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FT Italy 1 – 1 Croatia

FT Italy 1 – 1 Croatia

Italy won a softish free-kick on the edge of the area at 41′, a fair way to the left of centre, after Balotelli was challenged by Rakitic. Pirlo has always been a master at getting it up and down from 18.00001 yards, and he did it again with a beautiful free-kick that went over the wall and right in the corner at the near post. Pletikosa got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out. That was an effortlessly suave free-kick from one of the most elegant footballers in the world.

At 72′, Mandzukic scored a goal for Croatia. This is a really poor goal to concede as well. Strinic, aided by Vukojevic’s overlapping run, swerves a long cross towards the far post, where Chiellini hopelessly mistimes his jump. It goes straight over his head, allowing Mandzukic to pull it down deftly, six yards from goal, before ramming it above the sprawling Buffon and in off the post. That was a cool finish because most forwards would have hit that first time

That was a fair result in an enjoyable game. Croatia fought back excellently in the second half, aided by Italy’s excessive caution, and a draw keeps both teams alive going into the final match. Croatia have four points to Italy’s two, but I still think Italy are in a slightly better position.

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