Ireland outgunned in Croatia opener

Republic of Ireland 1 - 3 Croatia
Published Sunday, 10 June 2012
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The Republic of Ireland's hopes of making Euro 2012 progress have suffered a huge blow after they lost their opener 3-1 to Croatia in Poznan.

Two goals from Mario Mandzukic and one from Nikica Jelavic put Croatia in control of Group C after Spain and Italy's 1-1 draw and left Ireland with a mountain to climb.

Sean St Ledger's header had earlier cancelled out Mandzukic's opener but goalkeeping and defensive errors ultimately proved Ireland's undoing as their 14-match unbeaten run was ended at the 43,000-capacity Municipal Stadium on Sunday.

It was arguably a must-win game for Ireland before Thursday's showdown with reigning world and European champions Spain.

And it was a difficult night for unfortunate keeper Shay Given as Mandzukic quickly opened the scoring with a third-minute header.

After Jelavic cancelled out Sean St Ledger's 19th-minute equaliser, Mandzukic saw his second-half attempt come back off the post and end up in of the net after ricocheting off Given's head.

This is Ireland's third competitive defeat during Giovanni Trapattoni's four-year tenure and the first on foreign soil.

We conceded sloppy goals which is unlike us, we are usually pretty tight.

Sean St Ledger

St Ledger told ITV: "The second one was dubious, it could have been offside and we thought it was a foul.

"We had to come out in the second half and the next goal was important.

"Obviously they got it and when you are 3-1 down to a side like Croatia it's always going to be tough.

"It was unlike us the goals we conceded. I wouldn't say Croatia split us open but they were poor goals to concede."

Croatia started better and received their reward when captain Darijo Srna's right-wing cross clipped full-back Stephen Ward and sat up for Mandzukic.

The striker had slipped as Srna prepared to deliver, but managed to right himself and head towards the bottom corner.

His effort looked to lack power, but Given, whose fitness had been a major talking point for the previous three weeks, could not get to the ball in time.

Relief arrived for Ireland, firstly in the shape of striker Kevin Doyle and then St Ledger with 19 minutes gone.

Doyle forced Vedran Corluka to concede one of a series of free-kicks.

McGeady's delivery to the far post was firm and with Corluka out of position, St Ledger crept in front of him to head the Republic level from close range.

But with two minutes of the half remaining, Croatia were back in the lead.

Modric cut inside Robbie Keane to fire in a long-range shot which was blocked, but in his haste to clear, Ward could only slice the loose ball to the delighted Jelavic, who easily beat Given from close range to restore his side's advantage.

Given's luck deserted him totally within three minutes of the restart when Mandzukic powered a header towards goal from a Perisic cross and saw the ball come back off the post, hit the keeper on the head and fly into the net.

Trapattoni made a double substitution just eight minutes into the second half when he replaced Doyle and McGeady with Jon Walters and Simon Cox, and the latter sent a long-range effort high over Stipe Pletikosa's crossbar within seconds of his arrival.

The Republic should have been awarded a 63rd-minute penalty for central defender Gordon Schildenfeld's crude challenge from behind on Keane, although Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers took a different view.

Dunne headed a 68th-minute Duff free-kick straight at Pletikosa.

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic curled a 77th-minute shot inches wide and Keith Andrews powered a header agonisingly past the post in stoppage time.

This is the Republic's first major tournament for a decade and their first Euro finals since 1988.

© UTV News
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46 Comments
Jeff in Belfast wrote (679 days ago):
You seem to need your hearing seen too. You have the evidence it is there in front of you but you blatantly can not hear them chanting IRA and F**K the Queen then. I will do your work for you again and give you the exact time it is chanted and you can come back and tell me if you heard it, If not I would suggest you get your biased hearing seen too as it is clearly audible and again if it is so HUGE as you stated in your earlier post then here is the contact details for UEFA and please keep us informed as you seemed very concerned in earlier posts about sectarian accusations without ZERO substantial evidence. And if you "forget" where the youtube video is here is what you search for Irish Fans ' Going Mental ' in Krakow, Poland 7-06-2012 (Part1) The times of sectarian chanting 04:33 04:37 05:05 05:33 UEFA contact details Route de Genève 46 Tel: +41 (0) 848 00 2727 Case postale Fax: +41 (0) 848 01 2727 CH-1260 Nyon 2 Web: UEFA.com Switzerland Media desk: Tel: +41 (0) 848 04 2727
Eamon in Island of Ireland wrote (679 days ago):
Its football ladys and gentlemen so I do not know why yous are bringing politics into the sport. Boo hoo cry me a river. On the other side, (not Sectarian) at least we got to the finals unlike the northern ireland football team. From a supporters point of view, yous have nothing better else to be doing in your lives only exciting hatred. Go on IRELAND "Allo
Alan Anderson in Belfast wrote (680 days ago):
Ah sure that was only a friendly, and against the Dutch, they were blinded by the briliance of the Oranje. Sure they beat england a ball of years ago, that was impressive and Spain. Not Brazil, no just a bit worse than mediocre. A fully represntative Ireland team means a better Ireland team.
PASCHAL MCCLOSKEY in BELFAST wrote (680 days ago):
Ian in Tyrone wrote (2 days ago): The Republic of Ireland team visited an orphanage in Poland today. "It's heartbreaking to see their sad little faces with no hope" said Igor, aged 6. :-) A little bit less heartbroken than some teams we could mention- does 6-0 ring any bells?
Mark in Belfast wrote (680 days ago):
After watching the suggested footage on youtube its not the singing of the Fields of Athenry that causes offence its the continious chants of the IRA and F the Queen. If that isnt secterian then i dont know what is, since the IRA are responsible for the murders of over a thousand protestants during the troubles. Everything the IRA has stood for has been evil , hate against anything protestant/british, basically they are no different from the nazis and we all know what they done in Poland. Good luck to the ROI and i hope their supporters enjoy theirselves without mindless secterain chanting.
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