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Croatian Comeback Kids Force 1-1 Draw with Italy

June 13, 2012

Mandžukić (17) saves Croatia's Euro hopes with 3rd goal

 

 

Croatia could have been the first team to book a spot in the Euro 2012 quarterfinals, but at the end of the day, they will have to be happy with a 1-1 draw against Italy. Italy dominated the first half and Croatia were lucky not to be down by multiple goals at halftime. Referee Howard Webb missed an obvious penalty call as Nikica Jelavić was pulled down in the box. Italy controlled the midfield. Croatia couldn’t string more than three passes together. Pletikosa made two amazing saves as the Croatian defense couldn’t keep up with Italian strikers. And then Andrea Pirlo curled in a beautiful free kick over the wall in the 39′ to give Italy a 1-0 lead going into halftime.

 

That was the first half breakdown.


 

 

Pletikosa can’t do anything about Pirlo’s bender 

 

 

There was a bit more life out of the Croatian side in the second half, stringing together a few more passes, but still not having the core midfield chemistry they had against Ireland. Many long balls were played down field with little impact against the Italian defense. But in the 72′, it all finally came together for Croatia as Strinić swung in a cross from the sideline that found Mandžukić at the far post. Italian defender Georgio Chiellini misjudged the ball as it travelled over his head, Mandza cooly trapped the ball and struck home off the inside of the post. Both sides would have a few more half chances but the game would end 1-1 with no one yet booking a quarterfinal berth from Group C.

 

 

English referee Howard Webb called a bad game, not allowing a clear penalty on Jelavić in the first half and not allowing proper flow throughout the match, calling a foul on nearly every challenge. Both teams flopped throughout the game but captain Darijo Srna was not booked for an apparent elbow to the head of Thiago Motta. 

 

 

Croatia will be happy with the point heading into their Group C finale vs. Spain on Monday.

 

 

 


Mandžukić saves Croatia from disappointment with his 3rd goal in two games

 

 

 

 

Follow the ‘LIVE’ gamecast on Twitter @CroatianSoccer

 

 

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Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 323 comments





  1. Tom in Winnipeg says:

    I don’t see a letdown against Italy. I believe the record has consistently shown we play our best against stronger opponents. If this was Switzerland or someone like Ecuador, I’d be worried. Instead, it seems we already got that monkey off our back with Sunday’s convincing win against Ireland. I see us clinching a quarter-final berth tomorrow!



  2. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    @ Jarac,

    Of course. If you’re on Facebook, find me and I will invite you to the event, not that you need a formal invitation.



  3. ARMADA87 ARMADA87 says:

    I hope we smash these cunts. Aside from Di Natale, I hate all the punk bitches on this squad. I hope Corluka, Modric, Srna, Mandza, etc. have the game of their lives and beat these pricks on both ends of the field. I’m not ‘hoping’, I WANT EITHER A 3-1 or 4-1 result for our boys, with Corluka or Big Joe slapping Balotelli (a la Igor Tudor style) when he gets out of line. I’ve wanted this game just as much as I’m going to want the games vs. Serbia next year. This team is overrated and doesn’t have a quarter of the heart we do.

    AJMOOOOO VATRENI!
    NAPRIJED HRVATSKA!!!

    ajde momci, we need to be loud and proud tomorrow – time to book our tickets to the knock-out stages!!!!



  4. Slavonac from Canada says:

    uffff…i never thought I’d say this BUT…here it goes…well said Armada!



  5. AllenOutraged says:

    Wow Armada that was an epic rant. I’m not an Italian hater simply because I grew up with Italians. I go out with mostly Italians on a weekly basis. I’ve dated three Italian girls in my life and two out of three was worth the fun. The point is I really don’t hate the Italians even though their team doesn’t make me hate them but they don’t interest me.

    I do feel some hostility tomorrow because I’ll be in Astoria where Italians do populate the area. I’m also aware of the fake Italian fans that don’t know a thing about qualifying for a tournament like this. Things could get heated, I’m ready to go for anything that comes at me from any bandwagon loser.

    Oh yeah there is a game to discuss. I still got a 2-2 draw which may annoy people but Italy is still a solid team. They have threats and Croatia’s defense still worries me. I hope they keep the same lineup in. If things get bad in first half, then I make the move for Vida in and possibly taking Rakitic off to put Srna right wing. I’m trying to think like Billc would and you know he loves Srna.

    Despite my anger towards the place, I’ll be at Scorpios because that place still treats me well and I’ve calmed down over Diehl incident. Who’s coming for the party, we got the best atmosphere over any place in NY and that includes Alpine Village. What does Alpine have a 5 foot 7 annoying reporter, Steve Kerr’s twin on a computer tweeting every minute, two drunk singers that don’t know how to shut up. I’m just messing around everyone, Croatians have to be united for this game. We are all rooting for same team and let’s all celebrate or cry together on what happens tomorrow. Alpine has some nice ladies based on videos I’ve seen so good job there.



  6. Sydney United.58 says:

    @Mainzfeldski-Watched the above clip,until tomorrow,we wont know the result,but what I do like about the clip is that it shows that we get due respect from any opposition,I dont think that anyone can look at us as 3 points in the bag.



  7. Joe Joe says:

    @armada….well said. i can’t top that comment so i won’t even try

    @allen….i will do you one better. i married an italian (and will be seeing her whole family this weekend) so i would love to wear some croatian gear to the get together and show them which team has the most skill and heart! she is not into soccer at all so no fighting at our house…haha

    love your mention of the “fake italian fans”….those are the main reason i have never even casually cheered for them at a tournament…..too obnoxious!

    prediction: 2-1 for the good guys (jelavic double……one from the penalty spot)



  8. LikaJoey says:

    @Armanda I’m with you brother! I pray to God we rip them apart.They looked fast and strong against spain.I’m worried!



  9. mali HRVAT says:

    I am optimistic that Howard Webb will not ruin this game for either team.

    @Armada:

    I am with you. For me, this is the game of the tournament.

    I will be on the West side of Manhattan tomorrow AM. Does anyone know any local gin-mills that show soccer?



  10. mali HRVAT says:

    Generally speaking, off the boat Italians (in the NYC area) tend to be easy to get along with.

    The 4th generation Staten Island/Brooklyn Calabrese/Sicilians are usually AWFUL. I wish they would stop moving to New Jersey.



  11. AllenOutraged says:

    Howard Webb was the ref for Croatia-Greece. He didn’t make any sketchy calls then so I’m not worried. If Ballo plays, then we might get an advantage with the whole Man City- Man Utd rivalry (possibilities are endless haha).

    Joe- Thats rough but at least there not fans. Honestly I got a feeling like I haven’t had since Croatia Germany. I remember thinking that they will rise and make their presence felt in their tournament. In 2008 they were getting hyped as the dark horses, now they aren’t getting much promotion to do much. If Croatia rises up tomorrow, nothing will ruin my mood. Not even if Heat lose by 30 at night although that would suck.



  12. Sydney United.58 says:

    Like most Croatians,I generally do like Italians as we can largely relate with them.I have worked with large numbers of them and they can shit you when atleast here in Australia they just cant seem to get the idea of why we just didnt remain Yug#$%vs ,again like many Croatians,you probably enjoy beating them just about the most.As a soccer team,I respect them the least for the actual way they play,along with the Greeks.
    What will be interesting about the game is the final lineups and tactics that the 2 coaches will employ.Italy will definitely want to open up our defence and really test it,Bilic really needs some good plans for this,but at this point I dont dare speculate too much on what they will be.



  13. rob i says:

    If Italy are losing ear the end of the game, it will be funny to see their fans change sides and support us.

    They have a history of changing sides when they are losing!!!
    Eg. WW1, WW2



  14. Colin O'Haravić says:

    I’ve been avoiding my Italian girlfriend the past day because she wants me to come over and watch the match w her super italian family. I don’t even think they like soccer… Either way, I’ll go be the lone croat in the irish pub again tomorrow and I’ll be much happier there.



  15. Tom Franciskovic says:

    As much as I would like to see it, because it would most likely be better for us, I think Prandelli would have to be BAT-SHIT CRAZY to start Balotelli. The defence will have to compete with Di Natale, which will be difficult but I think they can handle it. If Vuki can handle Pirlo, I think the NT has a good shot.



  16. Joe Joe says:

    @allen. after watching the first round of games in our group and seeing our boys look pretty good (i rated them a B in the poll after the ireland game), i agree with your optimism. i see them playing very well tomorrow and winning a close one. don’t get me wrong…i am not dismissing italy (they did look good and honestly could have won against spain) but i really think our attack will cause them big problems if srna and perisic can provide service again and modric gets the best of midfield.

    if our d can hold it together and keep italy to one goal, i think our offence can squeeze out two to win!

    as for the heat, i got OKC in 5…..they just look too good these playoffs. i predict that you may have to witness a heat blowout one of these nights!

    @ colin….good move watching the game at the pub, rather than in “enemy” territory. it will definitely be more fun!



  17. Joe Joe says:

    @rob…haha….love the world war reference. makes me think of those english commentators who use war references to describe the action when germany is playing!



  18. Pripyat in Ukraine says:

    I worry this could be another disaster for Vatreni. Apart from that, overall, I still think Croatia are going to win!



  19. Sydney United.58 says:

    @Tom,I was waiting for someone to say that,but Armada seems to have made his feelings pretty clear;-)
    @Colin,I disagree,I think that you should watch the game with your girlfriends” super Italian family”its a risk if Croatia lose,but damn,if they win it would just be so sweet,better than a lonely Irish pub!My favourite memory from USA94 was the crying Italian clown after the final loss.I even think its worth risking the loss of your girlfriend for(sorry!) ;-)



  20. Jarac says:

    @ kvartuc
    I might show up, but traffic on 405 might be a killer, to bad its so damn early.

    @Everyone
    I think we will bullie the italians Tomorrow. Look for mandzukic and jelavic to dominate once again. We are a much taller and physically stronger team. They will have a tough time matching up with us. We will win many balls in the air. We will score of set pieces.

    I’m calling this one, 3-1 Croatia. Man I’m so jacked Srce Vatreno



  21. mishko says:

    Like I’ve said, tomorrow is going to be 3 – 0 for our boys.

    These Italians as others have said have no heart. Look at the last game our boys played, all the sliding tackles. My god they weren’t giving up shit.

    There will be some luck in the game, but I suspect, even with that cunt Webb, it will go our way.



  22. Jarac says:

    @Mishko,

    One thing I can’t stand is this whole its all about heart. No it isn’t. It is all about quality. We have quality players thats why were good. Our ’98 team won, because they were quality players, and of coures some luck. Heart doesn’t matter when ur a professional. Mental does, but heart doesn’t. Most professionals have enough heart for the game thats why there their!



  23. mishko says:

    @Jarac how many championships have you ever won?

    I’ve played soccer, rugby, tennis, everything on the planet, hell I raced jetskis. I’ve done it all.

    I’ve been a two time world champion in SOMETHING, and in this sport I played in we had close to sprinter speed athletes, we didn’t have the best players on our team. However we had heart and played as a team.

    The problem with your argument is you’re focusing on quality.

    We’ve got quality and heart and when it’s a level playing field on quality, heart makes the difference.

    Don’t get butt hurt, I’m just being honest.



  24. Jarac says:

    @Mishko

    Don’t worry man, I can have a conversation/argument without getting “butt hurt.” I’ve played sports my whole life and have been on some good quality teams. This much I can say.
    #1 u need skill/quality, #2 u need mental toughness, #3 u need good coaching, ……. heart would rank somewhere a little before getting laid before game day if you get what I mean.

