Full-time - 90'
1 - 1
16:00 +00:00, June 14, 2012
Poznan Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland
Here's hoping for more drama in tonight's Spain v Ireland clash. After a quick pasta dinner, I'll be on comm there too. Fernando Torres starts for Spain.
Bilic clearly tinkered with his tactics at half time and it paid dividends. Italy looked untroubled until the second half, when Mandzukic and Jelavic pushed a little wider and managed to get on the ball far more. Italy will be unhappy with two points from two and Chiellini has to take the blame for Croatia's goal. It was a brilliant finish though.
FULL TIME - another very good game of football. Italy excellent in the opening half but Croatia took over in the second. A draw much better for Croatia than Italy, who will have to rely on other results going their way should Spain beat Ireland later.
Giovinco offers up possession far too easily and Eduardo comes way with the ball on the break but he delays too long and the opening is gone.
What a terrible waste from Pirlo, as his delivery is nodded clear by the first man, completely at odds with his performance today.
Mandzukic stays down after fouling Montilivo. Pirlo not happy thinking he is time wasting. I couldn't possibly comment. Kranjcar replaces the striker.
Mandzukic fouls Montilivo as he tracks back. Pirlo will deliver from a wide left position. Chiellini up.
What a wasted opportunity. Super ball from Marchisio, Montilivo takes it off Giovinco's foot, then Pirlo lingers too long to get a shot off and the chance is gone.
So nearly again for Pirlo as he touches the ball away from Vukojevic and tries to find Di Natale.
Strinic delivers a high ball that Buffon is out to claim. Five minutes added time....
Nice turn from Eduardo and a good pass out to Strinic but he tries to belt it in the top corner and only succeeds in finding the top corner of the stand behind the goal.
Italy have to be careful not to concede another here. That could spell the end of their tournament.
Giovinco now fouls Vukojevic. Lots of stoppages in this second half.
Cynical from Schildenfeld as Giovinco tried to speed past him on the right flank. He puts his arm across and is rightly carded.
Giovinco's cross is hacked behind by Schildenfeld but the corner is over everyone.
Italy also make a change as Cassano goes off for Giovinco. Same change as in Italy's first match.
Jelavic hasn't had the best of his days and he is replaced by Eduardo.
What a chance for Croatia as they break three on three. Mandzukic gives it wide to Jelavic but his cross is right at Chiellini. That was very poor.
Mario Mandzukic has had only four shots at Euro 2012 but has scored with three of them.
Another head injury and Montilivo is carded for his barge on Mandzukic.
Italy need to push for a winner you'd have to think. Should it stay this way and Spain win, they'd trail both Croatia and Spain by two points.
Maggio is flagged offside from a lovely Cassano ball. That was marginal. He missed anyway.
Fierce effort from Montilivo that forces Pletikosa to punch clear. It had a wobble on it.
Croatia's fans are going bonkers. Great noise from their end. We could do without the flares though.
Another flare was lobbed towards the pitch after the goal and now the smoke has infiltrated the pitch, causing Buffon to complain to Howard Webb. A pause in play while we let the smoke clear.
What a fine finish that was. As Chiellini missed the ball I thought he had to try and nod the ball home from six yards but his touch was immaculate and the finish emphatic. Three goals in the tournament for Mandzukic now.
GOAL Mandzukic equalises! It had been coming and what a cool finish. Chiellini misjudges a cross, Mandzukic controls perfectly then fires into the roof of the net.
Balotelli is brought off again, for the man who scored against Spain, Antonio Di Natale.
A long throw into the box bounces inside the six yard box before Chiellini, cool as you like, nods it back to Buffon. That could have gone a bit wrong.
Perisic makes way for Danijel Pranjic.
Pirlo's radar is slightly off this time as he floats a ball into Pletikosa's arms. Still had too much time to try and pick out a team-mate though.
Buffon trots out to clear Bonucci's shank as Jelavic closed him down. Italy are the ones who need to push up a bit now.
Very poor ball from Srna. They need to get Modric on the ball as often as possible.
Motta goes off for Montilivo. Part reaction to his booking and maybe to prevent retaliation on Srna. Or he is mildly concussed.
A thunderous effort from Balotelli as he unleashes one from 25 yards. The tango ball wobbles in the air but whistles over Pletikosa's bar.
Had the referee or any of his assistants seen that from Srna he'd be trotting off now I reckon. Not nice at all. Motta needs an ice pack on his head.
Croatia are playing well here but Modric gives away a free kick by bumping into De Rossi before Srna pole-axes Motta. That was nasty too - an elbow to the back of the head. Very nasty.
