FT: Italy 1 Croatia 1

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Full-time: Webb calls time on the game and it's a share of the points for Croatia and Italy in Group C. The Azzurri looked bright and in control before the break but Bilic's side asked more questions in the second half and deserved a point.

90+6
Eduardo with a chance to punish Italy on the break. He has two men in the box but cannot beat the first man.

90+4
Mandzukic leaves on a stretcher but it doesn't seem too serious. Replaced by Kranjcar.

90+2
Both sides attacking and going for the win. Italy have a chance but Di Natale takes it off a team-mate's foot in the box. Pirlo then has an opportunity to shoot but takes a touch. Italy finishing strongly but Croatia a threat on the break.

89
Di Natale ruled offside when through but it looks a poor decision. At the other end, Eduardo spreads the ball left for Strinic but the Croat blasts high and wide.

89
Srna crosses for Eduardo but De Rossi leaps to intercept.

88
Pirlo feeds Giovinco but the Italian miscontrols and concedes a foul trying to win it back. No rhythm at all to this second half.

86
Schildenfeld booked for blocking Giovinco. The Italian was set to outpace him down the flank.

85
Pirlo takes it short for Giaccherini, who then overhits the cross.

85
Giovinco wins a corner with his first touch.

83
Giovinco comes on to replace Cassano.

83
Eduardo is on for Jelavic.

82
Good chance for Croatia on the break. Three-on-three but Mandzukic and Jelavic make a mess of it and the ball is intercepted by De Rossi. A goal for Croatia here would see them through and they can sense it is coming.

80
Montolivo booked for an aggressive aerial challenge.

79
Croatia much improved in this second half and looking physically stronger.

77
Cassano finds Maggio with a lifted ball over the defence but it's ruled offside. Replays suggest it was just onside but the Napoli wing-back skewed wide anyway.

76
Back underway and Italy taking a more attacking approach now their lead has gone. Montolivo with a shot on goal that Pletikosa pushes away.

74
Delay now as the Croatia fans light more flares. Buffon is in conversation with Webb and it looks like the game will be delayed until the smoke has cleared and the Italian goalkeeper can see the ball.

Another cross comes in from the left and Chiellini completely misjudges the flight of the ball. He jumps underneath it in and Mandzukic controls before firing in off the near post.

72
Goal! Mario Mandzukic!

71
Good pressure from Croatia but when the cross comes in from Strinic it is cleared.

70
Di Natale on for Balotelli.

69
Italy win two fouls in quick succession. Prandelli's men not been nearly so bright in this half but the onus is on Croatia.

68
Pranjic on for Perisic.

66
Pirlo lofts a pass but there's too much air on that one for Cassano and Pletikosa claims.

65
Scrappy passage of play so Maggio decides to have a run. He appears to be fouled by Strinic but Webb waves play on. Good battle between Strinic and Maggio on the flank - both having a good game.

64
Cassano feeds Balotelli but the striker delays and is robbed. A mixed performance from the 21-year-old today.

63
Montolivo replaces Motta.

62
Good chance for Italy when the ball breaks for Pirlo. He passes to Cassano on the left but the forward's control is poor and the moment is gone.

61
Giaccherini finds Balotelli in a central position outside the box. He has time to shoot but fires powerfully just over the bar.

60
All getting a bit tense in Poznan. Srna crosses and Modric fouls De Rossi in the box. Then, after play is stopped, Srna ploughs into Motta off the ball. Tempers rising.

59
Bit of time-wasting from Italy at the moment. Trying to slow things down and bring an end to this good spell from their opponents.

57
Balotelli in space in the Croatia half tries to hook a blind pass to Cassano but it's a poor one. He had time there.

56
Motta booked for a skirmish in the box before the corner comes in.

56
Back underway and Strinic wins a corner after his shot is deflected.

55
Delay now as the Croatia fans hurl a flare onto the pitch. Several Croatia players imploring for their own supporters to stop.

