in the second half?

Half time is called after an entertaining but ultimately disappointing first half for Ireland, who have to uncharacteristically blame defensive errors for going in to the break behind.

Perisic and Jelavic combine brilliantly on the left wing, and the former delivers an inch-perfect cross for Rakitic, who heads over. Could have easily been 3-1 there.

We are in the second of two additional minutes but we may have a little longer due to a few more stoppages.

Andrews concedes one foul too many and is finally booked for a rash challenge on Mandzukic.

Schildenfeld is currently off the pitch with a knock as Ireland restart play.

Ireland panic in defence after the corner had been initially cleared. Ward makes an error as the ball breaks for Jelavic one-on-one with Given, and the in-form striker nicely places the ball into the back of the net.

GOAL - Jelavic scores for Croatia!

Mandzukic capitalises on a loose pass from Ward in the Irish half, and Croatia eventually win a corner from the move.

Andrews passes to Keane and looks to receive the ball back from the captain's flick but his path is blocked by Corluka.

Schildenfeld wins the head from Srna's cross but the chance ends with Keane helping Ireland to get the ball clear.

Croatia tease in Ireland's half but St Ledger is first to Srna's cross and heads away. Croatia now have a corner for Ireland to contend with now.

Ireland come forward now but Doyle is unable to get good contact on Ward's cross from the left and Pletikosa can claim the ball with ease.

Perisic links with Jelavic before attempting an audacious volley. He connects well but narrowly misses the target.

Andrews slides in well to prevent Strinic's pass reaching Modric.

Ireland catch a break as a communication error sees Croatia lose the ball on the edge of the box.

Modric tries his luck from outside the area but it's directed at the middle of the goal and it's an easy catch for Given.

Modric turns away from Andrews with great pinache and Croatia go on to win a free-kick.

Ireland can take a breather now as they have a throw inside Croatia's half.

Croatia have a good series of passing in midfield but Ward heads successive crosses from the right wing clear.

McGeady blocks Srna crossing from the right, leaving the Croatians with a throw-in.

Ireland have a free-kick in a similar position to when they scored, but this time McGeady's cross is too high for Ward to reach at the far post.

Mandzukic shows great endeave by closing down on the Irish defence, but Given is able to clear the ball forward.

Modric runs unchallenged before feeding the ball to Mandzukic, but the striker is unable to have a shot on goal and Whelan and Given combine to get the ball clear for Ireland.

The referee calls a foul on Corluka's tackle on Whelan, although it looked fair.

Ireland look to advance again but Doyle's pass towards Keane is weak and is cut out.

Ireland try to weave the ball into the box but Keane is offside before he comes to collect the pass. Ireland looking much more composed on the ball now.

Perisic has a curling effort on goal parried away by Given after he drifted in from the left wing.

Croatia respond and win a corner. Srna's cross is cleared as far as Rakitic who has a go from distance but fails to trouble the target.

McGeady swings in what was a debateable free-kick from the left and St Ledger beats Corluka at the far post to head past the helpless Pletikosa. Ireland can forget about that awful start now and look to win this match.

GOAL FOR IRELAND - St Ledger equalises!!

Rakitic delivers the free-kick excellently and O'Shea does well to head behind for a corner. Ireland get the corner clear.

Croatia have a free-kick now on the left wing following Dunne's foul on Jelavic.

Schildenfeld is penalised for an unfair challenge on Doyle.

Perisic curls one in from the left wing for Croatia but it travels out for a throw.

Ward hits the ball forward on the left flank but Srna takes control of the ball ahead of McGeady.

O'Shea takes no chances as he hits the ball out for a Croatia throw on the left.

Andrews blasts his free-kick straight into the wall, and scuffs his rebound wide. Good opportunity wasted.

Ireland now have a free-kick in a very promising position as Schildenfeld upends Doyle.

Ireland can't make it count but are still on the attack. Duff delivers from the left but Corluka heads clear.

Doyle wins a throw on the right wing from Strinic.

Ireland still to settle and need some sort of response before Croatia take full advantage of their dismal start.

Doyle surges forward for Ireland but no free-kick is given after he falls cheaply to the floor.

Croatia stay on the attack from the corner, and score in a rather bizarre fashion as Mandzukic's looping header from just inside the box finds its way past Given into the right corner. 1-0 to Croatia, with the assist coming from Srna. Dreadful start for Ireland.

GOAL - Mandzukic scores for Croatia!

Some good defensive work by Andrews as he blocks out Strinic for a corner.

Ireland look to attack but Andrews heads out for a goal kick.

Ireland have an early free-kick in their own half which Given will hoof up-field.

Croatia finally get us underway.

The atmosphere here at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan in electric as the anthems finish. Who will come out on top of this clash?

Gareth Williams writes: "Away for the weekend for my wedding anniversary, waiting for the game while the wife is getting ready for a night out, COME ON IRELAND!"

Ireland have been on the drift in the build-up to their opening match of Euro 2012 and begin as 11/4 outsiders against Croatia, who are 11/10 to win with a draw 11/5. Robbie Keane's seven goals in qualifying were crucial to getting the Irish to the finals and he is price boosted from 13/2 to 7/1 to score first, while Everton's Nikica Jelavic is the 6/1 favourite to break the deadlock. www.skybet.com is the place to go to see all available markets on the match.

Our referee tonight is Bjorn Kuipers from Holland.

Here are the teams:

Rep of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, St, Ledger, Dunne, Ward, McGeady, Whelan, Andrews, Duff, Doyle, Keane. Subs: Westwood, Kelly, McShane, Walters, Gibson, Hunt, O'Dea, Long, Cox, Green, McClean, Forde

Croatia: Pletikosa, Srna, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Strinic, Vukojevic, Rakitic, Modric, Perisic, Mandzukic, Jelavic. Subs: Kelava, Simunic, Buljat, Pranjic, Badelj, Vrsaljko, Dujmovic, Kalinic, Kranjcar, Vida, Eduardo, Subasic

So, a tough group for Ireland, as they prepare to take part in their first major tournament for 10 years. With Spain and Italy drawing though, things are left open for either side to make an early impression tonight. Team line-ups coming up.

Hello and welcome to the Municipal Stadium in Poznan for the conclusion of the third day of this year's European Championships, between the Republic of Ireland and Croatia. Oliver Bell here to guide you through this evening's fixture, feel free to send your thoughts and predictions to ollybell_2@msn.com and I'll publish the best ones.


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