    “We’ve got quality and heart and when it’s a level playing field on quality, heart makes the difference.”

    No when u have quality and when its a level playing field on quality, mistakes and luck play the difference.

    “we didn’t have the best players on our team. However we had heart and played as a team.”
    The reason u won, was because u played as a team, which is a great indicator or good coaching and hard work/mental, has nothing to do with heart.

    Ireland was suppose to have the most heart look what happened to them!

    Germany has most quality and look at them

    All I am trying to say is I would take a player with skill/quality over one with heart any day of the week. Some times u heart can get u in trouble!



  25. mishko says:

    @Jarac, love ya brother. Croatia has talent, heart, skill, and desire a truly winning combination.

    We’ll see how or boys do tomorrow.



  26. Colin O'Haravić says:

    @Mali – Hey, don’t “LOL” at that. If we win, I won’t get laid for like… ever.

    @Sydney – Actually really tempted to watch it with them. I’m sure there will be some killer food there haha ;)

    Ah, I’ve been w her for almost 3 yrs. I’m sure a soccer game that she barely even cares about will harm us… :|

    Plus, The Irish play after that game. Gonna be fun hanging out in the Irish pub!!



  27. Jarac says:

    @misko

    To brate, samo naprijed, trebamo pobjediti ovi jebeni talijanci, kurvin sinovi!!! Idemo do kraja.



  28. AllenOutraged says:

    Just woke up this morning, WHO’S READY TO GO!!!!!! IM BEYOND PUMPED!! JUST LIKE IN EURO 2008, LET’S SHOW UP EVERYONE AGAIN! Alexi Lalas is going to have his thumb up his ass after he sees the Croatian display on the field.

    I was playing soccer with like 8 italians last night. Their was a lot of trash talk, I love it.



  29. jm says:

    @ jarac I disagree. I think heart/emotions play a large role in sports, even if quality may be the dominant element. My argument would be how home teams tend to play better. Part of that is familiarity with the home court/field etc, but a big part is the emotional boost they get from the home crowd. If an emotional boost can give you an edge, then having more heart (desire, passion to win) should be able to make a meaningful difference as well. For a sport like baseball where you get up and swing at a ball, there probably isn’t too much difference in terms of heart. It’s pretty easy for everyone to go up there and swing hard. For contact/fatigue sports, there are wide ranges of efforts that can make a difference. Heart can be determination to make the extra play, chase down attackers, battle through defenders, fight through fatigue and I think plays a major role. Just look at Olic. Not the most technically gifted, but plays with extreme heart–> makes him a better player. Joahkim Noah. not a very skilled hoopster, but plays with extreme heart which makes him much more of a terror than equally physicaly gifted athletes (kwame brown, darko milicic, the list goes on). heart may not decide it all, but it definitely matters



  30. Tony says:

    Colin O’Haravić – I’m working in Germany for a few months (and going to the Spain game on monday).

    There is one Irish pub in town so I thought that would be a great place to watch the game…except there wasn’t even 1 Irish dood there.

    What’s your deal? Is that really your name, Croatian mum and Irish dad???

    Ajmo Hrvatska!



  31. Nepoznat says:

    if I was in Sydney for the match I would sure as hell be watching it in Leichhardt! They are probably doing a street party / viewing there, no? That’s where I watched the World Cup in 2006 while I was there, and to rub it in the Italians faces would be priceless!!!



  32. ARMADA87 ARMADA87 says:

    @ Slavonac from Canada

    most of my posts are spot on, you should pay attention to what I post a little more bud ;)

    @ mali HRVAT

    Nevada Smith is the best football pub in NYC. It’s on E 11th, but well worth the crosstown trip. Awesome atmosphere there for games. I’m sure some Hrvati will be there.

    @ to the Italian banter

    I grew up in a predominantly Greek-Italian neighborhood in Queens (not Astoria, but close) and both Greeks and Italians (especially Southerners) are just arrogant and full of themselves in general. When you get into a football convo with a Greek and you say something they don’t like, there reply is always “We won Euro 2004″, with Italians it’s “We’re 4 time WC winners” which is fine and great, but most of their fans are bandwagon fans. When Italy plays quals or friendlies, no of their fans give a shit – same with Greeks.

    My point here is, along with Ireland and a small handful of other sides, we have some of the best fans in the world, NT wise. We know our team, we follow them through the ups and downs, we cheer and sing whether we win or lose. Not too many NT fans are like that. We even read up and analyse our opponents. Aside from Modric and maybe Srna, I bet most Italians can’t name anoter player on our squad. Well, today they’re going to learn all their names. AJJJJJMOOO!

    I’m stuck at work today… Someone have a Karlovacko for me or a shot of rakija!



  33. BobbyV says:

    If Croatia wins today’s game against Italy, they will be in the semi-finals – no doubt.

    The only change I would make is Eduardo for Mandzukic.

    Can’t have two poachers in the line-up against a defense like Italy’s…even if they are missing a few regulars. Need some skillful passing to set up Jelavic.



  34. Colin O'Haravić says:

    @Tony – Ha, My name is Colin O’Hara, obviously Irish, but when my parents first met and my mom introduced my dad to her family, they joked about her bringing home and irish guy and just called him o’haravic. so ya, irish dad, croatian mom.



  35. Mihovil Mihovil says:

    @ ARMADA87 @ AllenOutraged @ jm

    Great posts! We can do this !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We need to have the inner strength to stay calm and composed throughout the course of this game and we must never ever take our foot off the pedal for 90 minutes plus of play. If we do this we have a great chance of winning this game. Fired right up !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    @ ARMADA87

    “Someone have a Karlovacko for me or a shot of rakija!”

    Fridge is full and drinking has begun! Let’s go Hrvatska !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Italy you are going down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Buffon get ready for the whiplash effect of your life!



  36. Kruno says:

    Hopefully those commentators eat their words just like they did when everyone said Ireland was easily going to take points from us!

    Let’s go Hrvatska!



  37. Curt says:

    Just counting the minutes till game time ! Can’t Wait ! Let’s kick some Italian Ass !!! Bog,Hrvati,Hajduk,i HNS !!!



  38. Pintar Pintar says:

    Getting pumped now. At work in a school but piped cable into the library and will get there shortly.

    I think our boys better come out energized. I want to see a lot of energy and some early opportunities.





  39. Mihovil Mihovil says:

    U Boj U Boj Za Narod Svoj!!!!!!

    Italy you are going down !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Let’s Go Hrvatska!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  40. Maro says:

    Schildenfeld makes me more nervous than Balotelli. He is a liability. And the refs suck! No penalty?



  41. Vedran C. says:

    It just goes to show how fucking horrible Pletikosa is. Dude left the fucking post wide open. Any GK in the world could have saved that one.

    WTF is Mandzukic doing, taking a shot at such a bad angle.

    Our performance thus far has been piss fucking poor. Bring on Eduardo and lets see what he can do, because Mandzukic and Jelavic haven’t done shit.



  42. jm says:

    not looking good so far. ntohing created on offense. defense looks shaky. way too many good opportunities for italy. probably fortunate to only be down 1-0



  43. Mainzfeldski Mainzfeldski says:

    Take off Jelavic for Eduardo. At least Mandzukic is vital at some parts.

    Our midfield and defense have horrible chemistry, losing the ball during the most “easiest” Italian pressure.

    Perisic and Jelavic cannot kick the ball out during Italian possession; when defending, they added salt to the wound.

    Shame about the penalty. But, that has passed. What will Bilic do?



  44. Mr. Black says:

    We only did well for about 7 or 8 minutes in first half. Defense played bad, Modric isn’t as present as always. Our two strikers have the bad luck that Webb is too severe and stops the game everytime when there is a bit of contact. This is a great disavangates for Mandzu and Jela who are known for their physical play.
    We can only hope one thing: that the Italians will start to defend their 1-0. Then we can start back to play on their half on the field and you never know what could happen with Mandzu and Jela.
    But it will be difficult and I’m afraid we will need to win to advance. I can’t see the Italians lose points to the Irish.
    Come on, Hvratska!



  45. Ziva Istina says:

    @Vedran C……….i guess you have never played soccer. The reason that side of the goal was open is because the wall takes care of that side. Wall broke apart and it was the perfect free kick. No GK in the world saves that.

    Italy is winning because they are the better side. the same reason we beat ireland, because we where the better side. We all knew the defense would be a huge question mark for us and it is. It’s not just covering opposing players and space, its also panicing when they get the ball and being unable to start a counter or hit the open guy.

    I expect the Brazilian-bron hrvat to come in around the 60th minute if the result remains for one of the forwards, but that still wont solve the advantage Italy has in MF with the extra man.

    We’ll see if the result hold up because the overreaction from the “know-it-alls” will be entertaining. We already had one questioning the GK on the free kick goal.



  46. Tom in Winnipeg says:

    Come on Vedran… Pleti saved the day with two point blank saves…

    Agreed, Poglavnik. Persisic seems overwhelmed thus far today… maybe Pranjic can come in for him?

    Okay all you armchair managers… what changes would you make?



  47. Jarac says:

    @Ziva,

    We still have a half to go, quoting u “thats why we play the game”, we may get a chance. lopta je okrugla!



  48. Ziva Istina says:

    @Vedran C……playing in a coed league dont count. Take my advise little man, remove the emotion out of it. No way any GK saves that free kick from that spot.



  49. Vedran C. says:

    Also, we need to keep the pressure on Balotelli. He’ll eventually get pissy and get a yellow or red card.



  50. Ziva Istina says:

    great news about the goal….but these flares will cause us to be deducted points going into WC qualifying



  51. Franjo Tudjman says:

    Our fans are assholes. We have an attacking opportunity and we’re shooting flares. Nice.

    Even the players are visibly pissed about it.



  52. Curt says:

    F–ken smoke bombs !!! STOP U Idiots !!! What the hell does that do for Us ? Nothing ! Dumb Asses ! Your going to cost Us points !!! STOP !!!



  53. Ziva Istina says:

    4 points after 2 games….tough to complain.

    Two defensive mistakes led to both goals.

    Our wall screwed up on the goal for Pirlo and I have no clue about the italian marking on our goal.

    If I was an Italian fan, i’d be pissed. That was typical old school italy. Taker a lead and then sit back.

    Assuming the Irish don’t do anything these next two games, italy will end up with 5 points. So, a tie may get us through provided italy only beats ireland 1-0 or 2-0 and we tie Spain.



  54. Second half was a much different display.

    Strinic did a hell of a job as LB. Great crosses, etc. Player of the game. Mandzukic showed why he is so coveted. He was good on the ball, great finish when he got his chance and tracked back on defense.

    Jelavic was disappointing. He lost the ball too much.

    All in hall, we got what we deserved, a point.



  55. Franjo Tudjman says:

    After a horrid first half, I agree it’s tough to complain, but if we don’t advance, we’ll be talking about how we couldn’t score the second goal when we had Italy against the ropes.



  56. Croatian Crippler says:

    Hrvatska looked good in the 2nd half if they could of played like that in the first might of been a better result. Either way a tie is better then a loss. Lets hope the Irish beat the Italians next game and we maybe beat or tie Spain. Next game Eduardo over Jelavic



  57. Mr. Black says:

    What I hoped half time, did actually happen. The Italians decided to defend their 0-1 so Hrvatska could play on their half. And like I said, with Mandzo en Jela, anything could happen. And it happened.
    I never really liked Ivan Strinic, I always wanted Pranjic as LB. But the way Strinic played today, he could go to the Premier League.
    Great that Mandzo scored again, a lot of people here didn’t want them in the starting 11. Well, he did great.
    I also liked Rakitic, the guys has a lot of technical skills but he has a heart too.
    But to be honest, I think the Italians have had the better chances to win. We can praise ourselves lucky that we didn’t lose. Though it will be difficult against Spain. Perhaps the Irish could help us out. I don’t think Trappatoni would like to leave this tournament without a point.



