Euro 2012: Day three as it happened

Live text commentary as Republic of Ireland are beaten 3-1 by Croatia, while defending champions Spain are held to a 1-1 draw by Italy.

10 June 2012 Last updated at 23:19

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As it happened

  1. 2230: 

    Right, that is it. We're done for the night. Tomorrow we kick things off in Sportsday Live from 08:00 BST, with the live proper building from there. First up is England v France, followed by Ukraine v Sweden. Tom Rostance is the man in the commentary seat. I'll see thee.

  2. 2230: 

    One last thing before I wrap this baby up. Uefa have given Croatia's third goal to striker Mario Mandzukic, despite it finding the net off Shay Given's head. Earlier I suggested it was a Given og, but it's not. It is officially a second for Mandzukic.

  3. 2227: 

    What of France, though? Are England in for a hiding? Possibly not if coach Laurent Blanc is to be believed. Blanc believes France are no longer a major footballing power, saying, "The team don't have the same ambitions as Spain or Germany at the start of the Euros. People say we're favourites in the group, but I don't agree with that. We were in the fourth pot in the draw."

    Mind games? Or should England be a raging ball of belief right now? It is probably safest not to make any predictions and just see what we get. That expectation thing has destroyed many a good England fan in the past.

  4.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Nicholas Ryan on Twitter: "Embarrassing performance. No invention. No unpredictability. Just long balls up to 5 foot 10 strikers. Sad for us."

    Abdulahi on Twitter: "Ireland needed McClean to run at the Croatian right-back. I could honestly see him as the game changer."

    Stuart Handscombe on Twitter: "Great result for the impressive Croatians. Ireland hugely unlucky with the Given own goal and referee missing a blatant penalty."

  5. 2222: 

    If you're still hungry for more analysis of tomorrow's England game (this time of a more tactical nature) why not also check out Lee Dixon's view on the game, courtesy of a lovely bit of video. Lee is even sat in front of a lot of expensive technical equipment, which no-one here knows how to use.

  6. 2219: 

    If you've spent the last few days in England, temperatures of 34C might seem like the notion of utter madman, but that is exactly what it is expected to reach in Donetsk for tomorrow's game. Not that Roy Hodgson is worried. "It will be the same for both teams and it's very important that we don't put too much emphasis on it," Hodgson said. "It does get hot in England from time to time and the heat is a factor for all the teams that will play here in the Ukraine. In the earlier game it plays a slightly bigger role." Call themselves Englishmen? They should be complaining that it is too cold and then as soon as it gets over 20C moaning that it's too hot. That's the English way.

  7. 2216:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "I'd bring James McClean in for the Spain game, I really would. He's Ireland's form player. He was Sunderland's outstanding player during the Premier League run-in. He'd give the Irish fans a real lift and he'd get the team higher up the pitch in terms of his possession of the football and the way he can travel with the ball. I think he'd cause a lot of problems for the Spanish if he was to play."

  8. 2216: 

    As you would expect, England skipper Steven Gerrard is raring to get stuck into the tournament. Former Liverpool and England player John Barnes told BBC Sport, "Steven has never been more important to England and, while no-one is saying they are the best team in the world, they will be organised, hard to beat and they will surprise a few."

    Are you starting to believe yet?

  9. 2213:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "I feel Trapattoni should make changes for the Spain game on Thursday, just to try and freshen things up. Something has to be done differently now to try and reclaim the initiative in this group.

    "Going into the Spanish game there probably will be changes but you have to realise that the Spanish team are so dangerous. If Ireland are too attacking then Spain could open them up on numerous occasions."

  10. 2209: 

    Enough of that borderline pessimism, though. One man who is backing his country to smash it is former international full-back Graeme Le Saux. "Expectations are low this time but I actually think we could turn out to be the tournament's surprise package," he told us.

  11. 2207: 

    You can read our preview of the England v France clash on the website, which suggests England are expected to pair Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck in attack against France on Monday, with James Milner and Stewart Downing on the wing. I'm going to offer just a wary "hmm" at that news.

  12. 2205: 

    Of course, the winners and runners-up of Group C are heading for knock-out round clashes with the winners and runners-up of Group D, which just happens to contain England. This brings us neatly to looking forward to tomorrow, when Roy Hodgson's men make their bow in the tournament against France in Donetsk.

  13. 2202: 

    Italy already held the record for number of draws at the European Championships with 12. They have now extended that to 13. In addition, Italy goalscorer Antonio Di Natale is now the fourth oldest scorer in the history of the championships behind Austria's Ivica Vastic (38 years and 257 days), Jan Koller of the Czech Republic (35 years and 77 days) and Italian compatriot Christian Panucci (35 years and 62 days). Those stats courtesy of infostradalive.

  14. 2156: 

    In case you missed it earlier, Italy produced a surprisingly spritely performance to draw 1-1 with World and European champions and tournament favourites Spain. The result ends Spain's streak of 14 successive competitive wins, a joint record with France (2002-04) and the Netherlands (2008-10).

  15. 2154: 

    Things could get worse for the Republic yet. Towards the end of the game, Shay Given was not taking goal kicks and there are suggestions he may have picked up an injury. It doesn't just rain in Poznan for the Irish...

  16.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Trevor Durham on Twitter: "Desperately poor from ‪Ireland‬. Croatia‬ win at at a canter. Looks like ‪Euro 2012‬ will end with nil points for the Irish."

    Adam Momoniat on Twitter: "The very top clubs must be impressed with Perisic and Rakitic today. A couple more good games and big transfers could be coming."

    Bobby McCarthy on Twitter: "Shame for ‪Ireland‬. Mix of bad luck and a poor showing. I tell them not to panic, so what do they go and do?"

  17. 2150: 

    Only one game gone but Croatia top Group C courtesy of that win, Ireland bring up the rear and Italy and Spain have a point each. Next up, Ireland face Spain and Italy take on Croatia. From what we've seen today, I'd suggest Spain and Italy remain favourites to reach the next stage. In my mind, prior to today it was going to be a close contest between Italy and Croatia to join Spain in the knock-outs, but the Italians were very impressive against top-notch opposition, while Croatia were good against a limited Republic team.

  18. 2148: 

    Republic of Ireland defender Sean St Ledger: "We conceded sloppy goals. Unlike us. We are usually pretty tight.

    "We knew in the second half we had to come out. The next goal was going to be important and they got it. When you are 3-1 down against a side like Croatia it is always going to be tough. They were poor goals to concede."

  19. 2143:  
    BBC Sport pundit Mark Bright at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan:

    "Republic or Ireland's confidence will have been hurt after conceding three goals. Endeavour and team spirit can only take you so far and the class of Croatia has come through today. It has been a frustrating match for Giovanni Trapattoni's men."

  20. 2143:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "There was real Irish optimism before this game today. Every Irish fan wanted to team to get off to a good start, and they felt confident they could do so. It wasn't to be. The Croatia side turned up tonight and played very well at times. They made it difficult for the Irish to get a foothold in the game."

  21. 2143: 

    They had their moments (well, one mainly), but quite simply Ireland were not good enough. Croatia hit them at bad times with their goals and were the more assured side throughout. The Republic will need to bounce back quickly if they are to have any chance of making the next round. Who do they have next? Spain? Oh. Then who? Italy? Oh. Oh dear.

  22. 2140: 
    FULL-TIME- Rep of Ireland 1-3 Croatia
  23. 2140: 

    There is a rogue whistler in the crowd, who has just blown for full-time. He has another go. He is at least 20 seconds too soon, though. Keith Andrews has a pop but it is wide of goal. The referee is about to blow an official whistle...

  24.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Rohan in West Sussex on text: "Really fancied Ireland as the dark horses of the Euros. I feel greatly let down."

    James from Liverpool on text: "Not a good enough Plan B from the Irish."

    Sam in Milton Keynes on text: "When people talk about the 'Irish spirit' it's only because there's nothing else to compliment. Very average side and disappointing performance."

  25. 2138: 

    One minute of injury time to go.

  26. 2138: 

    We've got ourselves a good old-fashioned scramble in the box. Simon Cox is in the thick of it, but he can't get it under control and Croatia hack clear.

  27. 2136: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Croatia - Tomislav Dujmovic on for Ivan Rakitic
  28. 2136:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "We live in hope. Manchester City did it in the last five minutes of the Premier League season..."

  29. 2136: 

    We're going to have five minutes of injury time. A Republic goal now would make it interesting. They have a corner as well. They are so, so close to getting a goal as well as Keith Andrews directs a header just wide of the far post. He was unmarked, he should have done better.

  30. 2134: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Croatia - Eduardo on for Ivan Perisic
  31. 2134: 

    Even the most optimistic of Irish fan will be accepting that this game is gone now. A minute remains.

  32.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Bankolo Oje on Twitter: "'Grinding out', 'Plugging away', 'Clawing back'. When will British fans finally understand football is not a steel factory?"

    Vincent O'Rourke on Twitter: "It's a shame for Ireland that they have no real Jelavic-esque striker. They just need some one who will put chance away."

    Steve Law on Twitter: "Croatia look very handy. I look forward to them playing Spain and Italy. Ireland on the other hand are very average."

  33. 2132: 

    Mario Mandzukic is hobbling off after a challenge with Sean St Ledger. A substitute is being prepared. Meanwhile, on the pitch, Stipe Pletikosa does superbly to punch a Simon Cox cross clear before Keith Andrews heads over. The Croatia keeper took an elbow in the face from Shane Long during the first move but shakes it off to continue.

  34. 2128: 
    YELLOW CARD- Croatia - Niko Krancjar

    Krancjar takes one for the team with a foul on Jonathan Walters to halt a breakaway attack.

  35. 2128:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "Ireland had to win this game to give themselves a chance of qualifying from the group. If Croatia win this then they surely put themselves into the driving seat to make it through to the next phase."

  36. 2126: 

    Damien Duff has been the only real source of supply for the Republic this half. He floats crosses from the right and it is met by Keith Andrews but the ball is close to Stipe Pletikosa who dives down to save. A minute later, Andrews strikes a shot first time after the ball had broken to him on the edge of the box but it curls wide of the far post. With 10 minutes to go, it looks like the game is lost for the Republic.

