The Italian defence started to come forward and all the back three were seen in the Croatian half. But there was a grave mistake that Prandelli committee. Though he allowed the defenders to come forward, he didn’t put any midfielder a bit up the field. The Croats looked happy with the draw as they had won their first match. Pirlo and company attempted some final moves just before the final whistle but those weren’t good enough to get them three points from this match.
This draw throws the group wide open. Croatia leads it with four points and Italy is second with two. Every team has a chance now to move to the next round. Needless to say, Italy must win their last group match against Ireland on the morning of June 19. And they must look to win that with a more than decent goal difference. At the same time, Spain would play another crucial match against Croatia.
Group Stage: Match 2
Italy drew Croatia 1-1
Goal scorers: Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Mario Mandzukic (Croatia)
Italy went into their second group stage match at Poznan with the same starting line-up it used in the group opener against Spain. Coach Cesare Prandelli once again adopted the 3-5-2 formation which they used in the previous match.
Italy started the game well and had the upper hand in the first half. They took the lead through a fantastic Pirlo free kick to which the Croatian team had no answer. Mario Balotelli was wasting opportunities as usual on one side while the defence and midfield were working hard to reach the ball out to him and Antonio Cassano. Claudio Marchisio had a few back to back opportunities which he couldn’t capitalise on. After they took the lead, the Italian players looked relaxed and complacent which paved way for their downfall. The scattered defence left Mandzukic with a direct option to fire into the Italian post though centre back Giorgio Chiellini was trying hard to reach for the ball. Italians looked stunned at the equaliser.