  58. jm says:

    Consideraby better second half. We didn’t deserve to win after the first half and were lucky to only be down 1-0. bringing in pranjic was an interesting move. i agree that i thought strinic was looking good. i was most impressed when he was able to keep up step for step with an italian forward on one play down the wing and chase him down (as opposed to shindenfeld putting a hand in a guys chest (better than a goal though)) . Unfortunately as feared though, the road ahead is still extremely difficult and we would’ve been greatly served most likely had spain beaten italy and we were going up Spain B team next week and italy needed a victory to advance. As stands here are the scenarios I see
    A) Croatia wins : Advance

    B) Croatia ties
    1) Italy loses to Ireland: Croatia in
    2) Italy ties Ireland: Croatia in
    3) Italy beats Ireland: goal differential, With a 3-1 result for us against an Irish team that hadn’t given up more than 1 goal in 14 matches before, I have to like the chances here.

    C) Croatia loses:
    1) Italy loses to Ireland and we’re still in
    2) Italy ties Ireland: We’re still in with our 4 points vs Italy’s 3′s
    3) Italy beats Ireland: Time to start talking about world cup qualifying



  59. Ziva Istina says:

    We have a shot at advacning going into the Spain game, that is all you can ask. May need only a draw, but we’ll get to that after the later game today.



  60. Hrvat says:

    To the person that said mandzukic has no ball control and can’t do anything with the ball. Wat do u have to say about it now. He clearly had really good ball control

    And that’s y u put in pranjic. Once he went in a goal



  61. Josip B says:

    Jeez. That was the most emotionally vested game I’ve had since Turkey 08′. I can still barely sit down. That could have ended up going either way, as we were lucky to not have conceded more in the 1st half, and could have won it in the 2nd. Bravo momci for that 2nd half. Unfortunately, our fortune is now hugely dependent on Ireland. Let’s go Ireland!



  62. Curt says:

    1-1 Tie , not bad . They had a lot of chances . Hope we play Spain like we did in the 2nd half today with Modric pushing forward ! Bog,Hrvati,Hajduk,i HNS !!!



  63. jm says:

    on a side note: do we think mandzukic was just putting on a show with the stretcher at the end trying to kill time? the way he’s playing i hope so



  64. MB13 says:

    @ ziva – I think I read somewhere that the first tiebreaker is points acquired head to head. Then goal differential head to head. Then goals for head to head.

    If my math is correct. A spain win vs. Ireland means that Italy goes out if Croatia and Spain play to a 2-2 draw. Croatia, Spain (assuming they beat Ireland)and Italy (assuming they beat Ireland) will have 5 points. In our head to head we would all have 2 points and obviously a 0 goal differential. If Croatia and Spain play 2-2, our goals for in matches between the three countries would be Spain and Cro with 3 and Italy with 2.

    http://www.uefa.com/MultimediaFiles/Download/Regulations/competitions/Regulations/91/48/36/914836_DOWNLOAD.pdf

    Look at 8.07



  65. Slavonac from Canada says:

    I’m gonna say this about Rakitic…while he was playing on the outside both this game and last…he’s a complete pussy…doesn’t win a ball if its 50/50…offensively he’s definitely got talent…but I can’t stand the pussy foot lack of interest for him to win any balls! He was better when he moved inside!

    we did well today…the game is 90 minutes…we defeinitely lacked in some areas but all in all we did a little better than ok…Italy is still Italy…their experience far outweighs ours as a soccer nation although I believe we are a more talented nation…(in every way)!

    who is dogging pletikosa? go give your fucking head a shake…if anything he saved us…retarded comment!

    to Vedran C – bantering is one thing…using a persons mom as a means to insult…not cool!



  66. Mainzfeldski Mainzfeldski says:

    Rakitic had many horrible moments in the game.
    The team chemistry was very messed up in the first half (e.g. conflicts b/w Vuko and Schildenfeld).

    Perisic is not good at clearing the ball out in our penalty box area; smart idea by Bilic to sub him out. Pranjic played much better in an improving second half.

    Eduardo! Eduardo! EDUUUAAARDDDOOO! I honestly thought he was going to do something crazy for our last-minute goal! He blended well immediately with the team, and his one-touch passing with Srna, Rakitic, Modric, and Mandzukic immensely helped us spread ground.

    I hope to see Eduardo start in place of Jelavic against Spain. Jelavic does not have the proper support in our team that he does in Everton.

    Not a bad game, but if only we got that penalty… hehe :)



  67. Mainzfeldski Mainzfeldski says:

    @ jm

    From the replays, Mandzukic was fouled, and I’m sure that Mandzukic would not exaggerate his pain. Croatia needed another goal for a sure advance, so I don’t think Mandzukic had the balls to try any show.



  68. Ziva Istina says:

    Don’t worry about Vedran C…..it’s clear from him comments he has no clue about the game.

    Man, not having Olic hurts us. He would have been the perfect sub for Jelavic for the last 15 minutes of the game.

    Either way, tough to be discouraged with a tie after the way we looked in the first half.



  69. Jarac says:

    Who was our weakest player today? I still think schindenfeld i struggling out there. I think if he and simunic raced eachother noone would win. Slow as shit, strinic has been playing well



  70. Poglavnik says:

    Gotta agree with Mainzfeldski.
    Would love to see a little more than 10 minutes of Eduardo.
    Especially against a smaller, technical side like Spain.



  71. jm says:

    Looking at the stats, Croatia seemed to really pick it up in the second half finshing close to even with italy from the stat standpoint
    Shots on Goal: Italy 7, Croatia 8
    Corner Kicks: Italy 6, Croatia 3
    Time of Possession: Italy 52% , Croatia 48%



  72. Poglavnik says:

    Would they really deduct us points for the odd flare after a goal?
    That would be some bull-shit!
    It’s not hateful or directed against anyone.



  73. Tom in Winnipeg says:

    An excerpt from SI.com coverage…

    “Before the match, Croatian fans burned a European Union flag and paraded around Poznan’s main old town square with posters of a convicted war criminal. Police, some in riot gear, monitored the situation, but did not intervene.”



  74. Pintar Pintar says:

    Didn’t see it mentioned but Perisic had some bad touches out there, including two misplays in the box that nearly cost us (one resulting in the Balotelli strike early and one later that took a arcing loop just over the bar and Pleti). I like the kid but I’d put him down as one of the subpar performances today. Strinic was doing all kinds of things.

    Now you have to ponder what attributed most to the second half surge. They slid Srna up to midfield and this allowed Modric to make runs forward. But Italy also started to park the bus and lay back, allowing for a momentum change.

    As it stands (and with Spain now starting to spank Ireland), what would you rather have? A needed win against Ireland or a needed tie against Spain. 4 points is always better than 2, but Italy may well be in the better position heading into game 3. Tough to be disappointed after a comeback tie, but it felt like we could’ve gone ahead there. Time will tell.

    I disagree about pulling Jelavic. Sure, sub Dudu earlier if necessary, but you start the striker duo you’ve been starting. My two cents.



  75. -Shinobi- says:

    You definitely cant be dissapointed in the result after that first half. It looked like it couldve turned ugly the way it was going in the first half. You have to give them credit for equalising, thank you mandzo!
    Jelavic was effectivly taken out of the game by webb by frustrating him (what game was webb watching?). Modric was a ghost in the first half, so anything he did in the 2nd was going to be better. Persisic let me down in this game after a strong showing against ireland. Strinic was great and you have to admire rakitic’s performance. Pletikosa kept us in it before the break and you really can fault his game, great performance. Mandzo has been the man for croatia, 3 goals in 2 games, excellent.

    Hopefully the stars align for us to qualify for the next phase, and we are still in a position to do so after 2 games, so you have to be pleased with that.



  76. -Shinobi- says:

    Pletikosa kept us in it before the break and you really cant fault his game, great performance.

    Sorry misprint



  77. Pintar Pintar says:

    @Mainzfeldski

    I have to disagree. We have a couple of players who will make a meal of contact and I feel like Mandzo is one of them. Not taking anything away from his form this tourney, and certainly this is part of the modern game, but I saw it as some stalling at that point. I hope I’m right, by the way; I’d hate for him to be injured somehow.

    In other news, stay tuned as the Irish start brutalizing the Spanish as this game gets more out of reach.



  78. Slavonac from Canada says:

    @Pintar – a lot of people have talked highly of Perisic…he still hasn’t proven much other than he has some good technique and some good moments throughout the game…so far he hasn’t made a big enough influence to get me on his bandwagon. I suspect a few reasons as to why a lot of people have inflated his value…1) he’s a dalmitinac…and there are a lot of homer dalmatinci/hajdukovci here…there’s nothing wrong with that at all i just think thats one big reason…2)when we have slim picking…we make a mountain out of a mole hill…he will probably one day make a big difference for this repka…thus far he’s been averge with a few glimpses of positiveness!

    the difference was they changed the formation in the second hald to counter the holes where they were being exposed…and I thought they did a very good job!



  79. Pintar Pintar says:

    @Slavonac
    I thought Perisic had an excellent game v. Ireland and a very suspect one today. I’m not taking into account what others have said or what his lineage is.

    I hear what you’re saying about plugging the holes, but the Italians changed tactics as well. I think it played into our hands.



  80. Matthew Lebo Matthew Lebo says:

    Italian defense held up well, minus the mitake. If we can play like we did in the 2nd half, we have a definite chance against Spain. If Italy can tie them, then I see no problem with us doing some damage. They don’t have Puyol, which is huge for any quality team playing against them.

    I’m interested to see what the Spanish offense does against our defense though. Our back four stood strong, but they definitely gave the Italians a little too much respect in the 1st half. They did not want to get beat with that ball over the top, and they did a great job of keeping the play in front of them. I don’t think that same tactic is going to work against the Spanish though, so something needs to change there.

    Finally, Bilic has been great in making changes mid match. He knew we had to attack in the 2nd and he made the necessary 3 5 2 change to get Modric started. I’m guessing we’ll be seeing that same lineup for the next game, and hopefully Perisic isn’t as starstruck as he was today. We need that left flank to get moving to stand any chance.



  81. Mishko says:

    @Pintar yup. I think this will be a good game for us to watch. Same as Croatia, Ireland are letting the through balls come through with ease.

    We showed the Italians way toooo much respect and paid for it.

    With the Spanish the Irish look to be playing a zone type of defense. They need to be playing more man to man and going at them.

    One thing is for sure come Monday. We’ll hold our destiny in our own hands.



  82. jm says:

    @ SLAVONAC FROM CANADA; I think the reason people hype up Perisic is b/c he’s an exciting young player who seems to give us a different look (speed down the left wing) and he’s produced as a young player in both his main stops (Belgium player of the year/leading goal scorer and one of the top 10 goals/minutes average for the Bundeslig champions in only limited action). Further on that point, the fact he was actually able to come in with limited action in the Bundeslig and score goals gives people hope he’s one of those special players that just knows how to score goals



  83. Slavonac from Canada says:

    @jm – “the reason people hype up Perisic is b/c he’s an exciting young player who seems to give us a different look (speed down the left wing)”

    not sure if we’ve been watching the same games but he hasn’t created much down the wing in both games…maybe a tad in the first game…he hasn’t made many game changing or impressive plays other than the long range volleys in the first game. yes, future probably…so far I haven’t seen anything exciting…in fact I’d probably try Pranjic on the left!being on a team and receiving achievements are great but they dont actually do much for you other than recognize your past! he hasn’t done enough to get much praise other than a hope for our future…who knows…maybe next game he’ll do something that actually changes the game!



