Sunday, 10 June 2012

Euro 2012 LIVE Coverage : Italy vs Spain and Ireland vs Croatia

Another day, another game. Hello and welcome to my live coverage of two crunch matches in Group C. In the first game holders Spain play Italy and straight after the Irish play a strong Croatia team. After two days of enthralling football action we should hope that today lives up to expectations.

Team news from today's first game is in:

Spain: Casillas; Arbeloa, Piqué, Ramos, J. Alba, Busquets, Xavi, X. Alonso; Silva, Iniesta, Fabregas

Man to Watch : Jordi Alba 

Jordi Alba is one of Spain's hottest properties at the moment and I think this game you'll see why he is wanted all over Europe.  he is just like Dani Alves of Barcelona, he has lightning pace and is a solid defender.

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

Man to Watch : Mario Balotelli

Why always Mario? Well this time is because he could be the difference for Italy. He has bundles of quality, composure in front of goal and is not scared to take a chance. He will be very interesting to watch, whether it be bad or good.

Interesting from the two teams, it seems Spain are playing without a striker whilst Italy are playing with a sweeper, which I have not seen in a long time. This game looks set to be a close quarter battle and you don't know who could win.

Teams are out let's hope for a cracker.

1 min : Spain get us under way! Let's go!

3 min : Spain free kick in a promising place but nothing comes.

5 min : Italians are doing well to prevent the tika taka football from Spainards but a free kick that could have threatened doesn't.

6 min : Arbeloa concedes a corner which is taken short, but quickly quelled.

8 min : De Rossi does well to first stop Silva then Fabregas but concedes a corner, comes to nothing.

9 min : Silva blasts over from 20 yards, first threatening move from the Spanish.

10 min : Balotelli does well to earn a corner for Italy after good work from Cassano, but Pirlo's pretty poor corner goes to waste.

11 min : Balotelli heads straight to Fabregas who starts a break with Iniesta and Silva but after a great advantage played by the referee, Silva can only shoot into Buffon's arms.

12 min : Cassano jumps into Ramos and gets a free kick in a promising place.........OH! Balotelli dummies it before Pirlo's low drive is just parried away by Casillas.

14 min : Spain with so much posession but De Rossi is doing admiriably well keeping out pretty much everything.

17 min : Arbeloa plants his studs into Motta's shoulder and he's down in pain.

19 min : Italy doing well in posession, fast fluid movement and passing.

22 min : Marchsio plays in Cassano brilliantly and Cassano plays a lovely cross come shot but Balotelli can't get the all important touch.

24 min : Spain this time go close but again thwarted by the mighty De Rossi.

27 min : Teams are so wasteful from free kicks and corners this tournament, not one goal scored from them as of yet.

29 min : Excellent from Iniesta who jaggedly runs into the box before crossing, Chiellini has to deal with it.

31 min : Disgraceful. Xavi dives over the leg of Chiellini but the ref is having none of it. Score is still 0-0.

33 min : Cassano drives at Casillas who parries badly but Balotelli bundles over Pique and concedes a free kick.

35 min : Marchisio thunders a volley at Casillas who catches sublimely in the circumstances.

36 min : Balotelli gets the first yellow of the game for a tackle on Alba.

39 min : Game looks like it's heading for a 0-0 at the break, Italy doing well to not only prevent the Spaniards from scoring, but also to threaten Casillas' goal much more often than the Spanish have threatened theirs.

42 min : Ramos nearly reaches a sublime ball from Fabregas but can't apply a touch.

44 min : Spain's best chance goes to Iniesta after a ball from Xavi saw him one on one with Buffon but his lob beats the goal as well as the keeper.

45 min : AMAZING! Cassano is loose down the right a plays in a delightful ball to Motta who's header is expertly saved by Casillas. 

45+1 min : Half time, Spain 0 - 0 Italy. Italy by far the better team, better defensively and have had the best of the chances but the second half will certainly be a cracker. Don't go away.