  37.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Metasox on text: "Ireland look to play a passing game but have looked more dangerous when going direct so they should be trying to find their wingers as early as possible and pepper Croatia's box with crosses."

    Scott on text: "The atmosphere created by both sets of fans is incredible. No wonder people love this sport so much."

  38. 2123: 

    So close to a Croatian fourth, which would surely have ended this game for good. Darijo Srna has the ball wide right and cuts back for Ivan Rakitic on the edge of the box. The number seven tries to craftily flight the ball into the far corner of the net but it just drifts wide. It would have been a belting way to put the game to bed. As it is, the Republic remain alive in the game. Just.

  39. 2120:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "All week we've been speaking about this Ireland team. We've praised the mean Irish defence who have not conceded too many goals and who as a unit look very, very strong and very, very compact. To concede three goals in this game, the first of the tournament, is really not very good."

  40. 2119:  
    BBC Sport pundit Mark Bright at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan:

    "One pass, two pass and Republic just give the ball away. Most of it has been long ball. They need that player with a little magic, can Damien Duff get in behind the backline? It is all too easy for Croatia at the moment."

  41.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Tom Crossland on Twitter: "The Croatian right back and captain Srna has been outstanding."

    David Morris on Twitter: "Ireland looking very much like a lower league team who have got into the latter stages of the FA Cup."

    Jennifer White on Twitter: "McClean is already trending on Twitter. Someone tell Trapattoni..."

  42. 2119: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Rep of Ireland - Shane Long on for Robbie Keane
  43. 2119: 

    The Republic won't give up the fight but they are lacking quality around the box. Another move breaks down despite decent possession 20 yards from goal. They need to do something different.

  44. 2116: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Croatia - Niko Krancjar on for Nikica Jelavic

    How about this for a stat. 41 of Nikica Jelavic's last 44 goals have been one touch, including a run of 27.

  45. 2115: 

    20 minutes to go. Ireland need two goals to get anything out of the game.

  46. 2115: 

    Damien Duff does really well to reach a ball wide right but his cross is too high for Robbie Keane and Stripe Pletikosa leaps to claim.

  47.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Ed Gutteridge on text: "Time for McClean to come on I think. With McGeady subbed off there's no invention at the moment..."

  48. 2113: 

    Damien Duff is fouled by Ivan Perisic and Ireland have another potentially dangerous free-kick, wide on the right. Duff lifts it in and Richard Dunne meets it but his header lacks sufficient power and Stipe Pletikosa can save easily.

  49.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Jack Willows on Twitter: "Stonewall penalty not given. This is going from bad to worse."

    Shyamil Tanna on Twitter: "Blatant penalty. Poor decision. Republic of Ireland robbed."

    Kier Wiater Carnihan on Twitter: "Referee bottled that penalty decision. Didn't want to give it while Croatia had a man down, with all the fans whistling."

  50. 2111: 

    Little signs of it getting a bit tetchy. Simon Cox fouls Mario Mandzukic and then has a little dig at the Croatia forward on the ground. Irish frustration clear to see.

  51. 2110: 

    Croatia look comfortable at the moment. The Republic are resorting to long balls forward for Jonathan Walters and Simon Cox to deal with and it is not paying dividends.

  52. 2108:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "It's a clear penalty for me. He's come through the back of Robbie Keane. He's not won the ball and he's taken Keane legs, and that would have been Ireland's chance to claw one back."

  53. 2108: 

    Is that a penalty for the Republic? Robbie Keane tumbles in the box under a challenge from behind by Gordon Schildenfeld. Replays show the Croatian caught the man and got nothing of the ball. That, my friends, should have been a spot-kick. Croatia have gripes of their own as Ireland were allowed to play on with that attack with Mario Mandzukic on the ground with a potential head injury.

  54. 2107: 

    Ireland do deliver a cross this time but John O'Shea's effort is to nobody and Croatia keeper Stipe Pletikosa claims with ease. The Republic look a bit lost for ideas.

  55.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Alex, a Wolves fan, on text: "Bought as a striker at converted to a left back, Stephen Ward has never looked at home back there. Hoping for a miracle comeback now with a Ward winner to redeem himself!"

  56. 2105: 

    Ireland keep plugging away but despite getting into useful areas they are unable to deliver a telling ball. Robbie Keane and Simon Cox guilty of wasting possession.

  57. 2102:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "From set plays Ireland have looked dangerous. The Croatian keeper can't seem to deal with balls pumped into the box. The thing the Irish team need to do is to remain patient and ensure that they don't force the issue too soon. Let's hope the Irish can get back in it."

  58. 2102: 

    Damien Duff is felled on the right touchline by Ivan Strinic. Chance to deliver for the Republic. Duff does so but Richard Dunne is penalised for a foul on Gordon Schildenfeld at the back post. Or maybe it was handball? Either way, it is a free-kick to Croatia.

  59. 2059: 

    Simon Cox with a shot for the Republic just after coming on but it is well over from distance.

  60. 2059:  
    BBC Sport pundit Mark Bright at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan:

    "Croatia made an excellent start to the second half. Shay Given gets as far to his left as he can and is unlucky. It was a lovely cross and another free header for Mario Mandzukic. That is what you cannot allow. The half-time team-talk from Giovanni Trapattoni will go straight out of the window now."

  61.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Will Cooper on Twitter: "Blimey. Ireland all over the place at the back."

    David Tomkins on Twitter: "Shay Given is not enjoying ‪Euro 2012‬ so far. Poor by a usually great keeper."

    David Flood on Twitter: "I think that goal just about sums up Ireland's performance..."

  62. 2057: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Rep of Ireland - Simon Cox and Jonathan Walters on for Aiden McGeady and Kevin Doyle
  63. 2057: 
    YELLOW CARD- Croatia - Luka Modric

    Modric's late lunge on Glenn Whelan earns the Croatia midfielder a booking.

  64. 2055:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "Great interplay by Croatia. They kept the ball well and again it was Modric who created that. The effort hit the post and Shay Given was very unlucky. It's an own-goal probably, and had the ball bounced away it would have gone clear and to safety. That could be the killer goal for the Irish team."

  65. 2053: 
    GOAL- Rep of Ireland 1-3 Croatia (Shay Given og, 49 mins)

    Deja vu for Republic of Ireland. The second half begins just as the first. Mario Mandzukic rises to meet a cross from the left and his header hits the post and finds the net via an unlucky deflection off the head of Shay Given. The keeper knew nothing about it. The Republic have a mountain to climb now.

  66.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Pedro on Twitter: "Ireland look jaded after that ragged half. Don't fancy their chances much for a fightback."

    Dave Canty on Twitter: "Easy to see how Wolves got relegated. Stephen Ward has been brutal in this game. He couldn't kick snow off a rope."

    Chris Hussey on Twitter: "Game is still open - don't write the Republic off yet."

  67. 2050: 
    KICK-OFF- Rep of Ireland 1-2 Croatia
  68. 2050: 

    Looks like Robbie Keane was still having a pop at an official in the tunnel there. No doubt he is still angry that no Croatia players were adjudged offside from the initial shot that ultimately led to their second goal.

  69. 2049: 

    45 minutes left for Ireland to rescue this game in a rainy Poznan. The teams are back out on the field...

  70. 2044: 

    Guy and Lawro are shattered after travelling 1,175km from Lviv (where they covered Germany-Portugal on Saturday) to Donetsk today.

    Mowbray says: "Flights in Ukraine are interesting, to say the least. The most bizarre thing today was that, for international flights, there is a brand-spanking new airport in Lviv, which is what we used when we arrived there.

    "But for domestic flights like ours today, they are still using the old communist-era terminal which is about 400 yards down the road. It feels like an old provincial railway station, with murals of people coal mining and steelworking on the walls.

    "You queue up and end up in this little wooden waiting room which is completely bare, and wait for ages until you get on a bus… which then promptly takes you round the corner to the new terminal."

  71. 2043: 

    Mowbray is travelling with his co-commentator and BBC website predictions king Mark Lawrenson, and they have been battling it out in a sweepstake where they have to guess the scorelines of each game. Nobody got a single scoreline right in the first two days (which may or may not surprise regular readers of Lawro's Premier League predictions), meaning there was a quintruple rollover going into Spain v Italy… which Guy correctly tipped to end 1-1.

  72. 2042: 

    BBC MOTD commentator Guy Mowbray has arrived in Donetsk ahead of England's first game of Euro 2012 against France at the Donbass Arena on Monday. Check out the view from his hotel room - epic, if you like wasteland or car-parks.

  73.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Will Wright on Twitter: "Terrible time to concede, just before half-time..."

    Ch4 on Twitter: "That Jelavic strike marks the first goal by a Premier League player."

    Paul Thompson on Twitter: "Heartbreak for Ireland, you cannot afford to gift goals like that to a team like Croatia. Massive team talk ahead for Trap."

  74.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Laura Fahey on Twitter: "Is there anything to be said for saying another Mass?"

    Conceding just before half-time... down with this sort of thing. Careful now.

  75. 2037: 

    What doesn't make great reading is that Ireland's pass completion rate of 70% is so far the lowest of any team at Euro 2012.

  76. 2037: 

    Well, that didn't start or end how the Republic would have wanted. But they have come back once and can surely do so again. As the half wore on, though, Croatia grew as a force and the Republic need to be careful not to sit too deep and invite problems.

  77. 2036:  
    BBC Sport pundit Mark Bright at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan:

    "The Republic got themselves back in the game with the goal, looked a threat on the counter and closed Croatia down around the 18-yard box. There were only long-range shots going in which would have suited them but Nikica Jelavic was standing offside from the initial shot, so surely the flag should have gone up. All the players in green just stopped, the Everton man did not though."

  78. 2035: 
    HALF-TIME- Rep of Ireland 1-2 Croatia
  79. 2035: 

    Croatia look to make it 3-1 before the break. Ivan Perisic digs out a cross from the left which Ivan Rakitic and Nikica Jelavic rise to meet. The former meets it but heads over the goal.