  84. jm says:

    I will throw in in game 1 he had a dangerous strike from the center of the box and also an assist on the last goal. that is something. i agree his performance today left much to be desired. but hey not everyone plays well every game



  85. Mainzfeldski Mainzfeldski says:

    @ Pintar

    What has Jelavic contributed recently alongside partner Mandzukic? Nothing big. Let’s look at the two EURO games since they picture the NT as competitive as it already is.

    1) Vs. Ireland- Jelavic scored a fluke goal. He was originally passively offside, and only by an Irish mistake he was able to score.

    When the midfield wanted Jelavic to receive the ball, Jelavic turned away from the ball when he was the only possible target there! Jelavic was slow in reaction, and besides the header cross given by Strinic, Jelavic was overall a ghost.

    When I see two strikers up, they have to be complementary to each other. Right flank/left flank, or an exchange of abilities (i.e. Jelavic’s finishing and Mandzukic’s height).

    I am a Jelavic fan, but this game did not suit my fancy. I gave him a chance for the Spain game, but he was likewise overall ineffective.

    We were dominant in the air, which rolls the ball in Mandzukic’s court. Ground passing is mainly effective for Modric, Rakitic, and Perisic, but Jelavic is too far up for such tactics to be employed.

    2) vs. Italy- Jelavic nearly replicated the same mistakes from Ireland in this game. Turned away from a pass meant for him.

    He was legitimately fouled in the Italian penalty box, but we don’t praise strikers for becoming goal bait.

    Jelavic was bright at some parts when we were briefly controlling possession, but he was not tag-teaming with Mandzukic, using his ability in correspondence with Mandzukic’s height, or just scoring in general!

    What happened when Eduardo was subbed him? I’ve already answered that in my previous two posts. Chemistry improved so much with Eduardo passing with the midfielders. If Eduardo can’t shoot, he might as well attract the Croatian midfield with him to make things easier.

    Jelavic hasn’t done that. He was literally a ghost when he did not have possession.

    The friendlies against Estonia and Norway showed Eduardo’s capability. His back-heel pass to Perisic (which could pinpoint to Eduardo’s nice chemistry pass to Mandzukic, or vice-versa) and his accurate header off Srna’s cross proved him much for me.

    Eduardo deserves a start over Jelavic, but since Eduardo is not as fit as the rest of the gang, I will gave Eduardo 80 minutes of play (and Jelavic 10, to give the man a rest).

    About Mandzukic’s exaggerated foul:
    I can’t tell if he was trying to time-waste, but where’s the logic in that? If we won, Spain wouldn’t be a threat. Why would Mandzukic waste time so that we would have to depend on points from the Spain match?

    If he time-wasted because we would secure points from Italy, why didn’t he do so when he was immediately fouled? Mandzukic then made another error in trying to take Italian possession, and so, Mandzukic then felt the need to fall on the pitch. Again, if he really wanted to time waste, he would have done so earlier when he found out that Italy won the goal kick after Mandzukic’s initial challenge.



  86. Joe Joe says:

    considering the first half, we should be ok with a draw. its disappointing because i feel like we were headed towards a second goal if there was more time.

    the italian goal was a great free kick (where the wall didn’t do a great job….i mean, it went between the heads of 2 defenders). thats why pletikosa was so pissed after it went in. the wall is there so that he doesn’t have to cover that side closely. anyone who thinks pletikosa is at fault for that goal needs to think again. it was a great kick, defended weakly by our wall.

    @vedran c……easy with the momma jokes. those went out of style a long time ago. ziva is right about the free kick….live with it

    the smoke flare right after our first goal was idiotic…..who the f thought that was a good idea. italy are back on their heels, nervous and frustrated and we give them a break! i hope the meathead that shot it gets an STD from a hooker tonight (lots of nice polish and ukranian girls trying to pay for college by working this month…haha)

    i thought we would win 2-1 if we got good service from the wings and modric played well in the midfield. we had poor service for large portions of the game so that hurt us and modric didn’t really look effective until bilic ripped into them all at halftime. then, he was much better. considering that, 1-1 is not bad at all.



  87. jm says:

    On another note: I couldn’t tell but apparently croatia switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation in the second half. seemed to work!



  88. Bobby V says:

    First of all, Pletikosa was Croatia’s man of the match – period. Rakitic was all over the field – he played with heart. The only player who disappointed me today was Jelavic.

    Balotelli was not even touched on the foul that led up to the free-kick goal from Pirlo. Webb was bad, but for both teams. The wall did not break down – they all jumped and the ball still went over.

    Perisic didn’t play as badly as you all say – who are we going to replace him with? As I stated earlier, we needed Eduardo from the start with either Jelavic or Mandzukic. You need more technical play in the front against their defense.

    Bilic got his first half tactic wrong. Should have attacked from the start. Schindenfeld could not keep up with Balotelli in the defensive posture we took.

    The Italians took Modric out of the game by crowding the midfield. When they went into a bunker, it opened the game back up for him, but nothing like the Ireland match.

    Srna is much more effective when he isn’t into the theatrics – another solid game.

    All in all – lucky to get a draw.



  89. Mishko says:

    While our brothers and sisters might have HORRIBLE timing with the flares.

    I do respect this.

    Before the game, Croatia fans burned a European Union flag in Poznan and paraded posters of a general convicted for war crimes committed in the 1990s.

    To hell with the EU and free Gotovina. The EU is simply a jewish usury set up, just ask the idiots from Greece.



  90. ANdrew says:

    I disagree with the comment about Rakitic being a pussy did you see that slide tackle, he won the ball and cooly played it back for another go on the net. Great playing in the second half by all!



  91. Pintar Pintar says:

    @Mainzfeldski
    I’m not suggesting Jelavic had a great game because he did not. I thought he was serviceable last game and he scored a goal. You can minimize the goal if you want but he scored it. In fact, I see that kind of shot chipped too high or hit straight to the goalie on many an occasion. It was a decent effort. In any case, I didn’t witness the same change in flow that you did when Dudu came in. He was hardly in long enough to judge that, and when he had that run at the end, played the ball poorly right to the defense. Further, I agree with you that he’s not fully fit. Put on top of that Jelavic’s club form to end the season and he gets the start from me. Again, if he’s not effective, sub Dudu in much earlier, but I start Jelavic, personally.

    I can’t tell you what Mandzo was thinking but he fell several times on weak contact. I’m judging the contact and his actions, not necessarily his logic. Just how I saw it. I certainly hope he’s not hurt. And I’m not arguing with his scoring form. He’s been tremendous for us, obviously. Just wish he wouldn’t fall so easily. I hate that kind of play.



  92. Jarac says:

    @Bobby V.,

    U gotta keep mandzukic and jelavic in, these two are strong and will win balls and are great in the box, feed these guys with crosses all day. There tough to handle. Bring in eduardo in 2nd half if we cant score.



  93. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Andrew -if you are referring to me… I clearly said this:

    “while he was playing on the outside both this game and last…he’s a complete pussy…doesn’t win a ball if its 50/50…offensively he’s definitely got talent…but I can’t stand the pussy foot lack of interest for him to win any balls!”

    Rakitic made that slide tackle in the second half when he tucked inside…



  94. Mainzfeldski Mainzfeldski says:

    @ Pintar

    Before the EUROs, I wanted to start Eduardo and Jelavic, two great finishers. But seeing as how Mandzukic was awesome for us the past two games, I feel like I have to change my mind.

    Eduardo did change the flow of the game. When a counter-attack was performed by HRV near the end of the game, Eduardo showed his great pace and dribbling skills, and then he passed it to the midfield to open up space. That was a great change of flow compared to what Jelavic had been doing.

    If Eduardo does not do well, Jelavic is free to jump right in the action (of course, with Bilic’s permission). Jelavic just does not have the proper support he needs (besides Eduardo and Modric, I feel), and even though he did score a goal (a goal is a goal, like you said), Spain will definitely not concede like that (though I have seen several mistakes against Ireland!).

    My logic with Mandzukic is: “Why waste time if you don’t do it early?” Since no one knows his mindset at the time, I wouldn’t blast the record at him. I’m not calling him a diver right off the bat because he does not do it often if at all.



  95. Ziva Istina says:

    Ireland is dead. I think Italy will beat them by the same margain. 2-0 or 3-0, which will force our hand and have to beat Spain.



  96. Jarac says:

    @Ziva,

    with a win or tie we will go. Lets pray Italy looses, of course that would be best case scenario. I’m glad we got the second game. That way we know which result we need.



  97. Pintar Pintar says:

    @Mainzfeldski
    Let’s just both hope that whoever we start, he scores early and makes the point moot. :)

    As for Mandzo, I’m largely going on what I’ve seen in these two games. I don’t catch his Bundesliga action, so I have no history to go on. I feel like he’s hit the dirt easy and made a bit of a meal of it this tourney. I will say as much as I hate this quality in Srna, he’s been quiet in this regard so far.

    Then again, maybe I’m reading too much into it. I hate diving so much I sometimes see it when it isn’t there. Any other opinions on this?



  98. Pintar Pintar says:

    @Jarac
    I haven’t worked it all out yet, but how is this possible? If we tie and Italy wins, all three of us (Spain, Italy, Hrvatska) have 5 points. Then it comes down to differential. What Ziva says is true, isn’t it? Spain now has a better differential than us (if this ends 3-0 or worse). If Italy trounces them similarly, they will as well. Right?



  99. Mainzfeldski Mainzfeldski says:

    @ Pintar

    I hate diving too! I laughed when the Italians dived during the first four minutes of the game. Until they scored. :-(

    I think Mandzukic is too good for an exaggerated foul like that. Hopefully that’s the truth. :-)



  100. Nepoznat says:

    I will post vids of the BS foul that Pirlo scores from and the non penalty on Jelavic. Even my wife’s family in Italy changed their mind when they saw the video replay of Jelavic In the box



  101. Pintar Pintar says:

    Also Jarac, we don’t have the “second game.” All 3rd games are played simultaneously for that very reason.



  102. LikaJoey says:

    @Ziva cro can not beat spain! we are lucky it was not three nothing in the first half today. Pleti was on fire!!



  103. Ziva Istina says:

    If the following takes place: Italy beats Ireland by more than two goals and we tie Spain 0-0 or 1-1, we would be eliminated. For us to advance with a tie and an Italy win, we need to tie at least 2-2, 3-3 or higher.

    I think Ireland is going to play a bunch of their backups so they have a chance to experience the Euros. They are officialy eliminated, so if I was there coach I would make sure everyone on that roster gets to have some playing time.



  104. jm says:

    @ ziva. why would we be eliminated with a 1-1 tie against spain. after goal differential doesn’t it go to total goals scored to which we should edge out italy unless italy scores at least 3 on ireland?



  105. MB13 says:

    Guys – please refer to the post I made above with the tie-breaking procedures.

    The Ireland result only matters if we tie Spain 1-1. 0-0 would mean we are out. 2-2 or higher and we advance.



  106. Ziva Istina says:

    I rather be in Italy’s position right now than in our position. Anything is possible, but I just dont see how we can beat Spain.