And we're back, this game will hopefully get a goal

47 min : Sleep worthy stuff here this game NEEDS to come to life soon.

49 min : Fabregas, played in by Iniesta and pulls off a shot which Buffon had to save.

51 min : Iniesta this time causing problems with Buffon just getting finger tips to his shot.

53 min : Balotelli clean through on the Spain goal after forcing a mistake from Ramos but he takes far too much time and Ramos nicks the ball back off him, Shocking there from Balotelli.

56 min : And after that HUGE mistake Balotelli is replaced by the prolific goal scorer Antonio Di Natale, no doubt he won't miss from a chance like that.

59 min : This tika taka is hugely boring but it does produce some moments of magic, see that for example with the Spanish moving the ball all the way up the pitch.

GOALLLLLL!!!!! DI NATALE!!! ITALIA!!!! Di Natale played in beautifully by Andrea Pirlo and buries his shot past Casillas. 1-0 Italy!

goal on the hour mark if you're interested.

GOALLLL!!!! FABREGAS!!! ESPANA!!!! Silva threads a beautiful ball into his path and he smashes in his shot. 1-1, 63 minutes gone, game on.

Much louder now and a much more even challenge, incredible 5 minutes of football. 

69 min : Substitute Jesus Navas earns Spain a corner, the fans behind the goal making lots of noise.

70 min : Sergio Ramos attempts an over head kick from the corner but skies his effort, he fouled someone in the process as well.

72 min : Fernando Torres, not Llorente getting changed, and will come on soon. But not before Jordi Alba's volley goes wide.

74 min : Torres replaces goal scorer Cesc Fabregas.

75 min : Fernando Torres gets played through excellently by Navas and he bursts at Buffon before attempting to round him But Buffon's having none of it, tackles him and hoofs it clear.

77 min : Di Natale with an amazing chance after an excellent ball over but his volley goes wide, all of Spain held it's breath there.

79 min : Iniesta forces a foul from Chiellini and has a free kick in an excellent area, Xavi to take it........ straight into the wall.

82 min : Torres again indecisive and is taken off the ball. 

84 min : Torres and Arbeloa booked in quick sucession for off ball antics.

85 min : WOAH! Close there from Torres, he is played through again by Alonso but his chip goes just over.

87 min : Marchisio runs half this pitch before exchanging passes with Motta before squeezing in a shot, easy for Casillas.

89 min : And Motta to come off for Nocherino as Maggio becomes the seventh man in the book.

90 min : 3 minutes of time to be added on.

90+2 min : And that will be the game's last chance as Alonso hits wide from Xavi's lay off.

90+3 min : Arbeloa overhits a cross and that wil be that as the referee blows his whistle.

Brilliant display from Italy, who not only held their own, but also out played Spain on many occasions throughout the game, not an incredibly exhilarating game but certainly food for thought. Are Spain still favorites? Are Italy now contenders? How will Croatia and Ireland compete?

My Man of the Match : Danille De Rossi

This man really impressed me. Playing in a foreign position to him, he out perfromed his centre back counterparts on many occasions, especially dealing with Iniesta and Silva. It was close between him and Pirlo for this but he really caught my eye.

My Villain of the Match : Mario Balotelli

Despite not having that bad a game, Balotelli gets this award because of THAT miss, he could have passed and Italy would have scored, he could have shot and Italy would have scored but he dawdled on the ball and was punished, he could have won the game for Italy and he knows it.

Stay tuned for Ireland vs Croatia coming soon.

Ireland vs Croatia

Team News is in : 

Ireland : Given, O'Shea, St. Ledger, Dunne, Ward, McGeady, Whelan, Andrews, Duff, Doyle, Keane.

Man to Watch - Robbie Keane

Ireland's best goalscorer. Despite him winding down his career now in Los Angeles, Keane proved his quality to Prem fans for Aston Villa with a string of excellent perfromances. He has been a constant in Ireland's team for years and will want to have a last hurrah at an international tournament.