54
Rakitic gets the corner in at the second attempt but it bypasses everyone and runs out for a goal kick.

53
Jelavic tries to turn De Rossi in the box and wins a corner.

51
Corner is headed clear to Giaccherini who looks devoid of ideas in a central position and blazes over.

50
Balotelli comes deep to collect and draws the foul. Free-kick is taken quickly to Bonucci who shoots from distance. It's blocked by Perisic for a corner.

49
Cassano attempts a one-two and goes down in the box under a challenge but no foul given. Croatia break through Mandzukic and find Modric. He hits another shot - cleaner this time - but it's high and over the bar.

47
Corluka running down the right flank but is adjudged to have fouled Giaccherini.

47
Ball comes to Modric in space in a central position. He shifts it and shoots low but it's comfortable for Buffon.

46
Long pass finds the chest of Jelavic and he lays it off to Mandzukic. The Wolfsburg forward tries a first time pass but not sure who that's to. It's straight at Buffon.

46
Croatia kick-off and we're underway.

Thanks for your messages. The players are back on the pitch and ready to go.

Ragel Barrett: "Good lead by Italy but I believe Croatia's defence can hold out and their forwards can produce a goal to leave today with a draw."

Sid says: "What a player Pirlo is. When the ball leaves his foot, probabilities dictate that it will either end up at a team-mate's feet or in the back of the net."

Pirlo is being afforded far too much time on the ball and being allowed to impose his will on the game. An appropriate goalscorer. Croatia's plan to get at the Italian defence with crosses and long balls hasn't really paid off and you wonder if they'd be better if they tried to utilise their own playmaker Modric.

What did you make of that? Thoughts for the second half? Get in touch by email at Adam.Bate@bskyb.com or via Twitter @GhostGoal

Half-time: Howard Webb blows his whistle at that's it for the first half. Italy deservedly in the lead.

45+1
Chance to break with a three-on-three for Croatia. The ball comes to Mandzukic down the right but with two men in the box he instead tries to beat Buffon at the near post. Wrong option and easily saved.

45
De Rossi nearly guilty of overplaying but comes away with the ball.

44
Croatia trying to find a way back into the game with a bit of keep-ball but it leads to nothing. This may require a change of game-plan at the interval from Bilic.

43
Pirlo then finds the head of Cassano at the near post but his header is just wide.

42
Cassano wins a corner.

41
Rakitic crosses from the right and De Rossi cuts it out. Nonchalant stuff from De Rossi. That's the advantage of a midfielder in defence - picks a first-time pass with the outside of his boot rather than a desperate clearance.

Pirlo stands over the free-kick on the left edge of the box and whips the ball up and over the wall, squeezing it in at the near post. Hard to criticise Pletikosa too much - he had set up his wall but that was hit with pace and bend.

39
Goal! Andrea Pirlo with a free-kick!

37
Chance! Cassano finds Marchisio in the box. He turns and shoots left-footed but Pletikosa blocks. It comes to him again and Pletikosa saves again! Huge opportunity but great goalkeeping.

35
Croatia fortunate again. A long ball towards Cassano sees the forward duck out of the challenge and allow two Croatia defenders to contest it. They get in each other's way and Cassano is in but Webb strangely decides to blow up. It's a head injury but Italy will feel hard done by as they were in a good position.

34
And now Balotelli has a shot on the left edge of the penalty area but misses the target at the near post.

33
Pirlo takes the corner that is cleared but it comes to Cassano in the right channel - he's through but scuffs his shot across goal and wide. Poor effort.

32
Italy break and Balotelli is bodychecked by Strinic. A clear foul. The kick is taken quickly and sits up nicely for Cassano. He instead tries a through-ball to Balotelli that causes confusion in the Croatia box, eventually coming to Marchisio, whose shot is blocked for a corner.

31
Mandzukic and Jelavic attempt a one-two to get through the Italian defence but Chiellini is on the cover and intercepts.

30
Rakitic with the cross from the right but it's from a deep position and flies through for a goal kick.

29
Fantastic turn from Cassano down the right channel. Skinned his marker but then delayed when through and was tackled.

28
Plenty of long balls from Croatia and they are working a little better now. Jelavic and Mandzukic competing well but the ball just won't bounce for them.

