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TENACIOUS CROATIA DRAWS WITH ITALY

By Emmanuel Penzie
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Croatia fought gallantly to pull a 1-1 all draw against former European champions and four times world champions Italy, in their second group C match. The Group C leaders Croatia refused to be demoted with their brilliant and tenacious display that marvelled their fans.

The Italians started the first half confidently with beautiful passes and dominated large portion of the first half. Italy's delightful and dominant play was rewarded on the 39th minute, when Andrea Pirlo curled home a beautiful free kick over the Croatian defence.

Andrea Pirlo's goal sent the Italian fans into uncontrollable jubilation for a couple of minutes. The skilful midfielder who had a good game for his side plays for Juventus in Italy.

Croatia came into the second half well prepared and determined. They defended and attacked as a unit like wounded lions. They finally got the ultimate price on the 72nd minute when Mario Mandzukic fantastically controlled a cross from Ivan Strinic in the heart of the Italian box and fired home the equaliser.

Mandzukic's goal for Croatia, makes it three for him in this competition with both Mario Gomez and Alan Dzagoev on the goal tally. These three players are the current highest goal scorers of the tournament with Alan Dzagoev as the youngest among them.

Group C, made up of Italy, Spain, Ireland and Croatia, is another group of death apart from group B which comprises of Holland, Portugal, Denmark and Germany with Ireland being the whipping boys of group C.