UEFA 2012 European Championship : Day 12

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Group C

Italy (1) 2 – 0 (0) Republic of Ireland

Spain (0) 1 – 0 (0) Croatia

Going into the games last night, Spain and Croatia sat in the qualifying places with four points each, with Italy in third spot with two points. Therefore it was going to be another nervous ninety minutes for fans of those nations, with each goal having them reaching for the calculators to see how Group positions shifted. Would the Republic of Ireland return to the Emerald Isle without a point? How would Spain and Croatia approach their game against each other? In the end I went for watching the Republic of Ireland against Italy, firstly for sentimental reasons, wanting to see Fulham’s Damien Duff win his 100th cap and secondly for the match commentary of Mick McCarthy. Ireland were playing for pride and started the game in a positive manner which had apparently been lacking from their previous two games. However, the Italians gradually warmed to their task and started to take control of the game. On thirty six minutes Italy went ahead, Shay Given spilled a straightforward effort from Cassano which resulted in a corner. Pirlo took the kick and Cassano flicked it into the net despite the efforts of Damien Duff on the goal-line. Italy had the upper hand and continued to press all the way to half-time. Over in Gdansk, Spain and Croatia was goal-less, so saw all teams with five points and at that stage Croatia exiting the competition. As the teams came out the second-half in Poznan, the Irish fans once more tried to rouse their side for the final forty five minutes. However, Italy continued to push Ireland back and at times overwhelmed them and another heavy defeat looked on the cards. However, credit to the Irish they stuck in there and had the occasional foray on the Italian goal. As both games came into the final minutes, Spain took the lead against Croatia through Jesus Navas on eighty eight minutes. Back in Poznan, Balotelli scored acrobatically from a corner in the last minute to put Italy 2-0 up. However, there were a nervous few minutes, as a Croatia equaliser would have sent the Italians out. It wasn’t to be though and Spain and Italy celebrated progress to the last eight. For Ireland it had been a painful campaign, outplayed in all three games and leaves for some of their more senior players, decisions about their international future to make. Mick McCarthy didn’t let me down though – through the ninety minutes he had headed and kicked every last ball with the Ireland team in his most endearing style; partisan and yet blunt Barnsley.

England tonight – yup, feeling calm again…

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Posted June 19, 2012 by Editor in category "UEFA 2012 Euro Championship

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