  107. Bobby V says:

    Guys, here it is:

    The tie-breakers between Croatia, Italy and Spain (if we all finish with 5 points) will not include any of the results regarding Ireland until the fourth rule (letter d).

    If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied in the order given, to determine the final rankings:

    a) higher number of points obtained in the matches among the teams in question;
    b) superior goal difference in the matches among the teams in question (if more
    than two teams finish equal on points);
    c) higher number of goals scored in the matches among the teams in question (if
    more than two teams finish equal on points);
    d) superior goal difference in all the group matches;
    e) higher number of goals scored in all the group matches;
    f) position in the UEFA national team coefficient ranking system (see Annex I, paragraph 1.2.2);
    g) fair play conduct of the teams (final tournament);
    h) drawing of lots.

    So basically, a tie with Spain 2-2 or higher means we both go through.

    We can still tie Spain 1-1 and go through if Italy beats Ireland by only 1 goal (letter D in the list above)



  108. Mr. Black says:

    I think we have to count on the Irish to beat Italy. With all their fans supporting them, Ireland will do anything to take at least one point.
    Hrvatska will have a tough time against Spain. I remember Switzerland two years ago in the first game of the World Cup. Switzerland won 1-0 against Spain but they had all the luck in the world.



  109. Nepoznat says:

    @Bobby

    I think we would have the edge in E, F, G if Italy beats Ireland by 2 while scoring 3 or less and we drew 1-1 with spain



  110. Joe Joe says:

    the team needs to play the match of their careers on monday if we are to advance. italy are definitely in the driver’s seat compared to us. maybe the irish can surprise us and pull out a draw (i actually like that spain pummeled them because now they hopefully have something more to prove…..they don’t want to get killed in all 3 matches).

    ziva, i get what you are saying about playing subs and it makes sense (i coach sports and have done exactly what you describe myself). i am just thinking that they will want to salvage some pride and try to grind out a result by playing all starters against italy. we will see i guess

    i said it before the tourney began…..push out against spain too much and we will be toast. we need to play the defensive game of our lives and grind out a tight one. watching them demolish the irish just reinforces that they will give our defense problems. i am hopeful and will be pumped like everyone monday but italy getting that draw with spain on the first day looks like it could be the deciding factor.



  111. MB13 says:

    A 0-0 tie and we are out assuming Italy beats Ireland.

    We would have 1 goal for in games in question whereas Italy have 2. Then we’d be tied with Spain meaning their 4-0 victory over Ireland trumps our 3-1 victory.



  112. Martin says:

    Bilic fucked up today with tactics Perisic was hurt the irish were strong on him in game 1, Second where all the Strinic haters at. Also Eduardo should have started instead of Jelavic Mandzo Eduardo attack would have worked better and pranjic strinic LM LB tandom looked defensivley solid good sub, We really needed to win it that firt half wa a defensive nightmare whats really funny is that the 2 goals we conceded were set piece goals haa,it was a good run but i am sorry unless the Hercegovaca mafija agree to a 2-2 draw.



  113. Ziva Istina says:

    @Mr. Black…..Ireland and their fans have done everything so far to at least gain a point or even look respectable.

    I have no doubt the irish will come out and play hard, they always do. But, they lack quality. I also expect Ireland to give their bench players a chance to play.

    What ever happens on Monday, happens. I am happy we are at the Euros and anything past this stage is an added bonus.

    You know Spain will come out in full force against us, because they need a win to gaurentee first place. Not an ideal scenerio for us, but at some point you have to be able to beat the big boys if you want to advance at major tournaments.



  114. DinamoDennis says:

    People give pletikosa way to much credit. Yes he made two great saves…that were imminently followed by a goal he should have saved,,,,besides that he didn’t do much.



  115. Bobby V says:

    @mb13 – If Croatia ties Spain 0-0 and Italy wins by only 1 goal (any score you want to pick) Croatia goes through because of rule D – superior goal difference. Croatia would be +2 and Italy would be +1



  116. Slavonac from Canada says:

    curious question to all:

    do any of you think there was a foul on Jelavic while he was going after the cross…cant remember who knocked it in?



  117. Ziva Istina says:

    @martin………you are typical second-guesser, after the facts type of guy. Monday morning QB is what they call them in the US and you seem to fit that description.

    After the way our guys played against Ireland, who the hell would replace Perisic with the Brazilian-born Hrvat.

    There is no shame in playing to a 1-1 draw with Italy. Yeah, it might suck that we are probably going home. but at least be honest with yourself when discussing this.



  118. Ziva Istina says:

    @DinamoDennis……that goal was not Pletikosa’s fault. No GK is saving that. Great free kick and the wall fell apart just enough. Not sure how that is Pletikosa’s fault, but keep telling yourself it is.



  119. Mihovil Mihovil says:

    @ Nepoznat

    Good stuff Nepoznat!

    I told you Webb is a bad referee. He is in his own world out there.



  120. Ziva Istina says:

    Forget about Webb. Don’t forget the help we got from the refs at the 2002 WC when we beat Italy. The refs waved off two legit goals scored by Italy.



  121. Bobby V says:

    Like I mentioned above, the “foul” on Balotelli by Rakitic was a joke. Every time Balotelli fell over, Webb called it a foul.

    To be fair, I thought Jelavic pulled the defender back first before he himself was fouled.



  122. Bobby V says:

    @mb13, Sorry, you are correct. 0-0 with Spain would take us out on the third rule (letter C)



  123. Igra says:

    Me thinks Croatia and Spain will agree to play a 2-2 draw to knock Italy out of the Tourney. Spain will still retain 1st place in this situation. And Spain wants Italy out so they don’t have to deal with them in later rounds.

    It’s Euro 2004 all over again for Italy! Goodbye Azzuri!



  124. Jarac says:

    @Pintar,

    thats right good call, we play at the same time, damn we cant rig a tie with spain then depending on ireland vs italy game.

    I was assuming Italy will not score more than 3 goals on ireland. And I was also assuming Ireland will put one in the back of the net. I said that cause I believe that if we win or tie we will go on.

    I believe there is a possibility that Ireland plays Italy tough. They have nothing to loose. No more pressure on them to perform cause they wont make it out of the group. They may want to do well for their country and the fact they might not make it to another tourney in years so might as well try to win one. And the X factor. Trappatonni, U guys think he knows Italy well, which he should, so come up with great game plan against them. As well as, the Italians may think this is an easy game and underestimate them. I believe if there is ever a time for Ireland to upset or tie its monday. Although the Italians might pay him off and get an easy win.

    Good thing is Croatia still controls its own destiny just like it did today, with a win we move on. Unfortanetly we need a win against spain. I still believe if we win or tie we move on.



  125. Mishko says:

    @Slavonac, Webb was a pile of shit. The Italians got away with murder on every Croatian attempt. Once we beat Spain, we should protest any game with Webb as a ref.



  126. Bobby V says:

    In the end, today’s game meant NOTHING. Italy is going to pound Ireland….and Croatia will need to beat Spain to go through.



  127. Ziva Istina says:

    @Slavonac…….the yellow was given before the play took place. We were lining up for the corner, but the ref blew a whistle before the corner was taken.



  128. Colin O'Haravić says:

    So at the bar today, I met this beautiful half Italian/half Croatian women (Wearing and Italy jersey) and she noticed my Cro jersey and we started talking. She said where she is from, everyone is either Italian or Croatian. I asked her where that was and she said San Pedro, CA. Any of the San Pedro crew here know any family by the name of Jelanic? haha

    To whoever says Pletikosa should have made that save needs to spend time in a goal while we rip shots on you. Then you can see how there is no keeper who would have ever saved that shot.

    As for Ireland… I think they will come out Monday with their starters. They don’t want to go out of a tournament without at least one point. Maybe if they are down they will let their young players have some Euro experience, but that’s not the way they will start. There is still a chance they can take points from Italy. Here’s to hoping.



  129. Mainzfeldski Mainzfeldski says:

    If Croatia get through the group by beating Spain, drawing at least 2-2, or hoping that Italy do not beat Ireland, it will become so much easier to breathe.

    Hopefully Bilic learned something vital from the Spain v. Ireland match that we could use for victory.



  130. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Ziva – does Bilic have credibility to his claims…the “clear penalty” miss and the “phanton call” on Balotelli?



  131. Igra says:

    @ Mainzfeldski: I think with a 4-0 win, Del Bosque will take his foot off the gas pedal. I don’t see him fielding all of his starters, as he wants to rest some players for the quarters. This will give Croatia a chance to draw. Anyway I think Spain and Cro will agree to a 2-2 draw.

    @Colin O’Haravic: Ireland are gonna fight hard in the 3rd match. In no way do they want to go out as the laughing stock of the tourney. Also, they don’t want their Uefa coeffiecient to plummet–important for seeding in future qualifications and tourneys. So they will fight hard for pts, and avoid a 3-0 hammer job.



  132. Nepoznat says:

    Mainzfeldski I think we would get through in a 1-1 draw too unless Italy wins by more than 2 or while scoring 4 or more. So we still have a decent shot



  133. Mihovil Mihovil says:

    @ Ziva Istina

    “Man, not having Olic hurts us. He would have been the perfect sub for Jelavic for the last 15 minutes of the game.”

    For sure. He would have been great against Spain for the counter to stretch out the defense!

    “Anything is possible, but I just dont see how we can beat Spain.”

    If the United States can beat Spain in a major tournament so can we.

    http://tinyurl.com/7s6adkq

    I realize that was three years ago but that team is pretty much the same team we will be facing. The team the U.S. faced was better!

    Trying to stay positive

    :-)

    @ Slavonac from Canada

    “Ziva – does Bilic have credibility to his claims…the “clear penalty” miss and the “phanton call” on Balotelli?”

    I realize the question is not for me and I apologize for that but I wanted to chime in if I may. How does Bilic not have credibility to his claims?

    “Almost” every challenge Italy had on us today Webb just waived off and looked away. The majority of the challenges we had on Italy Webb gave in to them. Not all, but the majority. How is that calling a fair game straight down the line. How is that fair? It is not calling it down the line and it is not fair.

    He is a joke of a ref and we still could have won this game despite his incompetence! Never ever underestimate the predictability of stupidity from Howard Webb.

    I am done talking about this idiot because we have bigger riba to fry but the truth is the truth and he was bad once again for us. He influenced the game against us without question. The free kick came from a foul that was not even a foul.

    There was a late challenge on Mandzukic at the end of the game and Webb waives it off. It would have been a free kick near the Italian goal and two minutes later he gives Mandzukic a foul on way less of what deserved to be a foul! How is that evened up, how is that fair?

    I realize that people are going to say that they thought Webb was fair and he did a good job. Ok fine, I personally do not undertand that claim but when you make this claim could you please give examples of how and why in order to discuss further because there is no way that is true. Rather than just saying he did a good job and having nothing to back it up with.

    Remember, we could have won this game despite Webb. If he calls this game down the line, which he obviously does not, it would have helped not hindered us!

    Jebi Webb, I am done with that loser! Why is there always controversy when he refs big games? The answers are incompetency and stupidity and he is not the man for the job to officiate high calibre football games.



  134. Matthew Lebo Matthew Lebo says:

    @Colin

    Yes we do.

    @Ziva

    Pretty spot on with all your rebuttals to some of these comments.

    @Perisic haters

    He helped drive the attack from the left side the first game & assisted a goal. You don’t always have to score goals to be a factor in the game. The fact that he was constantly attacking Ireland’s defense is what makes other channels open up for other players to be great and finish. It’s one game, so lay off the kid a bit. He’s got great talent, but he didn’t show up like he should today. Absolutely no reason to pull him because of this performance.