  80. 2033: 

    We are one minute in to the two added at the end of this first half.

  81. 2033:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "Initially the Irish team were complaining about an offside from the first shot from Modric. But the ball was cleared and it was the second ball in, so I can't see a real problem. Stephen Ward's badly misplaced clearance has just fallen to the feet of Nikica Jelavic and he finished it so, so well."

  82. 2032: 
    YELLOW CARD- Rep of Ireland - Keith Andrews

    Andrews slides in late on Mario Mandzukic and earns the games first booking.

  83. 2029: 
    GOAL- Rep of Ireland 1-2 Croatia (Nikica Jelavic, 43 mins)

    Disaster for the Republic. Nikica Jelavic restores Croatia's lead just before half-time. The Republic have contributed to their own downfall as well. A shot is driven in from distance but Stephen Ward makes a hash of hacking it clear and slices the ball straight to Jelavic in the box. The striker was in lethal form in the second half of last season for Everton and he makes no mistake with a neat finish, which he lifts past Shay Given. The Republic appeal for offside, but no flag is up to save them.

  84. 2028: 

    The Republic are having to cope with a lot of crosses, but they are coping well. Ivan Rakitic delivers from the right but Damien Duff is back to head away. The Republic need to be careful, though, they are sitting deep and inviting pressure.

  85. 2026:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "Well, the Irish back four are dealing with the balls into the box. It's concerning how much possession Croatia are enjoying at present. Ireland need to push the game further up the pitch and get their defence away from their own goal."

  86. 2026: 

    Croatia corner. Darijo Srna delivers but it is just too high for Gordon Schildenfeld, who glances his header away instead of towards goal. Soon after, Ivan Strinic's cross from the right is headed past the near post by Nikica Jelavic.

  87. 2024: 

    Kevin Doyle is a big handful in the air. He rises to meet Stephen Ward's cross from the left but cannot get enough on it, thanks in part to Gordon Schildenfeld's challenge, and it drops into the arms of Stipe Pletikosa.

  88.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Perry Hewitt on Twitter: "Expectedly this match is already more dramatic than Spain-Italy. These two need a win to have a hope and their play reflects that."

    James Callard on Twitter: "Great game this. Technical joy from Croatia, lung-busting passion and commitment from Ireland."

    Tokunbo on Twitter: "This game is truly awful. Poor quality, ball always out of play. Shameful."

  89. 2023: 

    Robbie Keane is almost through for the Republic. Only a little touch from Ivan Strinic knocks the ball ahead of the Irish forward to deny him a run in on goal. At the other end, Nikica Jelavic flicks the ball up and Ivan Perisic hits a shot on the volley, but just wide of goal. Both sides having a go.

  90. 2020: 

    Luka Modric tries from distance, first time from a Darijo Srna pass, but his effort is claimed easily by Shay Given. Croatia enjoying a good period of play now.

  91. 2018: 

    The Republic do really well to handle a prolonged period of possession from Croatia near the box. It ends when Mario Mandzukic plays the ball straight out of play. Giovanni Trapattoni's side are harrying their opponents superbly. It is making for an entertaining game.

  92. 2016:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "Kevin Doyle has started really well. He's terrorising the Croatia back line and Vedran Corluka keeps giving fouls away. Judging by how they're attacking them, Ireland seem really confident with their set plays."

  93. 2015: 

    Vedran Corluka is finding it really difficult to cope with Kevin Doyle, who is earning a free-kick for every little nudge he receives. It is an identical position to the Republic goal. Aiden McGeady puts it to the back post again but it is just over-hit and Stephen Ward cannot get his head to the ball. I thought the Republic were supposed to be primarily a defensive side? They're having a real go.

  94.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Giovanni Bartolo on Twitter: "The Irish fans are the best I've seen yet. Amazing scenes."

    Alfie Jones on Twitter: "Now this is the kind of football match I like. Rain pouring, frantic tempo, chances, great fans."

    Gilbert Mitchell on Twitter: "Way to fight your way back into the game, Ireland! Best game so far and it's only 22 minutes old!"

  95. 2013: 

    First real sign of Luka Modric in full-flight as he clips a pass in to Mario Mandzukic in the box. The Croatia goalscorer is unable to get a shot away, though, and Richard Dunne intercepts for Shay Given to clear.

  96. 2012: 

    Hats off to the Republic. They have responded superbly to going behind and are taking the game to Croatia. A few tasty challanges flying in as well, including Vedran Corluka diving in on Glenn Whelan. It is a proper tackle. A free-kick is given and the volume rises another notch.

  97. 2009: 

    Great effort from Ivan Perisic for Croatia. He smashes one with his right foot from 25 yards, but Shay Given is equal to it with a smart save, diving to his left. Shaping up to be a really good game this.

  98. 2008:  
    BBC Sport pundit Mark Bright at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan:

    "It was really slack marking, not picking up men, not getting tight. Sean St Ledger just sneaks in and heads into the back of the net. It was a great free-kick into the box and the Croatian defence have been punished."

  99. 2008:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "Ireland are very, very dangerous from set plays. It was a wonderful ball in and St Ledger's header was very good. He's not the tallest of centre halves but what he lacks for in height he makes up for with aggression."

  100. 2005: 
    GOAL- Rep of Ireland (Sean St Ledger, 19 mins) 1-1 Croatia

    Ireland back in the game and Poznan erupts. Vedran Corluka gives away a free-kick with a shove on Kevin Doyle and then compounds his error by allowing Sean St Ledger to nip in round the back and head Aiden McGeady's delivery from the left past Stipe Pletikosa from close range. Perhaps predictably, the Irish fans joyously celebrate with a Poznan. In Poznan.

  101. 2004: 

    Richard Dunne plays with fire a bit as he hesitates and Nikica Jelavic nips in. Dunne fouls the forward and gives Croatia chance to deliver from the left. The free-kick glances off John O'Shea's head for a corner. This comes to nothing, though, and Ireland avert danger.

  102. 2002:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "Ireland need to rely on the confidence worked on in training. All the technical and conditioning work they've done with Trapattoni. They need to remain patient. Something will happen for them, I'm sure."

  103. 2001: 

    Croatia come forward and Nikica Jelavic wins the ball in the air. It finds Ivan Perisic on the left but his cross is well over-hit and over Shay Given's goal.

  104. 2000: 

    Nice beanie being sported by Croatia coach Slaven Bilic. To be fair, it is raining pretty heavily in Poznan.

  105. 1958: 

    Now here is a chance for the Republic. Kevin Doyle is pushed in the back by Gordon Schildenfeld on the edge of the box for a free-kick. Keith Andrews fires it straight into the wall and then, on the volley, pokes a rebound wide of goal.

  106.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Matt Cartwright on Twitter: "That's a soft goal for Ireland to concede..."

    Chris Campbell on Twitter: "Shay should not have been beaten with a header from there. Good recovery from the Croat player though."

    Bobby McCarthy on Twitter: "Pretty lucky goal for ‪Croatia‬. No need for ‪Ireland‬ to panic just yet, I don't think."

  107. 1956: 

    The Republic have responded well to going behind. They are having plenty of possession. Damien Duff floats a cross from the right into the box but just over Kevin Doyle and Vedran Corluka heads clear.

  108. 1954: 

    Ireland look to hit back early. Kevin Doyle holds up well and lays off for Damien Duff, who cuts inside but fires tamely wide of goal from distance.

  109. 1953:  
    BBC Sport pundit Mark Bright at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan:

    "It looked like the chance had gone but from that distance, but after Mario Mandzukic had lost his footing, goalkeeper Shay Given should really have done much better than that. It is a huge blow for Republic."

  110. 1952:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "We've spoken so much about keeping it tight in the first five or 10 minutes of a game. Shay Given looked out of position, and I don't think he expected Mandzukic to get such power on his header. Given was moving to his right, so he didn't actually read the header. He was wrong-footed and couldn't keep it out."

  111. 1949: 
    GOAL- Rep of Ireland 0-1 Croatia (Mario Mandzukic, 3 mins)

    The worst possible start for Ireland. Croatia force the first corner as Keith Andrews blocks Ivan Strinic's attempted cross. Ireland can't fully clear it and from a return delivery from the opposite side the ball deflects off Stephen Ward and into the path of Mario Mandzukic, who has a lot to do but manages to steer his header into the net from 12 yards. Shay Given scrambled to try and save but was unable to do so. The Irish have it all to do now.

  112.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Stuart Allan on Twitter: "An incredible Irish support there. Shivers down the spine at their national anthem!"

    Cillian Madden on Twitter: "Rain is a good sign for Ireland matches, makes the players feel like home!"

    Sophie Gayter on Twitter: "So thrilled for Robbie Keane. I'll never forget him crying when he won the League Cup at Spurs. A true gentleman of the game."

  113. 1948: 

    First half-chance for Ireland as Stephen Ward crosses from the left and Keith Andrews gets a head to it in the box but the ball is slightly behind him and it goes well wide of goal.

  114. 1946: 
    KICK-OFF- Rep of Ireland v Croatia (19:45 BST)

    Croatia kick us off.

  115.  

    BBC Sport football reporter Damian Johnson tweets: "Heavy rain in Poznan. A leveller for the Irish against Croatia? Spain's draw with Italy makes this group interesting..."

  116.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Chris in Wakefield on text: "How is Darron Gibson not first choice for Ireland? He has been the anchor that Everton have built up on since January and they've done alright since then."

    James from Tonbridge on text: "I'm revising for my history A Level on Tuesday. In the 1840s and 50s there was lots of immigration, mainly from Ireland. By watching this game, technically I'm revising."

  117. 1942: 

    There is a very strong Irish contingent in the stadium and they are making plenty of noise. If the Ireland team weren't pumped before, they will be now after that rendition of the national anthem.

  118. 1939: 

    Poznan looks primed. The teams are on their way out.

  119.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Barry Gavin on Twitter: "The country is united in hope (not expectation). Come on you boys in green!"

    Dean Faccini on Twitter: "I often wonder whether England appointed the wrong Italian. Ireland will qualify from their group."