Croatia : Pletikosa, Strinić, Ćorluka, Schildenfeld, Rakitić, Vukojević, Modrić, Srna, Perišić, Jelavić, Mandžukić

Man to watch : Luka Modric

Croatia and Tottenham's best player. It's simple, if he plays well, so will Croatia.

Teams are walking out, time for football!

Have to say the noise from the fans is incredible! Both Croatia and Ireland singing their hearts out.

1 min : And we're off with Croatia.

2 min : Mc Geady already causing problems but Andrews heads the cross wide.

3 min : Andrews clears for a corner............GOALLL!!!!!! MANDZUKIC!!!! CROATIA!!!! Have to say really poor keeping by Given but Croatia lead. Ireland will be mighty pissed off by that. 1-0 Croatia.

4 min : Quickest goal of the tournament that as Jelavic is brought down by Dunne.

6 min : Croatia doing well to close down every Irish player, as Duff skews a shot wide of the mark.

8 min : Kevin Doyle wins a throw for the Irish in a good area, Croatia show some quality however by dealing with it easily.

10 min : Corluka concedes a stupid free kick and Doyle makes the most of it but Ireland have a free kick 19 yards out.

11 min : Andrews blasts a low free kick into the wall and his follow up goes way wide.

13 min : Given and Jelavic have a race but Given get's to the ball first and stops the Croats.

16 min : Jelavic wins a free kick off Richard Dunne 35 yards out. John O'Shea provides a very necessary nick on the ball to prevent the Croatian player reaching it.

GOALLLL!!! ST LEDGER!!! IRELAND!!! Poor defending by Corluka who lets St Ledger ahead of him who glances in a header! 1-1 GAME ON!!!

20 min: Corner to Croatia, bounces out to Jakatic who blasts a shot wide to the left of Shay Given's goal.

24 min : Corluka executes an excellent tackle and the referee brings it back, atrocious decision.

25 min : Modric has an excellent chance to run through Ireland and lays of to Mandzukic who fails to shoot. 

29 min : So far Croatia are by far the classier outfit but Ireland have a deep fighting spirit, should be interesting as the game goes on.

32 min : Modric pulling lots of strings now and his passing and shooting are troubling Ireland. 

35 min : More excellent link up play as Jelavic loops a ball for Mandzukic but his volley is hit well and goes just past the post.

38 min : Srna's corner causes no problems for Ireland's defence as does Jelavic's header, going slighty wide.

40 min : Croatia constantly pressing and threatening a deep sitting Ireland.

GOALLLL!! JELAVIC!!!!! CROATIA!!! After pinball in the area and Irish leg plays in Jelavic and he chips in over Given, easy as you like. 43 minutes in, 2-1 Croatia.

Flare in the Croatian crowd now and everyone is jumping, they are buzzing!

45 min : Keith Andrews the first man in the book after a cynical sweep of Mandzukic's legs, 2 minutes of added time.

45 +2 min : Time up just after Rakatic heads over from a delicious cross.

Half Time.

Ireland 1 - 2 Croatia

Two comedy goals from Croatia see them ahead at the break after Ireland did well to get back into it. Coverage will be back after the break.

And we're back! Get ready for the second half guys.

45 min : Game has started again.

46 min : Perisic is down injured after a knee in the back from Glen Whelan, he felt that.

GOALLL!!!!! MANDZUKIC!!!! CROATIA!!!! Bullet header by the Croat rebounds off the post onto Shay Given's head and in. Unlucky for him but the Croats won't care.

49 min : Excellent volley from Srna blocked by the man mountain Richard Dunne. 

51 min : Ireland fans aren't as loud anymore and the team are playing flat. Trappatoni to make a double substitution soon.

57 min : End to end stuff now as Walters and Cox are on for Ireland in place of McGeady and Doyle.

59 min : Ireland on the ascendance now, they need to be.

60 min : Croatia breaking through the excellent Mandzukic but it breaks down from the right.