    The human element, bad calls, is part of the game. You can’t rest on “we should have won”. If Jelavic gets the penalty, then it’s a totally different game and we would never know what happens. If Italy don’t get that free kick, we still don’t know what happens. Maybe they score 3 and we don’t tie. All here say.



  135. Bobby V says:

    Croatia has it all set up now to be the talk of tournament.

    A victory over the World/European champions and finishing first in our group…or, the possibility of being eliminated even with 5 points and watching Russia and Czech Republic reach the quarterfinals – boy, would that be hard to swallow.

    I would still rather have the chance to shine – and as I posted a few days ago, we have a better chance of beating Spain than Italy.



  136. Mainzfeldski Mainzfeldski says:

    @ Igra and Nepoznat

    Your comments made my day! :D

    @Matthew Lebo

    Perisic wasn’t horrible at all today; he just didn’t have a great influence in the game like he did against Ireland. When I was watching the game, I wasn’t even yelling at Perisic; he wasn’t defeating our midfield ball possession as much.

    Rakitic, on the other hand… had horrible passing issues. He was my bellowing target. In some good news, Rakitic was excellent at taking the ball from an Italian near the end (I originally thought that it was a handball by Raki, but I was surprised, he took the possession nicely in the replay).



  137. mkez00 says:

    I’m shocked to hear so many Croats complaining about the Balotelli foul and the Jelavic no call. After the first twenty minutes if someone would have told me the game was going to end 1 – 1 I would have taken it. Italy should have won this game. Our one clear chance luckily was converted.



  138. AAA says:

    At this point, our best hope is Ireland managing to pull out a draw against the Italians. I don’t know how we even manage to draw Spain unless we go up early. Trapattoni is undefeated against Italy with Ireland in 3 matches (2 draws, 1 win) so there’s at least some hope. Now, does history matter for this type of statistic? Some say yes, others say no. But Hrvatska is still undefeated against Italy so who knows.

    Interesting comments from Prandelli about Trapattoni before the tournament:

    http://ind.pn/LY1d1L



  139. mali HRVAT says:

    I thought the penalty appeal was weak. The defender had a better position.

    I was optimistic about Webb being consistent, but I suppose tigers don’t change their stripes. He is consistently inconsistent and biased.

    The challenge on Balotelli was weak, but it probably evens out in the end.

    Man of the Match: PLETIKOSA

    I hear that the Italian GK borrowed Kelava’s GPS when the flares were thrown on the fields.



  140. Ante B says:

    Alright you commie picketine…nows the real chance to test Croatia against the big boys. I can’t wait for them. To be the best, beat the best. Croatia has to play the entire game like it did in the second half of today’s game. There’s no math. Beat Spain. There are no excuses. If Croatia doesn’t win then they deserve to go home. Mandzo has been incredible. No more calculations. No more talking. Just fucking win and shut up. Also props to our fans today for before during and after the game. Jebes passive aggressive navijanje.



  141. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    I’m with Ante B. on this one! He beat me to the punch…

    I’m so sick of this “mi smo jadni” Croatian mentality. If we would have lost today, then we would have been screwed. But we didn’t. We came back. It’s what we do.

    If I was Bilic, this is the speech I would give to the team:

    “Boys, good job thus far. We have one game left in group stage and still control our own destiny. Yes, we have to beat Spain, but what else did you guys come here for? Let’s go play against the best team in the world, beat the best team in the world and shock the world at the same time. Leave it all on the field! We didn’t come here to play 3 games and go on vacation, we came here to win the damn thing!”

    Imagine clinching a quarterfinal berth by defeating the world/euro champions. Imagine the confidence they would have in the quarterfinal/semifinal round. Sure we can pray for an Irish result, but I would rather win and go through than move on by default because the Italians couldn’t defeat Ireland.

    Our little nation always surprises the big boy and I think it’s time for another. ’98 Germany, ’07 England, ’08 Germany….is it time for another?



  142. Sydney United.58 says:

    @Ante-Well said,we are still there doing ourselves proud!
    It was a tough task against a big team who played quite well and didnt give much space.I am not down on any of the boys for the way they played .I never thought too much of Mandzukic untill seeing his fairly recent improvements,I do like him for the way he runs and works so hard,it makes up for his lacking in some areas,but boy,he can be deadly in the box when he gets some service,so full credit to him.
    We are not 3 and out,we are in the big time and the team is making me happy that they are there in a tough group.Anything is still possible.Go Vatreni.



  143. Mark says:

    We can beat any team, and loose to any team. We’re a mind fuck. That’s what makes watching us so insanely nerve racking. I’ve already gone back and forth a few times in my head…

    I think if Italy can tie Spain then we should expect nothing less than that from us. We’ve played relatively decent thus far and I expect the same on Monday. If we’re very lucky we may even squeeze by 2-1. Who knows.

    I’m shocked by Mandjukic, I didn’t know he had it in him. Vukojevic and Pletikosa are playing solid.

    I’m a little disappointed by Modric only because I have such high expectations for him. Also, Perisic doesn’t seem to be playing that well. Everyone else seems to be playing normally.



  144. Ziva Istina says:

    @Igra………..Of course Ireland is going to fight, regardless of the team they use. Trouble is, they have been fighting hard in their first two matches. But, your point about UEFA coefficient comment is dead wrong. No player is going on the field thinking about coefficient rankings…Ireland has fought hard so far and have given up 7 goals so far. That will continue against Italy. Don’t be surprised if they play more of their bench.

    Also at Igra…..I wonder if you understand the game of soccer. You mentioned Spain will take its foot off the gas pedal and rest some players for the quarters. Man oh man, that is a homer statement and nothing but wishful thinking. You do realize that Spain can still be eliminated with a loss to Croatia and an Italy win. But, keep up with your blind homer views. By your logic, we should rest Modric and save him for the quarters.

    I



  145. BlackZodiac says:

    The Italy game was a good one despite Italy having Howard Webb favor them the whole game.

    The Rakitic foul on Balitoli wasn’t even replayed (ESPN). Pirlo made an excellent free kick while our wall couldn’t cut it.

    I myself gave Croatia a rating of a B by accident. Realistically they deserve an A. Anyone who voted Croatia’s performance a C, D and F needs to realize a few things, D & F rating shouldn’t be up there A+, A, B+, B, and C.

    The national team has stepped up in this tournament, I was realistically expecting a squeak by performance with Ireland, never mind Italy and Spain.

    Another thing I had noticed, majority of the time when we start our counter attack Howard Webb would blow the whistle due to an Italian player flopping, getting nudged or held onto (which Italy had gotten off the hook most of the time) and really bolstered our counter attacks.

    We did amazing, lastly fuck Howard Webb & his chrome dome.



  146. Mihovil Mihovil says:

    @ BlackZodiac

    “Another thing I had noticed, majority of the time when we start our counter attack Howard Webb would blow the whistle due to an Italian player flopping, getting nudged or held onto (which Italy had gotten off the hook most of the time) and really bolstered our counter attacks.”

    Right on the money!

    If the United States can beat Spain so can we! Never give up!



  147. Ziva Istina says:

    Absolutely, anything is possible. Up to the boys to believe in themselves. I don’t think it will happen, but would be ecstatic if we do.



  148. Jarac says:

    @Kvartuc

    If ur going by the win and shut up mentality, loosing to italy today wouldn’t have screwed anything. With a win vs spain we go either way regardless of Italy outcome. So ur logic is flawed.



  149. IvicA says:

    How sick would it be if Croatia actually wins against Spain?

    Spain would be eliminated, lol.



  150. BlackZodiac says:

    Today when I watched the Spain vs Ireland, the best fans I have ever witnessed to date. Singing when they are down 4-0 and enjoying what’s most important.

    Population of 4.5 million, just making it to the Euro’s makes us over achievers.

    Enjoy what we have now cause when Bilic leaves things will probably start to slowly go down hill.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyTu8ibpp9w

    Only if ours would do the same.



  151. mali HRVAT says:

    I just rewatched the game on a larger screen without distractions.

    That game was as good as we can expect out of Howard Webb. Sure there were a couple of dubious calls or lack there of, but it wasn’t that bad. There was a good deal of flopping by both sides, and that makes the referees job difficult.

    In the first 20 minutes we had three solid crosses that were close to being converted.



  152. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    Mr. Jarac,

    Yes, technically speaking. But I’m talking mentality wise. You know how we (Croatians) are. If we would have won today, we would have proclaimed ourselves prvaci already. Qualifying for the quarters via an Italy victory. Not having to deal with Spain.

    Yahtzee!!!

    But we came from behind to tie a good Italy team who already tied Spain. Momentum!

    And mental momentum at that….

    Question: If you are Bilic, do you let the players know the score of the Italy/Ireland game at halftime or tell them to play for a win and that’s it!



  153. LikaJoey says:

    @ Ante kvartuc i love it!! you said it best! we are the come back kids. We have to go for glory and try and beat spain.



  154. Tom in Winnipeg says:

    Ante,

    Dude that was an awesome motivational speech! Bilic ought to fly you to Poland before Monday’s game!



  155. Hajduk_montreal says:

    Win, lose or draw against Spain, I think we’re playing the best soccer we’ve played in a long time. This is agood Croatia side. @kvartuc, are you by any chance Ika’s son? If so, we’re second cousins.



  156. Mishko says:

    I say put Mishko in, I can be there by Saturday night with Enzo, I’ll stab a few Spaniards and Enzo will bite a few. We’ll be in and out by Sunday night. :)



  157. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Mihovil – I just saw your post…and saw the game for the second time…without so many nerves…you’re right…webb’s a prick!



  158. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    Let’s just fucken bring the whole house to Spain! It would shock them. Teams give way too much respect to Spain, just like we gave too much respect to Italy in the first half today. We’re not playing chess out there boys…knock ‘em down and knock ‘em down hard. I’m not saying play dirty, just finsih your tackles. Pressure high.

    How’s that for tactics?

    Go for broke…treat this as a championship game.

    Why?

    Contingency plan: If Ireland helps us out…we still go through anyways. That’s the way to play this. Playing with house money at this point. Fuck it, why not.

    Unless Mamic gets involved and “settles the score” to be a 2-2 final, something like that. Maybe Real or Barca get Kovacic for cheap….just thinking outside the box. No cards, no injuries…both teams go through….Hmmmmmmmm

    @ Hajduk Montreal,

    Yep,

    Teta Ika is my mom.



  159. Jarac says:

    @kvartuc,

    no u don’t tell ur team anything about what is happening at half. U let them focus on there game. I’m with u on bringing the house. We need to play aggressive. If we try to play for a tie we will loose. We need to play for a win, this is the only team in a long time that I have been confident that we can put points on the board.



  160. Ziva Istina says:

    We will play for the win, but that is easier said than done. Spain will control the possession, but that doesn’t mean we don’t come out and try to win it.

    We will probably use the same line up and go with the look we had in the 2nd half. The line up will resemble a 4-2-3-1. We need to overload the MF as much as we can to disrupt Spain.



  161. Toronto Croatia Toronto Croatia says:

    Heres how I see it. Italy will most likely beat Ireland, so lets not even consider that option. So where does that leave us?

    Do we go for a tie against Spain? or do we go for the win?

    Is that even a choice?

    We need to beat Spain. Will it be very hard? Yes…..can we do it? WHY NOT?

