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Republic of Ireland Soccer Team Fail In Poznan

Ireland’s opening game tonight at the EURO 2012 finals against Croatia, held in Poznan, has ended in what can only be described as a messy defeat, with Giovanni Trapattoni’s 14-game unbeaten run ending tonight in a 3-1 defeat.

Croatia moved into the lead just after three minutes with Mario Mandzukic’s header. Giovanni Trapattoni’s side were slow in regaining any real composure, but Aiden McGeady’s free-kick delivered to the back right post was header into the net by Sean St Ledger, who successfully out-muscled Vedran Corluka in the process.

Ireland now seemed to get a short lived stride in their step and enjoyed a reasonable share of possession, but allowed Luka Modric to totally dominate their midfield. This allowed Modric to set up Croatia’s second goal just before half time by slipping past Robbie Keane.  His shot, which pin-balled around  edge of the box, ended up finding Nikica Jelavic, thanks to Stephen Ward’s sliced clearance. Jelavic flipped the ball over the head of goal keeper Shay Given, in what can only be described as a well targeted clinical style finish.

After the break & two minutes into the second half, Mario Mandzukic headed his second goal past a very unlucky Given, with the ball rebounding off the keeper’s head to cross the goal line.

To be fair the Irish team did fight back, but passing was poor & the team had all of the appearance of having had little time playing as a team.

With Croatia now firmly in the driving seat and smelling victory within their grasp, the introduction of Irish substitutes, Walters for McGeady & Cox for Doyle, both after 52 minutes & Tipperary’s Shane Long for Robbie Keane, in the 74 minute, did little to revitalise a sloppy Trapattoni’s side, which found themselves struggling even to make it out of their own half.

Refereeing by Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipersalso was also poor, with Robbie Keane being denied what was obviously a penalty in the second half, when central defender Gordon Schildenfeld’s crudely challenged him from behind.

Slaven Bilic’s men are now top of Group C, following the 1-1 draw between Spain and Italy earlier in the day.
Ireland now approaches Thursday’s game against Spain, needing a result which will reignite their hope of qualifying into the knock-out stages.

Final Result: Republic of Ireland  1,   Croatia 3.

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