    Kenneth Gyang on Twitter: "May the floodlights shine softly on Duff's face, may the ball fall softly upon Keane's boots. Irish prayer."

  120. 1937: 

    Finally, tonight, Ireland can put the injustice of that Thierry Henry handball behind them. That infringement that wasn't saw France qualify for the 2010 World Cup ahead of the Irish, but this evening they return to a major international tournament for the first time since the 2002 World Cup. Giovanni Trapattoni not only has the Henry injustice to make up for but also the controversial elimination of his Italy side at the hands of South Korea at the 2002 World Cup.

  121.  
    GET INVOLVED

    John in Leytonstone on text: "Significant Wolves and West Brom presence in the Ireland team so lots of support from the Black Country."

    Rob from Birmingham on text: "I was drinking Guinness last night. Does that make me more Irish right now?"

  122. 1932:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "Richard Dunne, Damien Duff, Shay Given and Robbie Keane will be thinking this tournament represents their last chance. They will want to go out with a bang."

  123. 1930: 

    With him doing such a sterling job on The Apprentice: You're Fired and what with being Irish and that, we managed to grab a word with comedian Dara O'Briain about his country's chances at Euro 2012. It is well worth a watch.

  124.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Mohammed Danyal on Twitter: "Watch out for Croatian Ivan Rakitic."

    Jad Hamizan on Twitter: "Fact: The Ireland team is the only squad to consist entirely of players from foreign leagues."

    George Lancaster on Twitter: "Will be cheering the Irish on as my second team. After all, who doesn't love the Irish?"

  125. 1925: 

    Who have Ireland got to look out for tonight? The easy answer is Luka Modric. The Tottenham midfielder is the creative heartbeat of this Croatia side, and capable of unlocking the meanest of defences. However, the man he will mainly be looking to find will also be familiar to many of the Irish players. Nikica Jelavic scored 11 goals in 16 games for Everton in the second half of last season and will need to be watched very, very closely by Richard Dunne et al. On top of that you have full-back and captain Darijo Srna, who is an impressive international performer.

  126. 1921: 

    Speaking of Kevin Kilbane, the former Ireland international has been telling our very own Chris Bevan that the Irish have nothing to fear from Italy or Croatia. Granted, that was before the Italians' display against Spain.

  127. 1919:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "Giovanni Trapattoni instilled a real confidence and self-belief in the squad as soon as he came in. There was a lot of negativity swirling around after Steve Staunton left, but he quickly got everyone on his side and playing for him and the results speak for themselves. The team have really thrived under him."

  128. 1919: 

    That Ireland side has 689 caps between. Plenty of experience.

  129. 1918: 
    LINE-UPS- Rep of Ireland v Croatia (19:45 BST)

    Rep of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, St. Ledger, Dunne, Ward, McGeady, Whelan, Andrews, Duff, Doyle, Keane. Subs: Westwood, Kelly, McShane, Walters, Gibson, Hunt, O'Dea, Long, Cox, Green, McClean, Forde.

    Croatia: Pletikosa, Srna, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Strinic, Vukojevic, Rakitic, Modric, Perisic, Mandzukic, Jelavic. Subs: Kelava, Simunic, Buljat, Pranjic, Badelj, Vrsaljko, Dujmovic, Kalinic, Kranjcar, Vida, Eduardo, Subasic.

    Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)

  130. 1917: 

    Giovanni Trapattoni claims "I am not Jesus Christ". It is a healthy realisation to come to. "I don't do miracles," he continues. "Only the players can do miracles." Well, that's all the squads meals sorted then, unless you don't like bread or fish, but what about this qualification from the group stage lark? Well, it is undeniable that Trapattoni has made Ireland tough to beat. In fact, it is likely that they will be looking to replicate the performance Trapattoni's native nation just put on against the Spanish.

  131. 1909: 

    Ah Lawro, is there a team you haven't given a view on? As far as this tournament is concerned the answer is a resounding no. He's given us his insight into both Ireland and Croatia. Take that, other pundits who aren't Mark Lawrenson.

  132. 1907: 

    Bet you're not so clever on your Croatia, though? Don't worry, we've got a team guide for them as well, which includes how they play (it's all about Modric), in what formation (4-4-2) and their record against the Irish (they've only won once in six games). However, the best export we could come up with was Hollywood film star John Malkovich, who was born in Illinois, in the United States, but his paternal grandparents were proud Croats. Cheating really.

  133. 1903: 

    For the few of you out there who know don't know your Paul McShane from your Stephen Kelly, you might want to have a read of our Ireland team guide. It's got information and facts and everything. For example, did you know the Republic lost just once in qualifying, to Russia? You did? Fine. Forget it then. This country.

  134. 1859:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium

    "Shay Given is a huge player for Ireland. He's much-needed for this game, along with Richard Dunne at the back. They will be Ireland's too key players, organising from the back. Dunne will be especially crucial."

  135. 1856: 

    A steady switch of focus is needed as we now look to the day's second game between Ireland v Croatia. No surprises in the Ireland side, largely because coach Giovanni Trapattoni had named it a while back. Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle up front, Shay Given in net, Richard Dunne at the back. You know the score. Premier League fans will be familiar with Vedran Corluka, Luka Modric and Nikica Jelavic in the Croatia side.

  136. 1852:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "The Italians in the first half were exceptional. Tactically they got it right and they made Casillas make four good saves. After they scored, Spain pushed on a bit more and upped their tempo. Both teams had chances to win and it was a thoroughly entertaining game. A draw is a fair result. If the Italians continue to play this well and get through the group they really could be a threat."

  137. 1852: 

    A fair result. Spain weren't at their best, but then they weren't allowed to be by an impressive display from the Italians. Cesare Prandelli's side were supremely solid at the back and hit effectively on the break. They may well have just lifted themselves into the group of genuine challengers for Euro 2012.

  138. 1850: 
    FULL-TIME- Spain 1-1 Italy
  139. 1850: 

    Fernando Torres gives away possession again with a poor pass as he looks to find Andres Iniesta. That could be Spain's last chance gone...

  140.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Josh Clark on Twitter: "Jordi Alba looks like a great prospect. He loves bombing up the line and is very comfortable in possession."

    Joseph Taylor on Twitter: "Thrilling end-to-end stuff now with both teams going for the win. Best game of the Euros so far in my book."

  141. 1848: 

    Spain still plugging away and it is Xabi Alonso's turn to try from distance. He connects decently with it but it curls away from Gianluigi Buffon's right-hand post. We are into injury time. Spain on the attack.

  142. 1847: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Italy - Antonio Nocerino on for Thiago Motta
  143. 1846: 
    YELLOW CARD- Italy - Christian Maggio

    The Italian defender becomes the seventh man in the book for a foul that snuffs out a Spanish attack.

  144. 1846: 

    What a great move from Italy. And it almost gets the ultimate reward. Claudio Marchisio runs half the pitch and exchanges passes with Antonio Di Natale on the edge of the box but his shot is too close to Iker Casillas and the Spanish keeper gathers.

  145. 1844: 

    Two minutes to go. Italy look to have settled for the point. Spain haven't. Jesus Navas attempts a cross from the right, but it is low and to no-one and Gianluigi Buffon dives to claim.

  146. 1843:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "Torres again should at least have hit the target and probably scored. The Italian back line have concentrated immaculately to keep Spain down to one in this second half, but they're looking a little tired. Buffon did well. He charged out, and that must have put Torres off. But supporters watching Chelsea in the Premier League will be familiar with that kind of Torres miss."

  147. 1842: 

    Oh Fernando. You're having a bit of a mare. Torres is given space again near the Italian goal and tries a chip from the edge of the area but it drifts over the bar. His hands go to his head. We've seen that pose way too often in the last 18 months.

  148. 1840: 
    YELLOW CARD- Spain - Alvaro Arbeloa and Fernando Torres

    Two seperate incidents, two bookings for Spain, both for clashes with Italian players.

  149.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Joseph on Twitter: "Spain are tightening the screw. Giovinco and Di Natale could just get them on the counter. Good defending by Buffon from Torres."

    Jose Lawton on Twitter: "Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai is the bookies favourite to referee the final and he's done his chances no harm today. Very good show from him."

    Rohan Berry on Twitter: "Can anyone argue this is the best game thus far? Two great sides who, particularly in the last 20 minutes, have played superbly."

  150. 1840: 

    OK, now I'm not giving Fernando Torres the benefit of the doubt. He isn't clear on goal but he has plenty of space on the right side of the box but he hesitates and when he does attempt the pass it is intercepted. Poor stuff.

  151. 1839: 

    The bearded Xabi Alonso is penalised for sliding in on Sebastian Giovinco. He disagrees with the decision but Italy are very happy to have time to regroup and reorganise.

  152. 1836: 

    Xavi looks to curl the free-kick but it hits the top of the wall and Italy can clear from danger. 10 minutes left to play. The game very much in the balance.

  153. 1835: 
    YELLOW CARD- Italy - Giorgio Chiellini

    The Italian defender is booked for going in Andres Iniesta. It gives Spain a great shooting chance from a free-kick from 25 yards...

  154. 1835:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "Since the Italians scored Spain have come more into the game. They're playing at a higher tempo."

  155. 1835: 

    Antonio Di Natale has a glorious chance to put Italy back ahead. Emanuele Giaccherini's chipped ball forward beats a Spanish head and finds the striker in the box with a clear sight of goal. He is forced to attempt an acrobatic volley but it is not impossible and he holds his head in his hands after seeing the ball fly wide of the far post. Spanish fans breathe again.

  156.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Tim from Crawley on text: "Spain play great passing football. There's no denying that. But those people that think it's great to watch. Why? Where's the goal mouth action? Where's the penetration? Holding the ball outside the box is no threat."

    Chris in Cobham on text: "Italy score, then Spain score. Italy do a substitution, then Spain do a substitution. Italy get a yellow card, Spain get a yellow card. Now we just need Italy to do a wonderfully crafted dance routine and we'll have some real entertainment."

  157. 1833: 

    Fernando Torres is in. He is through on goal. This is his chance. But he is hesitant and Gianluigi Buffon comes out to meet him and beat him to the ball as the striker looks to go round. I could be harsh but I'll give the benefit of the doubt to Torres, it is his first involvement since coming on.