    Have we beaten powerhouses in the past when we were the underdog? Yes

    Should our boys be playing their hearts out for the Spain game? Yes

    Would we be the talk of the tournament if we beat Spain? Yes

    IF we beat Spain…..why wouldn’t we be confident that we could then beat ANY team from then on in.

    There is EVERYTHING to play for in the Spain game.

    -Our Pride,
    -Survival from the group
    -Show the world Croatia are always the underdogs to fear

    For the Spain game we must go for the win …or die trying.



  162. Jarac says:

    If any wants to know the tie break rules

    Equality of points after the group matches
    If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied, in the order given; to determine the rankings:
    a) higher number of points obtained in the matches among the teams in question;
    b) superior goal difference in the matches among the teams in question (if more than two teams finish equal on points);
    c) higher number of goals scored in the matches among the teams in question (if more than two teams finish equal on points);
    d) superior goal difference in all the group matches;
    e) higher number of goals scored in all the group matches;
    f) position in the UEFA national team coefficient ranking system (see Annex I, paragraph 1.2.2);
    g) fair play conduct of the teams (final tournament);
    h) drawing of lots.



  163. Jarac says:

    o shiz i think i solved it so if we tie spain and italy wins. It’s a three way tie. So then if we tie 2-2 we go cause greater than the 1-1 between spain and italy? Is that correct?



  164. Bobby V says:

    This Spanish team is beatable, especially without Puyol and Villa. Italy outplayed them. Also, for some reason, people sometimes get confused – Messi isn’t on the team. :) I think their run is over.



  165. nije bitno nije bitno says:

    Our team needs to come out against Spain and play for everything mentioned and shown in this music video. If you haven’t seen the official music video to Uvijek Vjerni Tebi by Thompson check it out!



  166. Wallace says:

    I thought Jelavic should have scored on that cross in the 1st half. It was Jelavic who gave up the ball that led to the (phantom) foul which resulted in Italy’s goal. And why didn’t Jelavic shoot Mandzukic’s pass on the breakaway in the 2nd half?



  167. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    If we tie Spain 2-2, 3-3 etc we go through no matter how many goals Italy wins by…

    If we tie Spain 1-1 and Italy defeat Ireland 3-1, Italy goes through based on better FIFA ranking…Jesus Christ.



  168. AllenOutraged says:

    Man lot of posts, I feel late to the party. I don’t think we could complain because first half was brutal to watch. Croatia was outclassed in every part of the game, thank god for Pleti. Pleti was the 3rd best player out there for Croatia today, great job by him. I didn’t see that 2nd half performance coming but boy that was beautiful. They were playing fearless and really spreading the ball around. Italy blocked a load of shots with their defenders, they still got that great wall.

    G. Pletikosa- Excellent game can’t complain. Free kick was a great bend, can’t hate on him.

    RB: Srna- Quiet 1st half, excellent 2nd half. Props to Srna for not flopping in a record 2 straight games. He’s really acted like a captain these days.

    CB. Schildenfield- I really hope he doesn’t start in another major tourney. He tries and he’s pretty strong along with some composed tackles. His lack of agility will lead to a big mess up against Spain. I just feel it, but props for the effort.

    CB. Corluka- He had a shaky first half but dominant 2nd half by winning every ball.

    LB. Strinic- 2nd best Croatian on pitch today. I think he’s the future left back, so hard nosed and he really works hard. That was an excellent cross and I’m really happy for him.

    RM. Rakitic- Ugly game and wouldn’t be surprised if he got benched. He looked pretty lackluster for most part although I do hope they start him against Spain.

    CM. Modric- same thing as Srna and Corluka. He really stepped up in 2nd half and looked like the player that we know.

    LM. Perisic- He worked hard but not good enough. No surprise he was taken off.

    ST. Jelavic- He really worked his ass off but it wasn’t good enough. Really struggled to do anything impressive on the ball but he really works at it. Still should start vs Spain.

    ST. Mandzukic- I think its fair to say that Manzo is the guy for Croatia at the moment. He wins almost every ball and once again look at how he dribbles. Mind boggling to think the man can’t dribble, he does a decent job. That goal was flawless, such a perfect touch. Incredible game, I praise him.

    The subs didn’t do much, although Eduardo could have done better.

    I’m happy with result based on circumstances. Croatia’s chances going through aren’t great but hopefully Trapattoni has his players pumped and hopefully get a result. Spain will be a mountain to climb although not impossible.



  169. AllenOutraged says:

    I was talking to Denis about circumstances and Ante is right about that fifa ranking bullshit. I swear we should riot as a group to UEFA if that were to happen.



  170. Wallace says:

    Croatia was not “outclassed” in the 1st half. Jelevic just had to get a toe under the ball and Croatia would have been 1-0 up. Strinic also delivered a good cross just over Mandzukic’s head right in front of goal. I’d say Croatia controlled the run of play in the 2nd half more so than Italy did in the first half.
    Also, Pletikosa’s double save was nullified by the immediate ensuing action which led to the (phantom) foul – which resulted in the Italy goal. The only other time Pletikosa was called upon was stopping the shot by the Italian sub #18.
    Do you think the Irish can secure a pound of flesh before they exit the field?



  171. Jarac says:

    @allen

    what are the chances we tie spain 1-1 and then italy wins by exactly the same margin 3-1, if that happens jebiga man.



  172. Jarac says:

    @Wallace

    Like I previously mentioned if Ireland has any chance this game is it. One they have nothing to loose and no more pressure on them. They have alot of “heart” (just had a conversation about heart and it mans essentially nothing to have on, were all born with one). Trapattoni has not lost to italy in 3 times facing them. And I do believe italy will come out cocky and underestimate the irish. You never know like Ziva says ” that why u play the game ” and like I say lopta je okrugla.



  173. Tomislav from Sydney says:

    Am I missing something? Croatia are ranked higher than Italy in the fifa rankings. wtf are you guys talking about?



  174. Ziva Istina says:

    The one things that does help us in hoping that Italy folds is the pressure angle. Some teams/players respond badly when the pressure is on. Italy will have all the pressure on them to beat Ireland and bet them convincingly.

    I don’t think it will happen, but that possibility is there. I have seen nothing from Ireland that makes me think they can hold Italy to a tie or limit them to one goal.



  175. Mark says:

    Italy has never been a high scoring team anyway. I don’t see them scoring more than two against the Irish.

    Bottom line: WIN



  176. TheOne says:

    We need to call the Spanish and say look either we go out 2-2 or we break your best players leg. Thats it.



  177. Mihovil Mihovil says:

    @ Slavonac from Canada

    You know your stuff to put it mildly and you are always fair. Not that this matters much but I try to call everything right down the line when discussing topics in this medium. Something the referee we had from yesterday’s game never does!

    I am done with him!

    I would have loved to pull off a victory yesterday but the draw was fine. I was very proud of how we battled back in the game in the second half. I work with an Italian and he keeps saying over and over and over that they should have killed us yesterday. My response to that statement is, “you cannot beat us, just except the fact”. He goes nuts after that!

    :-)

    Our game plan and preparation for Spain is our next journey. Please no 4-4-2 against Spain.

    @ Nepoznat

    “I don’t understand, don’t we have the better FIFA ranking over Italy?”

    It is based on the UEFA national team coefficient ranking that was used to setup the groups for the tournament.

    Calculation of seedings

    The pot allocations were based on the UEFA national team coefficient rankings of the sixteen finalists at the end of the qualifying competition in November 2011. Each nation’s coefficient was generated by calculating:

    40% of the average ranking points per game earned in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying stage.
    40% of the average ranking points per game earned in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying stage and final tournament.
    20% of the average ranking points per game earned in the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying stage and final tournament.

    Italy were assigned to POT 2 or B and we were assigned to POT 3 or C for the draw for the Euro 2012 draw.

    It is dumb regardless!

    @ Ziva Istina

    “I have seen nothing from Ireland that makes me think they can hold Italy to a tie or limit them to one goal.”

    Prior to the tournament starting I would have said that they would have had a shot at beating or drawing Italy. They have shown nothing in this tournament to warrant confidence in such actions but the Irish have pride and will give it a good go. Quality will probably dictate.

    If the Irish do not give up an early goal like they did yesterday to Spain they “might” make it interesting against Italy. What we need to see is Ireland score the first goal in that game, than all the pressure will be on Italy.



  178. jm says:

    http://www.zonalmarking.net/2012/06/15/italy-1-1-croatia-pirlo-dictates-first-half-croatia-dominate-the-second-after-half-time-switch/

    @ nepoznat. thanks for showing me this site! Here’s a breakdown of Croatia’s game vs Italy. I find this site very interesting for there indepth analysis both statistically and qualitatively.

    The main points seems to be that in the first half Croatia’s 4-4-2 formation was not working well
    a) Mandzukic was supposed to be tracking back on Pirlo but stopped doing it after the first 10 minutes
    b) Rakitic wasn’t giving much defensive help there either
    c) –> that lead to Pirlo having tons of time and space to pick Croatia apart –> Itay had 11 shots on goal and should have arguably been up by more than 1 goal at half

    The second half was a much different story. Bilic switched to the 4-2-3-1 formation bringing rakitic and vukojevic to share the dual stopper role, pushing modric up further into an attacking role, and dropping Mandzo back to play mroelike a right winger.

    a) It obviously worked a lot better with Pirlo having substantially less time on the ball as Modric matched up with him
    b) allowing croatia to attack the flanks more, which although open in the first half they didn’t really do

    In the end, a round of applause for Bilic?????!



  179. jm says:

    http://www.zonalmarking.net/2012/06/14/spain-4-0-ireland-whitewash/

    Here’s the breakdown of the Spanish-Ireland game. Check out the chart on Spains passing vs Irelands. Absolutely sick. Spain completed more passes than any other team in European Championship history with Xavi completing the most passes by a single player ever (126). Spain completed 788 of 860 passes vs ireland completing 178 out of 254! Pretty sick. It’l lbe interesting to see how Croatia tries to deal with this



  180. hajduk_montreal says:

    @jm agreed, I think the 4-2-3-1 worked as well as it did because the two backs (Srna and Strinic) make constant overlapping runs – plus they’re both capable of running all day. I’d be curious to know how many crosses they made in the second half, I’d bet it’s more than in the first. This also works for Mandzo, because he’s fast and can cover a ton of ground from that outside mid slot. And of course it frees up Luka to go forward, which is key to our attack. If we play like this in the WC quals, we’ll be good to go.

    I haven’t seen Croatia play this well in ages, it’s a good sign going into the Spain game.

    @kvartuc, yep we’re cousins, my folks are in town and my mom confirmed it. I know your uncle Ljube well. My mom and your mom are first cousins. With Croatians, regardless where we are, we’re always about removed by about 4 degrees of separation!



  181. Igra says:

    @ Ziva Istina: Your comment: “No player (Irish) is going on the field thinking about coefficient rankings…”

    You don’t know whats going on in the minds of the Irish players. So you can’t say that with certainty. And I doubt your now Clairvoyant. What is certain is the Irish don’t want to suffer humiliating losses, and they know if they continue to do so–their rankings will drop. That’s pretty much common sense.

    Also @ Ziva: I still think Spain will rest a few key players (not all of them). Remember their subs would be starters on any other team. And they are good enough to do the job. Spain don’t have to go full throttle here, as a draw is all they need. And they are good enough to prevent a loss. Still hope Cro and Spain will agree to play to a 2-2:)



  182. Tom in Winnipeg says:

    hajduk_Montreal

    “… the two backs (Srna and Strinic) make constant overlapping runs – plus they’re both capable of running all day.”