28
The corner finds Perisic but his header is easily dealt with by Buffon.

27
Srna's cross deflects off Maggio for a corner.

26
Bonucci just gets a head to Strinic's cross but the ball flies into the air. Then it's a naive foul by Giaccherini on Srna to concede a free-kick in a dangerous position.

25
Now De Rossi finds Motta wide, who plays a side-footed pass back to Pirlo. The midfielder attempts a diagonal lofted pass to Maggio who has burst into the box but it's just over his head and goes out for a goal kick.

24
Croatia in the ascendancy now. Mandzukic whips in a dangerous ball but De Rossi heads clear. It comes back in from Modric but that's overhit and drifts out for a throw-in.

23
Mandzukic wins the next flick on but De Rossi hoofs clear.

22
Pletikosa hits it long but Jelavic is adjudged to have fouled De Rossi.

20
Cross from the right by Croatia but Buffon cuts it out low. More even game now.

19
Strinic does well, playing a one-two to beat Maggio and when the ball comes in, Chiellini and Jelavic go to ground. Webb blows up... and gives a free-kick to Italy. Could have gone either way.

18
Modric has the ball but nothing is on and his pass is cut out. In contrast, the movement of the Italian forwards means there is always an option for Italy's midfield. They find Balotelli and he wins a corner that comes to nothing.

16
Shot on target at the other end. Balotelli in a central position 20 yards out. He has defenders in front of him but digs out a shot. It's straight at Pletikosa but the keeper can only palm the ball back into play, just eluding Marchisio.

15
Good cross from Strinic after he steals a yard on Maggio but the ball is just over Mandzukic's head.

14
Superb pass from Pirlo. Long diagonal to Balotelli in the left channel but it's a poor touch from the striker and the chance is gone.

13
Maggio marauding down the right, finds Cassano with a backheel but the forward loses out. Again, Croatia's possession doesn't last long as Jelavic fails to hold the ball up.

11
Better possession from Croatia until they try and go long again. Italy break through Cassano on the counter and he finds Balotelli in the box. The Man City forward shifts it and shoots but it's blocked. Only as far as Marchisio who drills a left-footed shot just over the bar. Some effort that from Marchisio, although Balotelli should have done better. Italy look to have more ideas going forward.

10
Jelavic dropping in to try and stop Pirlo controlling the game from deep but he eludes the Croat this time and spreads the play well to his left.

9
Foul by Chiellini on Jelavic as Croatia try to break. A chance for Bilic's men to get their foot on the ball.

8
Whistles from the Croatian fans every time Italy attack but it's not stopping them. Maggio takes a tumble in the box but Webb ignores the appeals.

8
Pirlo uncharacteristicallly fails to beat the first man.

7
Perisic doesn't deal with a cross and it's a corner to Italy.

6
Good pass from Motta along the ground carves Croatia open and finds Balotelli in the left channel but he checks his run and finds trouble.

5
Srna swings a cross in from the right but Bonucci outjumps Mandzukic.

4
Channel ball for Jelavic to chase and a first test of De Rossi's defensive skills. He deals with it well and lays the ball off to Chiellini who is fouled.

3
Chiellini with a driving run from the back and Marchisio threads a pass out to Giaccherini on the left. He finds the feet of Balotelli in the box, who spins to his left quickly and fires off a shot just wide of the post.

2
Italy get their first chance to build an attack but Bonucci's through-ball is cut out.

1
Sloppy but lively start with several changes of possession in the opening seconds before Croatia settle on the ball and takes some easy touches at the back.

1
Italy get us underway.

Buffon and Srna exchange pennants and we are about to kick off.

Nearly underway in Poznan. Anthems being belted out.

That would be some effort coming off the bench. But Di Natale is the most prolific Italian in the squad with 11 goals in 38 caps and he scored with his first touch as a sub in the game against Spain.

Adam Swayne: "I think Italy will win by just one goal and Di Natale will get a hat-trick. Italy 3-2 Croatia."

Croatia have won their last four games in the group stage of the European Championship finals, having won all three group games at Euro 2008. In contrast, the Azzurri haven't won any of their last five games in major international tournaments (four draws and a loss).