  158. 1830: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Spain - Fernando Torres on for Cesc Fabregas
  159. 1830: 

    Looks like Fernando Torres is about to enter the action. Is it set up for the struggling Chelsea striker to bag the winner. Jordi Alba has a decent chance to potentially do that before Torres is even on. He strikes Jesus Navas' cross on the volley from 12 yards but it goes wide of the far post.

  160. 1828:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "The atmosphere has ramped up here. The Italy goal seems to have woken up the Spanish. It gave them a little scare, I think..."

  161.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Stuart Rood on Twitter: "That is why Spain are the best side in the world, with a response like that..."

    Keval Shah on Twitter: "That Spain goal is all about Silva's reverse pass. Brilliance."

    Kyle McNabb on Twitter: "Is Sebastian Giovinco the smallest man in world football?"

    Giovinco is certainly the shortest player at Euro 2012. He's like a football womble. But not as tramp-esque.

  162. 1826: 

    Italy's joy lasts no time at all. It could have got very uncomfortable for Spain had they not levelled so quickly but now they can be more patient with their attacks. Jesus Navas' cross from the right deflects off Emanuele Giaccherini and on to the roof of the net. Gerard Pique meets the corner with a header and Sergio Ramos tries an overhead kick but a foul is given.

  163. 1824: 
    YELLOW CARD- Spain - Jordi Alba

    The reaction to Bonucci's tackle gets Alba a booking as well.

  164. 1823: 
    YELLOW CARD- Italy - Leonardo Bonucci

    The Italian defender is booked for a foul on Andres Iniesta.

  165. 1823: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Spain - Jesus Navas on for David Silva
  166. 1822: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Italy - Sebastian Giovinco for Antonio Cassano
  167. 1822:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "That's the first lapse of concentration for the Italians. The didn't track Fabregas' run and he just tucked it away. The Spanish are back in it."

  168. 1820: 
    GOAL- Spain (Cesc Fabregas, 64 mins) 1-1 Italy

    Spain hit back immediately. Andres Iniesta has a shot from distance saved by Gianluigi Buffon, but in the next attack, the Italy keeper is powerless to stop Cesc Fabregas firing his side level. It was made, though, by David Silva's superb little pass to the edge of the box to put Fabregas in. The nominated "shadow number nine" does the business for his side.

  169. 1816: 
    GOAL- Spain 0-1 Italy (Antonio Di Natale, 60 mins)

    Cat. Pigeons. Amongst. You can't say Italy don't deserve that. They have been really good in this game and could have taken the lead earlier through Mario Balotelli. It is his replacement who strikes decisively for them here. Andea Pirlo's superb pass puts Antonio Di Natale in on goal. He opens his body and curls a shot past Iker Casillas and in. Six minutes he's been on the pitch.

  170. 1815: 

    Spain are getting very, very frustrated. It's partly of their own making. They give away possession in midfield and Alvaro Arbeloa is penalised for dragging an opponent to the ground. Spain's football at times is rightly lauded but you can't help but be impressed by the Italians here. They are very organised and not without threat up front themselves.

  171.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Graham on text: "Anyone who can't appreciate the way the Spanish play is clueless. It's not them that make the game boring, it's their opponents. If you play anything other than a counter-attacking game they will take you apart."

    Henry from Lancaster on text: "Spain playing without a designated striker is a bit like the New Zealand rugby team who sometimes play without specialist wingers. Both number one in their respective sports. I think the versatility of 'liquid football' could and is being applied to other sports."

  172. 1812: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Italy - Antonio Di Natale on for Mario Balotelli
  173. 1811:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "Absolutely wasted by Balotelli. He did exceptionally well in the first instance, broke away, but was too slow to take a shot on goal. He was clean through on goal and waited and waited and allowed Ramos to track back and make the tackle."

  174. 1811: 

    Oh Mario Balotelli, there was your chance. He robs Sergio Ramos on the touchline and has the goal to run in on, but he dwells and dwells without shooting and the Spanish defender gets back to tackle him six yards out. Why didn't the Manchester City striker have a go earlier? Cesare Prandelli can't believe it.

  175.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Del Hutton on Twitter: "Italy and Denmark getting credit for defensive solidity and organisation. Bet that will change if/when England play like that."

    Zak Jones on Twitter: "Spain have gone beyond the attractive, attacking, impressive football and have reached the boring non-penetrative style."

    Neil Tween on Twitter: "Could Spain be the world's least lethal side from corner kicks? Certainly without Puyol."

  176. 1808: 

    Another Spanish effort from range. Xavi has it but it is wide of goal and Gianluigi Buffon doesn't need to worry too much. A minute later, Spain go closer as Cesc Fabregas passes on to Andres Iniesta in the box. He is at an angle on the left side and has Daniele De Rossi for company but gets a shot away and it flashes past the far post via a fingertip save from Buffon.

  177. 1806:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "The Spanish fans are trying to change their team's tempo. So far it's all been build-up play and it's a little slow. They haven't got enough men high up the pitch to cause the Italian back line problems."

  178. 1806: 

    Now Spain have threatened. Cesc Fabregas finds possession on the edge of the box and fires a shot on target but Gianluigi Buffon is equal to it and pushes the ball away.

  179. 1805: 

    Fernando Torres is going through some warm-ups. Could he be the man to provide the firepower for Spain? They've not threatened yet in this second half.

  180. 1804:  
    Kevin Kilbane, BBC Radio 5 live at Municipal Stadium for Rep of Ireland v Croatia

    "When the draw was made this was the game every Irish fan targeted as the one needed to get off to a good start. I was a little apprehensive, but as the game drew closer I'm feeling confident, and I think Ireland can get a result."

  181. 1801: 
    KICK-OFF- Spain 0-0 Italy

    Italy get the second half under way.

  182.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Steven McNamara on Twitter: "Spain need to be careful here, they are beautiful to watch but look at Holland who never put chances away, they lost 1-0."

    Diego Westerberg on Twitter: "Spain need width, or a striker, or both. Italy coping easily with eye-of-the-needle football by staying narrow."

    Jonty Leibowitz on Twitter: "Spanish passmasters are being outplayed by the original ballplayer Andrea Pirlo."

  183. 1800: 

    The first half was more intriguing than exhilarating but do not fear for we have a whole second 45 minutes coming up very shortly. The teams are back out...

  184. 1755: 

    Like the Danes yesterday, the Italian performance is built around a superb display from their defenders. Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele De Rossi and Leonardo Bonucci have been fantastic. They have reduced the space in and around the box and kept concentration to track the movement of Iniesta et al.

  185. 1754:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "This is a really good game. The Italians have played incredibly well, and their formation works. They've been dogged and determined but they've also created. Spain can consider themselves a touch fortunate that they are not behind. They will have to change their system. They are not getting players high enough up the pitch."

  186.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Chris Houlgate on Twitter: "Italy playing really well, making Spain look very ordinary."

    Sam Says on Twitter: "Not just a six man midfield, but six central midfielders. All very cute but need width and someone up top."

    Stuart Allan on Twitter: "I could watch Pirlo play all day. Such a calm and composed player who just dominates games. Nobody else is as good at his role."

  187. 1750: 

    Italy will definitely be the happier of the two sides at the break. They are holding Spain at arm's length and could even be leading. It has been a typically disciplined defensive display from the Italians and, while Spain have probed for an opening, very few have been forthcoming. One thing is for certain, if Vincente del Bosque wants to make an attacking substitution he has got plenty of options.

  188. 1747: 
    HALF-TIME- Spain 0-0 Italy
  189. 1747: 

    What a chance right at the end of the first half for Italy! Thiago Motta is eight yards out and with only Iker Casillas to beat but his header from Antonio Cassano's cross from the right is straight at the keeper, who palms away brilliantly. A great reflex save from the Real Madrid man to keep matters level.

  190. 1745: 

    Andres Iniesta, having charged forward for Spain, has his side's best chance. He is found by Xavi just inside the area and with a sight of goal, but lifts his shot over the bar with his laces.

  191. 1743: 

    Sergio Busquets catches Giorgio Chiellini and the Italian defender rolls around. Further signs of Spanish frustration. They are being tested so far by a typically dogged and disciplined Italian defence. Cesc Fabregas has an opening in the box soon after from close range, but his shot from an angle is blocked by Leonardo Bonucci.

  192.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Lou on text: "I can't believe so many people enjoy Spain's possession football. Yes it's precise and skilful but they so rarely create chances. It's like watching a training session in keep-ball."

    Chris from Durham on text: "Its been painful viewing in the Spanish final third. They are trying to walk it in! I think any sort of striker would be better than another small midfielder."

    David in Truro on text: "Boring. Mexican Wave in our lounge."

  193. 1741: 

    It really is tight in and around the Italy box. Andres Iniesta is doing all he can to find space but is just failing to get clear sight of goal. Alvaro Arbeloa tries a different route with a cross but Cesc Fabregas is penalised for a foul on Christian Maggio. Spain are getting frustrated, which is exactly how the Italians want it.

  194. 1737:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "Mario Balotelli has been unfortunate a couple of times. He's chasing lost causes and one or twice the referee's whistles have been harsh. We do know Balotelli. He is talented, but he can get frustrated.

    "The Italians, for me, are just about edging it. They're playing exceptionally well, and everything they're doing is going right for them. They're on top, their formation seems better and they're more organised."

  195. 1737: 
    YELLOW CARD- Italy - Mario Balotelli

    The striker leaves a foot in on a Spanish man and gets the game's first booking.

  196. 1737: 

    This is pretty much exactly what everyone was expecting from this game. Spain holding most of possession and pressing forward with Italy proving stubborn at the back. However, slightly less predictable is that Italy are threatening goal. A cracking drive from Claudio Marchisio from distance stings the palms of Iker Casillas, who claims at the second attempt.

  197. 1735: 

    Antonio Cassano looks as likely as any Italian player of doing something decisive in this game. He shoots low from 22 yards and Iker Casillas cannot hold before Mario Balotelli gives away a free-kick for a foul on Gerard Pique in an attempt to follow up.