    You’re quite right, Srna and Strinic did this very effectively but I believe they also left our central defenders exposed at times. Yes, they had little choice but to attack in the second half but there were also times in the first half where Srna got caught out of position. If you saw TSN’s coverage, recall the half-time commentary from Jason De Vos. In short, that is a very high risk, high reward strategy. With some better finishing from Italy, we could have really got burned.



  183. Ziva Istina says:

    @Igra……your insane if you think Spain is going to rest players. I think you are speaking like a blind fan. They may have guys injured, but they are not going to rest players against hrvatska. If they lose, they may be out. No way they take that risk. Again, I ask you this???? Should we rest Srna and Modric for the Spain game??? That is what you are suggesting about Spain. A loss for either Spain or Cro will probably eliminate them from the tourney. No way you rest players. But, whatever floats your boat in your mind.

    And the same thing you are saying now about the Irish are the same lines you could have used for their first two games (they will play with heart, they will play not to be embarassed). They played with heart against us and Spain…..and look what that got them….they got smoked because all the heart in the world can’t make up for their lack of talent. One thing you are dead wrong about is the statement about playing for rankings. They may play for personal pride, for their flag, but not for bullshit rankings.

    Anything is possible and the Irish need a lot of breaks to go their way, but Ireland looks finished to me. If i was a betting man, I would put money on italy to score at least 3 goals. I hope to be proven wrong.



  184. Igra says:

    @ Ziva: I never said Spain will field their entire B team. They will bring on 2 or 3 new faces. Del Bosque needs to rest a couple of key players. That’s one of the reasons why teams bring 23 players to a tournement. With a couple of new faces they won’t lose to Croatia, as I said before their subs would be starters on other teams. Also it’s obvious that Croatia and Spain need to only play for a 2-2 draw.

    “Should we rest Srna and Modric for the Spain game”

    You cannot apply the same logic to Croatia, it’s misleading at best. Croatia doesn’t have the players to replace Srna and Modric. While Spain has plenty of options.

    I agree Ireland will play their heart out for pride. But if your saying that Ireland doesn’t care about it’s world rankings (also a source of pride) then that’s your opinion.

    All in all, let’s hope Croatia goes through.



  185. hajduk_montreal says:

    @Nepoznat, thanks for the stats, I guess my theory in number of crosses was off.

    @tom in Winnipeg – didn’t see DeVoss’ comments, but it makes sense, you do get exposed. To counter that you need two very mobile centerbacks, which we don’t have, however both Vukojevic and Rakitic should be able to drop back and provide numbers in defense if the wing back is caught out – in essence only one wing back should be out of position, allowing for shift over giving you 3 at the back with 2 defensive mids clogging the center. I’m a keeper, but I readily admit I like to see those wing backs going forward. Who Dares Wins!

    Neither team will rest players. A loss could spell the end of either team – you play for a win; this is a knock out game. Relying on Ireland to get a result would be ludicrous.



  186. Tom in Winnipeg says:

    hajduk-Montreal

    De Voss noted both Srna and Strinic were going forward at the same time, with one of them failing — as you say — to drop back to provide cover.

    As you say, “he who dares, wins!”



  187. Ziva Istina says:

    @Igra…..needing to play for a 2-2 tie and playing for one are two different things. No chance Spain goes into this game looking for a tie.

    This is a knockout game for us at this point. We’ve seen it happen before on the last day of a season in various leages where a favored team needs a result to clinch a Champions League birth, but they fail to a lesser team. That could happen here with Italy, but Bilic has to approach this as expecting Italy to win 5-0.

    We’ll see Monday. But, I rather bee Italy right now than Croatia even if we have everything in our hands right now. Its much more realistic seeing italy beat Ireland with ease and Spain beating us than any other possibility.



  188. Hrvat1911 says:

    I’m tired of everyone talking about tying Spain. That type of glass half empty attitude sucks. We will win!



  189. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Ziva – sometimes I hate to admit it cause you seem a little arrogant…but you are factual and your comments are moreso reliable/credible/believable/truthful than most here…you bring good things to this forum…good job!

    I also think several others bring a lot as well…Mihovil and Allen come to mind…oh yeah…and people like Nizic remind me of the fools that throw banana’s on the field!



  190. jm says:

    Any one have thoughts if Bilic will deploy the same 4-2-3-1 formation that he did in the second half that seemed to work so well? Not sure how this matches up with what spain does vs what italy was doing



  191. Ziva Istina says:

    @jm…..Italy used a 3-5-2 against Spain. Some claim it worked, while others said italy’s success was more due to Spain going without a forward and playing 6 midfielders in that match. When look back at the Spain-italy match, Spain had more possesion with the six midfielders, but when Torres came in they lost some of the possesion battle, but Spain created more chance with Torres.

    I think Bilic will go with a 4-2-3-1, but whatever tactic is used it still wont do much in terms of limiting Spain’s possesion. We just have to make sure we limit the opportunities they create from all that possesion and try to get them on quick counters and set pieces.

    @Slavonac…..appreciate the comments. I think many of us fail to take off the homer glasses when discussing anything croatia-related. People lose credibility when that happens.



  192. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Ziva – in all honesty…I’m not trying to pretend I’m some guru…but to me it was apparent the second i saw the spain lineup v italy that the tactic was wrong…and I bbm’d a few friends before the kickoff and told them. you cant expect possession to turn into goals…you still need to pressure defenders and create a level of uncertainty for your opponents ie offside trap, through balls and the forwards playing facing their opponents rather than always coming back to receive…italy had an easier job defending that and gained a ton of confidence.

    Hrvatska will have a hell of a time with Spain…BUT…of course there is always the unknown factor…and thats only realized once the game is being played. will we be able to create chance from crosses as we did against Ireland…can we counter in numbers and allow Luka some offensive freedom…will we get some calls our way…can we frustrate the Spaniards (i kinda doubt it but you never know)…and…can me make full potential of a half a chance…that could make a world of difference!

    defending with 10 men behind the ball will be very critical…attacking with 7 is also critical…one on one scenario’s are going to be a huge role when our forwards get the balls…they will have to be able to hold and distribute when needed…and they will have to make the most of the aerial balls…play off one another…and build from the small battles on all parts of the field!

    I think Jelavic has been more dangerous inside the 18 yard box where Mandzo has the physical presence to be more influential from 30 or 40 yards in (physical meaning a little better at beating people on the outside or knocking down balls to an oncoming teammate)…not that he can dribble…but moreso carry, cross and hold up and then go towards the net for a play! Mandzo is unpredictable…he disappears for several minutes during the game and then reappears with some good plays…thus far I see Jela a little less influential…but all he needs is half a chance!

    your thoughts?



  193. TheOne says:

    All I know is those Croatian babes had some nice boobs. I wouldn’t mind being smothered by those babies. Za Dom!!!



  194. Mihovil Mihovil says:

    @ Slavonac from Canada

    Hvala brat.

    :-)

    It was nice to see our checkered jerseys @ a major tournament again! I am pretty sure we will see them again versus Spain. Which is nice.



  195. Ziva Istina says:

    @Slavonac….I echo much of what you wrote/said. I wonder if Bilic would consider starting the Brazilian-born Hrvat over Jelavic or at least willing to make the change at the half. On one hand I think his quickness in tight spaces gives him an advantage over Jelavic. But, on the other hand Italy was able to create some chances and trouble the spanish D with a physcial forward like Balotelli even thugh the goal was scored by a player similar to Da Silva in build and stature. I don’t think there is a clear cut answer either way.

    Plus, does Pranjic come in for Perisic or do we keep the same starting 11.



  196. Slavonac from Canada says:

    in my opinion…its a catch 22…with regards to Eduardo, I would love to try it cause I like his abilitiy to make space and he can create more chances than Jela…but…Jela is stronger, battles more and his physical presence may make a difference…thats why I think its a catch 22…personally I’d go with Eduardo.

    with regards to Pranjic…another great idea…even if just for 60 minutes…he has a great left peg and can cross and shoot very well. he’s also pretty quick…so i think he can spring our forwards loose and also deliver some good crosses which Mandzo may be able to benefit from!



  197. Mainzfeldski Mainzfeldski says:

    @ Ziva

    I would start Perisic for now (he wasn’t disastrous at the Italy game), and if things don’t work out, like you said about Eduardo, sub him out at the half time for Pranjic.



  198. Slavonac from Canada says:

    ziva- with regards to your Balotelli comment…I agree but I think he’s twice as quick as Jelavic and his footwork is better…my very first comments about Jela were he can score…but he turns like a bus and is somewhat awkward…his strengths lie in his size and battles, abilities to be in the right place to score and can score on half a chance…not as useful outside the 18 other than to hold up the ball. if you noticed…balotelli can evade a player in a heart beat to create opportunities where I think Jela has to fight for opportunities by using his size and strength.



  199. Tom in Winnipeg says:

    I’d go with Pranjic in place of Perisic… that extra experience and level headedness is invaluable in a critical game such as this one. Further, I believe he is also more defensively sound than Perisic, in large part due to his experience.



  200. mali HRVAT says:

    @Ziva:

    I definitely wear Croatian tinted glasses before and during any game. Afterwards, I think most of us are fairly objective.

    My favorite play, was when Mandzukic won the ball and was called for the foul. He then pointed down to the ball which was at his feet.

    Hats off to Bilic, who strung together this defensive line and reworked the team around a new strike partnership.

    Honestly, I think Olic would have been more effective and consistent at disrupting Pirlo. Mandzukic’s goal was good, but I would expect that finish from any of our strikers including Petric and Klasnic.



  201. BlackZodiac says:

    The Spain game will be difficult for us, we need to use our advantages over them such as our height and power.

    Keep the starting 11, there is no reason to fix what’s not broken. The only thing I would change is bringing Eduardo into the game around the 60-75 minute of play pending on how Jelavic is doing on the field.

    The midfield needs to be cramped with bodies so Spain cannot effectively play their style of game, so if that means Jelavic and Mandzukic falling back into our midfield so be it.

    No need to over chase Spain in their game, let them come to an over crowded powerful & tall midfield.

    Croatia needs to play this game as if it’s their last cause the odds are it will be their last if they do not win or get a 2-2 tie.

    What Bilic did with Mandzukic was excellent, have Jelavic shadow Xavi and Mandzukic shadow over Xabi when the ball is turned over. Not over do to it but enough to disrupt their game.

    This time I wouldn’t pull our RB and LB out so far at once and have the side with the missing fullback pressed in towards for a bit of cover until either player has made it back.

    Perisic over Pranjic, we will need stamina for this match up and besides there isn’t much that Pranjic has over Perisic.

    I like the Idea of Bilic’s 4-2-3-1 and if he were to sub in Eduardo for Jelavic, have Eduardo take Mandzukic’s position and Mario into Jelavics position.



  202. mali HRVAT says:

    I just watched the Ireland/Spain game.

    Aiden McGeady seems to be the only Irishman who is comfortable with the ball at his feet, making runs and passing the ball.

    I don’t know what players from Ireland will play against Italy.

    However, you can bet they will qualify for Euro 2016. The pool will increase to 24 teams, and sides a lot weaker than Ireland will qualify.



  203. Mate says:

    Im not sure if anybody’s mentioned this but there is gonna be an added bit of incentive for our captain.. If Croatia do win and take first, Croatias next game would be in Donetsk, srna’s second home- I know they don’t need the extra motivation but I think it would mean the world to srna to play in front of his home crowd with his national team! Just a interesting storyline….





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