62 min : Mandzukic is down but the Irish play on and have a HUGE penalty appeal turned down by the referee, Croatia fans booed throughout the move.

64 min : Srna wins a corner but it is woeful and St Ledger can clear.

65 min : Ireland fans singing loud now but the players aren't rewarding their efforts.

66 min : Modric showing why he is worth what Chelsea were willing to pay for him, skinning a player before sending a fantastic ball up the pitch.

67 min : Damien Duff diving all over the show, gone off him since he left Chelsea.

71 min : Jelavic replaced by Tottenham player (soon to be ex Tottenham) Niko Kranjcar. 

75 min : Croatia just looking to wind the game down now, they have the game pretty much in the bag.

77 min : Rakatic goes close with a curler that curls just to far past the left post.

78 min : Corluka fouled by Cox, big appeal from the Irish who are singing again. 

80 min : Duff puts in another ball and Andrews' header is on target but straight to the Croatian keeper.

81 min : Shane long get's the ball into the path of Andrews, who blasts wide of the mark.

82 min : Irish again in ascendance as Cox wastes a good chance.

83 min : Srna has a free kick block which ends up a Croatian throw. 

84 min : Kranjcar brings down Walters when an  Irish break was on, he had to do it really.

86 min : Cox flies in a delightful ball which is punched by the keeper, who takes and elbow of Long.

88 min : The keeper is up again and Eduardo is ready to replace Perisic, and the change has taken place.

90 min : DUff delivers from a corner...OO!!! Andrews' header just doesn't squeeze in the post.

90+1 min : Dujmovic replaces the impressive Rakatic. 

90+3 min : Ireland's last real chance is missed by Cox and is cleared by Croatia.

90+5 min : Andrews blasts his shot wide (the 4th odd time) and the ref blows for full time. Ireland fans still in full voice but it doesn't hide the result Ireland 1 - 3 Croatia.

Thank you once again for joining me, I can't cover the England v France game or the Ukraine v Sweden game but a review will come with the next live coverage.

Dan Broeders


  1. Nice to see one of my favourite Croatian players Nikica Jelavic scoring earlier.
    I am sure you would be happy as well considering he is a Toffee. :)

    Spain should have won earlier, if they did not play 4-6-0. That was disappointing...
    Fernando Llorente was needed and Mata should have been played instead of Navas.

    Did you hear about Messi's hat-trick against Brazil last night?!

    Loving the coverage as always Dan! Keep it up!

  2. Indeed I am, Croatia by far the classier outlet so far and deserve the lead. And yes they should have but Italy held them off admirably.

    And I know yes, what an incredible player, that should silence all his critics.

    Thank you Mo, I have really enjoyed reading yours as well, who are your winners for the tournament?


    1. Croatia may scrape into the quarter-finals if they are lucky..

      FACT: Lionel Messi has now scored 81 goals in all competitions this season.

      Germany or Spain are my winners for the tournament. What about you?
      Germans are very strong in defence and in attack while Spain will be desperate to retain their title.
      France are the underdogs but to be honest, I cannot see Portugal or England winning it.

      I am interested in us doing guest blogs for each other.... What do you think?

    2. I hope Croatia get there, they are one of the team I am backing, the others are Denmark and Poland.

      I feel the winners will be Germany. They've matured much since the World Cup and Spain looked slow and groggy in the game vs Italy, as an outside bet, I think England DO have a small possibility of going all the way, you never know.

    3. I do not know why, but I can see an early exit for Italy and Croatia going through.

      I am backing Poland and Russia to go through to the Last 8, but I am not so sure about Denmark...

      If they beat Portugal, they have every chance, but do not rule out Holland just yet.
      Everyone thought Spain were NOT going to win the WC in 2012 after they lost their first match, look what happened.

      I will review England's chances of going all the way after tomorrow's crunch match against France..

      Tell me what you think about the guest blog feature later...

  3. I love reading these. Good stuff Dan.

    Now get revising!