  198. 1733: 

    How is that not a free-kick on the edge of the box for Spain? Andres Iniesta gets a massive shove in the back from Thiago Motta but the ref says no. At the other end, Antonio Cassano does concede a free-kick by tripping Iker Casillas as he runs away from him with the ball. That'll learn the keeper for trying to play actual football.

  199.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Tom Mason on Twitter: "Really enjoying watching Italy press Spain so high up the pitch. Be interesting to see if they can maintain it in the heat."

    Liam Reilly on Twitter: "Are Spain playing so badly that they make Italy look good, or are Italy playing so well they're making Spain look average?"

    Callum Grundon on Twitter: "Italy are giving this a good go. To be honest, I don't think Spain have the form as in 2010. I think it's Germany or Holland's year."

  200. 1730: 

    Andres Iniesta is really good at football. He skips past one man and into the left side of the box before checking and curling a cross just over the head of Cesc Fabregas. An Italian heads it behind and from the resulting corner, Iniesta receives the ball again and shoots, but straight at Gianluigi Buffon.

  201.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Caroline on text: "Is De Rossi looking to start a new fashion? One long sleeve, one short sleeve?"

    Can I be the first to say, if you copy that you're an idiot.

  202. 1726: 

    It might not produce a save from Gianluigi Buffon but the Spanish build-up play is something to behold. Andres Iniesta is found by a superb neat little pass from David Silva on the edge of the box but the shot is blocked by an Italian defender. Typically robust stuff from the Italians, who's defensive wall is staying strong at the moment.

  203. 1724:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "Spain have had just a couple of chances around the box for David Silva. They haven't really created anything as yet. The Spanish are playing into Italy's hands. Daniele De Rossi is able to start attacks from deep, while Spain have no out ball."

  204. 1724: 

    Italy are matching Spain at the moment, maybe not in possession, but in meaningful activity near goal. Antonio Cassano has looked lively. He collects the ball on the right of the box and attempts a low shot across goal. It beats Iker Casillas but also the far post.

  205. 1721: 

    Spain come forward and Andres Iniesta's brilliance allows him to cut away from an Italian tackle in midfield. However, Cesc Fabregas is offside when he receives David Silva's lay-off and the move is halted, much to Fabregas' annoyance.

  206.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Ryan Heatly on Twitter: "This pitch could ruin the game. Looks very laggy."

    Jake Nixon on Twitter: "So far the football Spain have been playing has been brilliant. Exciting passing and trying to attack."

    Tunji Adigun on Twitter: "The same myopic obsession with midfielders that affected Guardiola has now been contracted by Del Bosque."

  207. 1720: 

    20 minutes gone. Not much to report. It was always likely to be a slow burner, though, this. Lots of patient, passing, possession stuff. Italy were never going to lie down and let Spain roll on through and it is not Spain's style to crash balls into the box.

  208. 1718: 

    Thiago Motta is down after seemingly been caught by Alvaro Arbeloa. The Spanish man caught him with his studs. It doesn't warrant the rolling around and gurning that Motta puts on, though. Man up.

  209. 1715: 

    David Silva again for Spain after a lay-off from Sergio Busquets on the edge of the box. But the Manchester City man's shot is blocked well before it can trouble Gianluigi Buffon.

  210.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Freddie Drapkin on Twitter: "Whoever plays better out of Fabregas and Pirlo will decide who wins this match. If Fabregas is dominated Spain won't score.

    James Higson on Twitter: "It's all too obvious Spain are missing that out-and-out striker. Same problem Barca had against Chelsea. Poacher needed."

    Jeet Rajani on Twitter: "No strikers for Spain could just possibly work. Their midfield is so creative! They always look dangerous on the break!"

  211. 1714: 

    Big chance for Italy from a free-kick from roughly 20 yards out. Andrea Pirlo is over it and, after a dummy from Mario Balotelli, the Juventus man curls it on target for Iker Casillas to palm away. Encouraging signs for Italy, who have started well.

  212. 1712: 

    Spain break, and good advantage from the referee, after a foul on Cesc Fabregas by Daniele De Rossi, allows David Silva to charge into the box with the ball. His shot from 15 yards doesn't have the placement or power to trouble Gianluigi Buffon, though.

  213. 1711:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "The Italians are giving as good as they're getting at the moment. Their formation is working for them. They're a little bit more direct than the Spanish but they're having some success."

  214. 1710: 

    Mario Balotelli isn't scared of a shot. He collects the ball from Antonio Cassano and has a pop from range but earns a corner off a deflection. Again, though, Andrea Pirlo's delivery is poor and headed away by Xabi Alonso at the near post.

  215.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Dean in Stoneleigh on text: "Re Grant (1659): 'Boring display'? Most outrageous thing I've heard. Spain play the most precise, accurate and professional football of any team. They define the beautiful game."

    Mohammed in Cambridgeshire on text: "To be honest, I do not see Spain beating Italy. No pace in the team to break through the Italian defence."

  216. 1709: 

    Have a shot! Any time you like! Spain weave the ball around the box and at any stage one of David Silva, Xavi or Cesc Fabregas could have shot but didn't, loking instead for an extra turn and touch. From a second wave of attack, Silva does shoot from range but it is well over the bar.

  217. 1707: 

    No real chances to speak of yet, just a lot of possession football. You know the score, this is Spain and Italy were talking about. Italy win a corner but Andrea Pirlo's low delivery is easy for Spain to clear. Wasteful.

  218. 1705:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "The Italians have gone as expected, playing with three centre-backs. That could really work for Italy, starting a lot of their attacks from the back. Spain have no recognised striker in the team, and Fabregas seems to be roaming. Iniesta is the furthest forward."

  219. 1704: 

    Cesc Fabregas has certainly started as the nominated "front-man", occupying the area usually taken by a number nine. But Andres Iniesta is trading places with him on occasion. Let's be honest, this is a fluid formation. Liquid football.

  220. 1702: 

    Guess what? Spain are in possession early on. However, an early attempt by Jordi Alba to cross is snuffed out by Daniele De Rossi's tackle.

  221. 1701: 

    The stadium is dominated by the Spanish fans. ITV's coverage reckon by at least four to one over the Italians. To compensate, a flare goes off in the Italian end leading to some worried looks on stewards' faces.

  222. 1700: 
    KICK-OFF- Spain v Italy (17:00 BST)

    Spain get us under way.

  223.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Grant Tubridy on Twitter: "Another boring display from Spain I'm guessing. They're there to be beaten."

    Jake O'Mara on Twitter: "It's not boring football, it's the best passing game we have ever seen. They win because they are the best. Class."

    Gavin Haddock on Twitter: "Hoping for a massive Spain victory so that Ireland have a better chance of coming second in the group!"

  224. 1659: 

    The Italians in the crowd get typically stuck into their national anthem. Plenty of air punching and screaming. The Spanish are far more cerebral in their approach. No official lyrics and all that.

  225. 1654: 

    The teams are on their way out. Anthem time and then it is all about the action. Hell, and indeed, yes!

  226. 1654:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "If Italy come here in the right mindset they could really cause an upset. We saw what they did in 2006. They are here off the back of a fantastic qualifying campaign. They're a complete contrast to the way the Spanish play. I really love watching the Italians, particularly some of their defending. The little shirt pulls, the blocking people off... not getting caught is the art form. Italy could easily grab a draw here."

  227. 1654: 

    Interesting approach from ITV and the Uefa website on the formation front. They've stuck Fabregas, Silva and Iniesta up top as a front three. Damn the media and its rigid Champ Manager 2001-02 tactical layout technology. I'm guessing Spain manager Vicente del Bosque will also have his team settings at mentality: attacking, passing: short and pressing: yes.

  228. 1650:  
    Danny Mills, BBC Radio 5 live at PGE Arena

    "Spain are mirroring, effectively, Barcelona's style. I tend to think it will be a flat back four then a 1-2-1-2 formation, with two forward players of Silva and Iniesta. I think it will give the Italians all sorts of problems. There's a chance Italy could play just three at the back. It could be too really strange and unfamiliar systems, and the Spanish will be very, very fluid."

  229. 1647: 

    You have probably seen snippets of the England training by now, courtesy of the news or the coverage over on ITV. As far as I can see, this mainly involved a lot of moving in slow-motion, John Terry drinking lots of water and Roy Hodgson telling a very animated joke to his backroom staff. "So anyway, the upshot of it all is that Stewart Downing ended up in the squad...". Ha ha ha ha.

  230.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Tim Mighall on Twitter: "It's like losing a wheel on your car (Villa) and then deciding to drive it with 3 weeks rather than use your spare (Torres)."

    Rakaan Al-Huneidi on Twitter: "Two of the greatest keepers of all time in Casillas and Buffon will need to be on top form if their defences don't hold up!"

    Andrew Walters on Twitter: "Spain won the World cup playing - it has got to be said in all honesty - boring football. This game has 0-0 written all over it."

  231. 1643: 

    Looking back over European Championships past, you will see that Spain have twice won the tournament to Italy's once. The first Spanish victory came all the way back in 1964, with the most recent being the last event in 2008. Italy actually succeeded Spain as European champs in 1968. Will they do so again this time, or are Spain destined to become the first ever side to win three successive international tournaments? To be fair, those questions will take some time to be answered. Probably best to deal with who will win this one match. It's dull but I'll say 2-0 Spain.

  232. 1639: 

    Italy have had, let's say, a slightly troubled build-up to this tournament. Another Match-fixing scandal has raised its ugly head, this leading to much negative headlines. But how will the squad cope? Well, last time such talk was in the air, in 2006, the Italians went on to win the World Cup. That was a much stronger group of players and a more experienced manager of course, but maybe Cesare Prandelli and his men can harness a similar vibe to charge on to glory?

  233. 1633: 

    The Spanish are no idiots. Oh no they are not. They realise the main threat posed by this Italian side. Namely Super Mario. Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, who is likely to be the man having to take care of Balotelli today, says the Manchester City striker is a potential match-winner his side need to keep quiet.