Croatia have pretty impressive form against the Italians. Alongside Brazil, they are one of only two sides unbeaten in their last five meetings against them. Indeed, Italy have never beaten Croatia in a competitive game, losing their only meeting in major tournaments (1-2 in the 2002 World Cup).

A win for Croatia today will guarantee their place in the quarter-finals and, unless the Republic of Ireland can pull off an extraordinary result later tonight, eliminate Italy.

Don't forget you can get your pre-match views and predictions to Adam.Bate@bskyb.com or via Twitter @GhostGoal.

Have they awarded Shay Given's header to Mandzukic then? I think that's fair enough - could easily have spun back into the net. The Wolfsburg forward needs a goal to join Alan Dzagoev and his fellow Mario (Gomez) on three for the tournament.

Sky Bet have price-boosted Croatia's two-goal hero Mario Mandzukic to open the scoring to 9/1, with Antonio Cassano the same price to find the net first for the Azzurri.

Timal says: "Italy are up and running again. Disappointing in qualifiers but played well against Spain. I think today Italy will win easily by two or more goals."

Looking forward to seeing Pirlo v Modric in the midfield. The 33-year-old Italian had his work cut out with Spanish midfielders everywhere he looked on Sunday but he still found space to drive forward and brilliantly set up Di Natale for the opener. He could get more time here too.

Chintan Bhatt emails in to say: "Referee today is Howard Webb that means... *loud drumroll*... City bad boy Balotelli getting a red card? But i think he will score today, I have him in my fantasy football team!" Is this an allusion to United bias? Probably not enough time to go down that road. Webb, of course, failed to send off Balotelli against Spurs in January in controversial circumstances. Let's just say it's one to look out for later.

Roland says: "Croatia pose more threat with aerial balls, but Italy have a quality defence, so I'm seeing the Azzurri picking up three points easily."

Both teams are unchanged for this one and that's as expected after their efforts in the opening games. However, Antonio Di Natale will surely come off the bench at some point after his goal against Spain. What do you reckon?

Italy: Buffon; Bonucci, De Rossi, Chiellini; Maggio, Marchisio, Pirlo, Motta, Giaccherini; Cassano, Balotelli.

Croatia: Pletikosa; Srna, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Strinic; Rakitic, Modric, Vukojevic, Perisic; Jelavic, Mandzukic.

The teams are in and will be up shortly.

For those interested, the referee today is... *drumroll* ... Howard Webb.

Our friends at Sky Bet have the latest odds on this one. You can back Italy at 11/8, while Croatia are 21/10 underdogs. The draw is available at 11/5.

Cesare Prandelli looks set to go with his 3-5-2 formation once again today. Although that makes Italy unique in this tournament, it was actually an understandable decision with the Juventus trio of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli all available. But when Barzagli was injured, Prandelli elected to stick with the system and drop Roma midfielder into the back three. That was an intriguing move and - despite some wobbles late on - broadly paid off against the Spanish. It'll be interesting to see how he fares against the threat of Nikica Jelavic.

Croatia looked impressive in their group opener but it's difficult to know how much to read into that one. Luka Modric appeared to have taken out a restraining order on Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews in the middle of the park and was allowed to run the show for Slaven Bilic's side. It's the same pitch but you sense it might be a different game for the Tottenham playmaker this afternoon.

Please get in touch with your pre-match views and predictions at Adam.Bate@bskyb.com or via Twitter @GhostGoal. What type of game are you expecting and which players do you think will make the biggest impact? Just let me know and I'll post as many as I can.

Welcome to our minute-by-minute commentary of the Group C game between Italy and Croatia at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan. Croatia won their opening game against the Republic of Ireland, while Italy kicked off with a good point against defending champions Spain.

Kick-off is at 1700 BST.

Fixtures

There are no fixtures at present.

European Championships

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Czech Rep 3 -1 6
2 Greece 3 0 4
3 Russia 3 2 4
4 Poland 3 -1 2

Updated Wed, 20 Jun 2012

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