  234. 1629: 

    Want an even more expert view of Spain's chances at this tournament? You do? Well here you go then... Mr Gaizka Mendieta, former Middlesbrough and Spain international midfielder and all-round good guy has given us the lowdown on what Spain have got in their locker. Thankfully, he spoke to us in English. He knows we don't speak Spanish.

  235.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Theo Kabala on Twitter: "Why are people so bemused by Spain's starting XI? Barca have been playing without a number nine for the past few seasons."

    Andreas Mallia on Twitter: "Did the Spanish not learn anything against Chelsea? Good passing does not always beat a better defence, especially one with numbers."

    Oliver Hills on Twitter: "Looking forward to some antics from the enigma that is Mario Balotelli."

  236.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Anthony in Canterbury on text: "That Spanish line up is essentially Barcelona-lite, short of 60-goal-a-season Messi. Italy are so disciplined in defence that Spain will be unable to pass their way through. Fully expect a re run of the Chelsea-Barca first leg, with Spain having a million two-foot passes and Balotelli winning it for Italy."

    Ben from Somerset on text: "Playing without a striker? 60% of the time it works all the time."

  237. 1624: 

    Anyway, if you want to know a bit more about the Italians (both the names you know and the ones you don't) check out our team guide. This will also tell you that they were pretty impressive throughout qualifying, winning eigth and drawing two of their 10 games, admittedly against pretty weak opponents.

    Of course, we've also got a Spain team guide, in which we suggest Fernando Llorente would start in attack. Don't have a go at us for that, though, nobody expected them to pick approximately no strikers. Spain won all of their qualifiers, by the way. But then that is what Spain do.

  238. 1618: 

    As the Italians always are at major tournaments, you can bet the current crop will be tough to beat - built around a solid, well-drilled defensive structure. The names of their back four are not as familiar as previous big competition incarnations but you can bet they know their job. Even if they are scratching their heads somewhat over who they should actually mark. "Take the striker Leonardo" "Er, what striker?"

  239.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Neil Stone on Twitter: "Spain going for the Craig Levein formation? Strikerless!"

    Chris Eastwood on Twitter: "Spain aren't playing with a striker? I thought they were supposed to be an attacking side! Odd decision."

    Jonny Hosking on Twitter: "Potentially the worst Italian defence in recent years and Spain opt for no striker? Why?"

  240. 1613: 

    There's your line-ups, right there. I've already mentioned the Spanish 4-6-0 formation (although in truth that is a tad deceptive - that 0 will quickly become plenty when they flood forward). But what about Italy? Well, the big news for fans of all things Premier League is that Mario Balotelli will be bringing his unique blend of talented madness to the forward line. He is part of a strong front two, along with Antonio Cassano. Meanwhile, Andrea Pirlo, who had a belting season with Juventus, will anchor midfield.

  241. 1610: 
    LINE-UPS- Spain v Italy (17:00 BST)

    Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta. Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.

    Italy: Buffon, Chiellini, De Rossi, Bonucci, Giaccherni, Marchisio, Pirlo, Thiago Motta, Maggio, Cassano, Balotelli. Subs: Sirigu, Ogbonna Obienza, Balzaretti, Abate, Di Natale, Barzagli, Borini, Montolivo, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

    Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)

  242. 1607: 

    In case you've not been following my colleague Saj Chowdhury for the last three hours (fine work by the way Saj), I'll recap what we've got on out plates this late afternoon and evening. First up is one of the group stage's big encounters as the all-conquering Spanish take on the wounded but typically stubborn Italians. Then, pretty much straight after that, we have the bow of the Irish as they take on Croatia. Promises to be great. But, as yesterday taught us, it's best not to go getting our hopes up too high.

  243.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Alfie Jones on Twitter: "Spain starting with Fabregas as false number nine and no striker. Mind-boggling. Players bigging up Torres... for nothing!"

    Simon G on Twitter: "Error from Spain not going with with either Fernando and relying on their midfield talent."

    Daniel Helliwell on Twitter: "What a way to give your strikers confidence - leave them all on the bench!"

  244. 1604: 

    Early word on the street is that the World and European champions will be lining up with a midfield six-strong, comprising Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Cesc Fabregas. That leaves no room for a single recognised front-man. So what do we have? A shadow number nine? A slap in the face for Torres? Feel free to debate this at length.

  245. 1602: 

    Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I've just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story... Cannonball! Sorry, no, Spain are not playing with a striker, repeat, Spain are not playing with a striker.

  246. 1600: 

    That's all from me today. Thanks for all your tweets and texts. Phil Dawkes is the man in the chair, and boy has he got some potentially big team news for you....

  247. 1557: 

    If you fancy watching a bit of video on the BBC Sport site, then you can watch Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso's views on how he thinks that the current match-fixing scandal dogging Italian football will not affect the national team.

  248.  

    West Brom and former Ireland midfielder Steven Reid on BBC Radio 5 live: "We already know the Ireland team, and they're going to be underdogs. That's how we like it. Keith Andrews and Glenn Whelan will sit in the midfield and spoil Croatia, as will one of the two strikers dropping off. Whelan is underrated. He's a very good footballer."

  249. 1554: 

    Damning statement from Motty about the Danes. They have got three points last time I checked.

  250.  

    Former Sunderland and Leeds manager Peter Reid on BBC Radio 5 live: "The Danes sat back, drew the Dutch on and got a result. Portugal, who are arguably better going forward, didn't have enough to beat the Germans. They sat back and tried to hit them on the counter with the pace of Ronaldo and Nani. In hindsight it would have been better for the Portuguese to go after the Germans, the way they did towards the end of the game."

  251.   
    John Motson, BBC Radio 5 live

    "I'm not convinced Denmark will go much further. Nicklas Bendtner never really rose above average in the game against Holland. As for Netherlands, having lost that game, it puts an awful lot of pressure on the next game against Germany. Lose against the Germans and Holland are on their way home."

  252.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Niall Barry on Twitter: "Literally cannot wait for the Ireland match!"

    Allan Wright on Twitter: "Think Torres will deliver in this tournament. He finished the season strong and has extra confidence now he is Chelsea's main man."

    Rory Smith on Twitter: "Croatia have been underestimated. They can feasibly get to the quarter-finals ahead of Italy. Would be quite a match against England..."

  253. 1547: 

    Using the BBC Earth Cam* (which allows me to see where everybody is on this planet) I can tell that a few more of you have come back in from a lovely day out and settled down for another feast of Euro 2012 football.

    I'm here for a few more minutes but join Phil Dawkes from about 16:00 BST who will cover both Group C matches.

    He wants your tweets and texts ahead of the clashes between Spain and Italy and Republic of Ireland and Croatia.

    So tweet by using #bbcfootball and text 81111 (UK only)

    *No such thing as BBC Earth Cam

  254. 1540: 

    Now Spain - who I think have an outside chance of winning this tournament (wink) - have, it is quite safe to say, a few good players in their squad.

    But coach Vicente del Bosque has picked out Barcelona magician Andres Iniesta as the man who is the side's key to success.

    Read his thoughts on the BBC Euro 2012 site.

  255.   
    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Euro 2012

    "Roy Hodgson and Steven Gerrard made all the right noises about conditions in Donetsk, but it is very hot and humid as the players train."

  256.   
    John Motson, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Holland had 25 or 26 shots on goal and failed to score. What does that tell us? I don't think Robin van Persie was at the races in the same way he has been this season for Arsenal. That doesn't surprise me. You always have tournaments where players finish their domestic season then find it hard to sustain their play all the way through a major championship. But then the Dutch did lose their first game in 1988 then went on to win the tournament."

  257. 1530: 

    More words of wisdom from Motty coming up...

  258. 1529: 

    My colleague Phil Dawkes, who will be taking over from me at about 16:00 BST, disagrees with Peter Reid and reckons Italy can win it. I think that's what he said.

    Will there be a surprise winner of the championship? Tweet us at #bbcfootball and text 81111 (UK only)

  259.  

    Former Sunderland and Leeds manager Peter Reid on BBC Radio 5 live: "The Italians go into competitions very, very doggedly. I don't fancy then to win it, but never under-estimate what the Italians can come up with. There are scandals and enquiries in the Italian league, but they somehow get it together at tournaments. They usually start slow and get stronger."

  260.   
    John Motson, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Spain are not quite as invincible as their previous two championships suggest. They lost to Switzerland in the opening game in South Africa. Italy beat them in a friendly earlier this year, as did England. Barcelona and Real Madrid didn't make the final of the Champions League. Spain are not unchallengeable."

  261.  

    Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague on Twitter: "Negredo or Torres? Id put all my money on Torres to start :-)"

  262. 1519: 

    Steven Reid was, of course, referring to the next Euro 2012 match on the schedule - champions Spain v Italy (17:00 BST).

    I wonder if Torres will start... I wonder if Torres will start... I wonder...

  263. 1515: 

    West Brom and former Ireland midfielder Steven Reid on BBC Radio 5 live: "At the end of last season Fernando Torres started to show glimpses of what he can do. If he's going to get back to his best than there's no bigger stage than this. Maybe Torres can burst back onto the scene."

  264.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Matty Evans on Twitter: "Mats Hummels was class yesterday. With Kagawa and possibly Lewandowski on the way out of Dortmund, he could be looking for a move..."

    Cam Natale on Twitter: "Giovinco, Montolivo and Balotelli can potentially cause Spain problems today. Don't write off the Italians!"

    Sam Barker on Twitter: "At least Arsenal are safe in the knowledge that no clubs will want to buy Robin van Persie after yesterday's performance..."

  265. 1511: 

    Here are more of your 'shop window' players of the tournament so far...

  266. 1510: 

    What of Croatia? Does Alen Boksic still play up front for them? What? No?

    Right, I better read David Ornstein's piece about the small nation with flair players.

  267. 1504: 

    The BBC's Chris Bevan caught up with Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli, who reveals how both he and coach Giovanni Trapattoni have got the team "thinking Italian".

    Read the feature on the Euro 2012 page.

    Meanwhile, former international Kevin Kilbane has told BBC Sport the Irish don't fear opponents Croatia.

  268.  

    Former Sunderland and Leeds manager Peter Reid on BBC Radio 5 live: "Ireland's team is built on spirit. To qualify for this championship is in itself an achievement, and now they've got to go one step further and qualify from what is a tough group. Richard Dunne will be instrumental, as will Shay Given. They are going to be crucial."

  269. 1457: 

    Before England begin their campaign against fellow Group D heavyweights France on Monday, it's the turn of Group C sides Spain, Italy, Republic of Ireland and Croatia.

    First up is champions Spain v Italy at 17:00 BST followed by Republic of Ireland v Croatia at 19:45 BST.

    Time to look ahead to what could prove to be two thrillers.

  270. 1448: 

    So there you go. England coach Roy Hodgson was asked by a French journalist from Associated Press whether he thought England were a great team.

    Hodgson just about stopped short of the "we invented football" line, but was fully aware that England had won diddly-squat since before man walked on the moon.

    What are your thoughts? Tweet us at #bbcfootball or text 81111 (UK only).

  271.   
    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Euro 2012

    "Crushing words from Ukrainian lady at the Euro 2012 accreditation desk in Donetsk: 'Maybe it is time for a new picture for you sir'."

  272.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Matt in Bristol on text: "A good target for England would be to get out of the group as winners, or even to get out of the group. Haven't beaten a top team in a tournament since 2002, never beaten Sweden competitively, and Ukraine are at a home tournament. This is a challenge, especially without Rooney in the first game and the numerous injuries. Hopefully the lack of expectation will relax England. I still can't help getting excited and day-dream of the best start to a summer of sport."

  273. 1440: 

    England coach Roy Hodgson: "I don't think we can ever be accused of not being a top football nation, but the fact that it has been 1966 since we won a major tournament is always something that is in our minds, you didn't need me to remind me of that, it has crossed my mind from time to time.

    "But we start this tournament as one of 16 teams that can win it."

    The live video stream of the news conference has ended.

  274. 1438: 

    England coach Roy Hodgson on the racism issue: "I have great faith in Uefa. It will be up to them to give us, the FA [Football Association] and the football team the guidelines in certain situations."

    England captain Steven Gerrard: "I wouldn't encourage them to walk off the pitch, but if a player did come to me and say they had been racially abused I would take it to the referee and they would then take it up with Uefa.

    "I would certainly support any of the players who came to me."

  275. 1436: 

    England captain Steven Gerrard: "Any squad would miss the likes of Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry but we all have to share that responsibility.

    "We are very confident we can do well in this competition."

    England coach Roy Hodgson: "Everyone is fit, 23 players will be out on the pitch to train later today.

    "It does get hot in England from time to time. It is very important we don't put too much emphasis on that."

  276. 1433: 

    England coach Roy Hodgson: "I just hope they play like they are capable of playing. We have team full of players who are major stars in their own league.

    "I see these players performing week in and week out and playing to the best of their ability I just hope they can reproduce that tomorrow night."

    England captain Steven Gerrard: "The spirit in the camp is fantastic. The preparation has been fantastic and we are itching to get started."

    Watch the live news conference by clicking on the video at the top of the page.

  277. 1431: 

    England captain Steven Gerrard: "We will be ready for the French on Monday.

    "It's hot, but it is hot for both teams. We won't use the conditions as an excuse."

  278. 1429: 

    England coach Roy Hodgson: "We have full respect for the French team as we should have, but I also know the players believe in themselves, so let's see what we can do.

    "It is a stern challenge. We are facing a team that is in great form - 21 matches unbeaten at any level of football is a fine achievement. But when you come to big tournaments it is often not about form, but how your team play on the night."

    Watch the live news conference at the top of the page.

  279. 1428: 

    England coach Roy Hodgson: "It is a bit premature for me to make any bold statements.

    "It has been an intense three weeks, but it has been a three weeks where I felt like I have been accepted by the group. The players have made it very easy for me to get my feet under the table."

  280. 1427: 

    England coach Roy Hodgson: "It's a massive occasion. It has been an exciting month with the team. The players have worked very hard and we are very excited that the tournament begins in earnest.

    "It is always nice to hear your players are going out to win the game and are preparing to win the game."

    Watch the live news conference at the top of this page.

  281. 1424: 

    The England news conference has started. Watch the video at the top of the page.

  282. 1420: 

    Meanwhile, Spain's Group C opponents, Italy, are faced with a poser in attack.

    Read James Horncastle's view on the situation faced by coach Cesare Prandelli.

    Has Paolo Rossi retired?

  283. 1419: 

    While we wait for the news conference to start, fancy some light reading?

    Find out what ex-international Gaizka Mendieta thinks of Spain's chances at the tournament on the Euro 2012 page.

    My answer: They'll probably win it.

  284. 1411: 

    The England news conference is imminent. England coach Roy Hodgson and captain Steven Gerrard will be facing the journalists. You can watch the conference on this page.

  285. 1408: 

    Former Sunderland and Leeds manager Peter Reid on BBC Radio 5 live: "Giovanni Trapattoni knows his Ireland side and, I think, everybody in football knows his side. It has plenty of experience, though Croatia have some decent players and the boy Jelavic has been a sensation at Everton. He's one they're going to have to look out for."

  286.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Oscar Haines on Twitter: "Jetro Willems was very impressive and confident for such a young player. One to keep your eye on."

    Callum Sheppard on Twitter: "Without taking the attention off of Krohn-Dehli, that Simon Poulsen had a cracking game in defence yesterday."

    Kaspar Larsen on Twitter: "I sure hope people don't talk too much about Krohn-Dehli. He was practically holding our Brondby team together this season."

  287. 1403: 

    More football 'shop window' suggestions...

  288. 1401: 

    Do you agree with Steven Reid? I'll stick with my belief that the Republic will make the semi-finals. Feel free to mock - #bbcfootball or text 81111 (UK only)

  289. 1359: 

    West Brom and former Republic of Ireland midfielder Steven Reid on BBC Radio 5 live: "Ireland are going to be organised and hard to beat. I fancy them to sneak through behind Spain, who will win the group. I don't think Italy are the force they were. I'm going for a draw against Croatia tonight."

  290. 1358: 

    It was mentioned by the Match of the Day team on Saturday, but why did Portugal, with so much forward talent in their team, play defensively against Germany?

    Portugal legend Luis Figo believes the current side failed to make the best use of Real Madrid goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo.

    "I think the team need to give him the chances to have a good performance," said former world player of the year Figo.

    "Cristiano's style is to finish, to score, so if the team don't produce those kind of opportunities then of course his performance is down."

  291. 1351: 

    West Brom and former Republic of Ireland midfielder Steven Reid on BBC Radio 5 live: "I retired from international football a couple of years ago and said I wouldn't miss it. I think I lied! Today, with all the build-up and atmosphere, it really hits home. This is all about two years of preparation, not just about today."

  292. 1349: 

    On a slightly more serious note, the Russia football federation has asked its fans to behave following reports of violence during the country's 4-1 Group A victory over Czech Republic in Wroclaw on Friday.

    "Respect yourself, your home and your team," said a statement on the national association website.

  293.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Untitled on Twitter: "People will talk about Krohn-Delhi and rightly so, but I think Simon Kjaer put himself firmly in the shop window yesterday."

    Ben Serrano on Twitter: "Without a doubt in my mind, Wesley Sneijder. The passes he made belong in a Champions League team, not Europa League."

  294. 1339: 

    Right. I asked about which players had put themselves in the 'shop window'. You've been tweeting #bbcfootball senseless...

  295.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Dale in Derby on text: "Dzagoev will be at Madrid or a top Premier League team in a year or so. Phenomenal player. Salpingidis is the definition of a super-sub, and Mario Gomez will score if you threaten to substitute him!"

  296. 1333: 

    Before England coach Roy Hodgson comes out for the latest news conference, I thought I'd flag up this quote from Saturday.

    He said: "What is a success? I haven't set targets like that. So many targets are set for you, why bother to set them yourself?"

    I guess success is winning the tournament. So England fans out there, what do you think will be the measure of success for your team?

    Sorry, heavy question for Sunday. It can be a short answer or a Twitter thesis. Tweet us at #bbcfootball.

  297.  

    Tweet us with your thoughts on what you thought of Saturday's action at #bbcfootball or text us at 81111 (UK only).

    Which player do you think has put themselves in football's 'shop window'*?

    *You can find ' the shop window' next to the 'transfer window' at any major football terminology warehouses.

  298. 1323: 

    Germany 1-0 Portugal

    German newspaper Bild carry a no-frills headline that suitably reflects the no-frills 1-0 victory for Germany over Portugal in their opening Group B match.

    Löw-Elf startet mit Sieg in die EM - Loew's 11 start with victory at Championship

    "The title contenders Germany struggled in vain against Portugal for long periods, but won thanks to a late header goal by Mario Gomez for a somewhat flattering 1-0 win."

    This was the take of Portuguese newspaper Diário de Notícias.

    Alemanha volta a pôr Portugal em crise no Euro- Germany puts Portugal into Euro crisis

    "The Portuguese national team twice hit the crossbar and had several chances to score a late equaliser, but left Lviv defeated and will have to beat Denmark in four days."

  299. 1318: 

    Netherlands 0-1 Denmark

    Danish website Sporten DK understandably avoid being understated for one of Denmark's finest wins:

    SENSATION! Konge-Krohn nedlagde Holland - SENSATION! King-Krohn defeats Holland

    "It was a proud moment for coach Morten Olsen. When the referee blew the full-time whistle in Kharkiv, he stood with a proud look in his eyes. He had just witnessed a pure masterpiece. Created by himself. With Michael Krohn-Dehli the painter of one of Europe's biggest shocks."

    This was the view of Dutch paper De Telegraaf:

    DRAMATISCH VERLIES ORANJE - Dramatic defeat for Oranje

    "The defeat coupled with the victory for Germany against Portugal means that the Oranje will almost certainly have to win their last two two group matches to progress, otherwise they face exiting the tournament before the knockout phase for the first time since 1980."

  300. 1315: 

    Before that, let's take a look back at Saturday's action. This is what the papers in the respective countries had to say...

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