Lucky the ball wasn't airborne when Webb blew his whistle or else that would have been a Croatia penalty. There is a wrestling match going on at every corner.
Thiago Motta is booked for grabbing Jelavic's shirt and neck.
And Croatia win another corner.
A firecracker has been thrown onto the edge of the pitch by Croatia's fans - that could be another UEFA fine. Lots of smoke but play continues.
Another beautiful pass from Pirlo but Giaccherni is flagged offside. Wrongly, as it turns out.
Decent ball in from Rakitic but neither of Croatia's strikers attack it.
Pirlo celebrates his opener
Strinic nods the corner clear and Giaccherni tries another shot that flies miles over. Waste.
A deflected shot from Giaccherni, who has been very quiet, goes behind for a corner.
Much better from Croatia - they are pressing higher up and have moved themselves ten yards up the field.
A carbon copy of Modric's move from a moment ago - he steps inside and catches this shot more cleanly, but it was always rising.
Lovely from Croatia as Mandzukic's step over offers Modric good possession on the box edge - he cuts inside but scuffs his shot under pressure from Pirlo.
We begin again....
I can also highly recommend Mark Lomas's On the Road blog from Ukraine. It involves a chat with a former mafia man, a variety of public transport and, of course, some hardcore footballing chatter.
Later on Ireland face a pretty large task - trying to get the better of world and European champions Spain. Why not have a little read of our match preview?
Pirlo has been the main man for Italy
Very enjoyable opening period that was. Italy looking very solid in their 3-5-2 set up and dominated as the game went on. Bilic will have to do something at half time to tweak Croatia's system.
HALF TIME - Good ball from Modric to Rakitic, he spins it into the channel for Mandzukic who takes on the shot from an angle when he should have crossed. Decent opening. And that is half time. A very entertaining 45 minutes with Italy deservedly in front.
Italy's tactical set up looks very good. They get numbers forward and back very quickly. Croatia not finding much space to operate in.
Pirlo's cross is met by Cassano at the near post but though he is close to goal he can't keep his glance down.
Italy continue to press forward as Cassano wins a corner. Croatia have disappeared in the last 15 mins.
The first goal from a free kick at Euro 2012, Soccernet's resident statto Dale Johnson reliably informs me.
The wall at fault there. They jumped and the ball squeezed in between. Keeper was slow to get across too - perhaps unsighted. A deserved lead for Italy though.
GOAL Pirlo scores! A pearler from Pirlo! He curls the ball into the near post and Pletikosa can't keep it out!
As the ball breals Chiellini is bundled over. Pirlo over the free kick.
Supreme double save from Pletikosa as Cassano threads a wonderful pass into Marchisio, who turns to find space then shoots fro eight yards - Pletikosa blocks then is up to stop the follow up too. Superb work.
Controversial call from Webb as he gifts Croatia a free kick when Corluka and Vukojevic bumped into each other. Cassano was in attendance but didn't do anything. Great chance was had play continued.
Balotelli realises he hasn't had a pop for a while so he promptly blasts a shot five yards wide from range.
Fantastic chance for Cassano after a gorgeous pass from Pirlo - he's dragged it wide from seven yards from an angle. Should do better. Must do better.
A scramble in the box as the ball breaks for Chiellini - he tries to feed Marchisio but his shot is blocked behind by Modric.
Balotelli is bumped by Strinic - maybe a bit of revenge for the earlier challenge. Webb keeping his cards in his pocket. Good man.
Italy turning the screw here but Croatia still a threat on the break.
Fabulous from Cassano as he jinks into the area but Schildenfeld does very well to get a toe to the ball before the striker could unload a shot or a cross.
Balotelli wins possession well and finds Marchisio but his pass is poor as he looks for Giaccherni. Mario and Cassano throw their hands skywards in a typically Italian fashion.
From the corner, Perisic rises well to meet the header but nods right at Buffon without much power.
Srna goes for goal, rather greedily, but wins a corner via a deflection.
Now De Rossi piles into Srna and concedes a free kick out wide right. Bit of a needless foul. Croatia can get good ball in here.
Clumsy nudge from Balotelli on Strinic as he rose to head the ball. He landed awkwardly as well. Not Super Mario's greatest idea.
Absorbing game. Good quality on show, fast pace to it. Lovely job.
Motta again looks for Balotelli over the top. Croatia's back line quite high it seems to me.
Late tackle from Maggio on Perisic. Free kick but no card, quite rightly.
Now Srna puts in a devilish ball towards the near post but Jelavic can't get a touch to turn it past Buffon, who grabs the ball at the second attempt.
Big decision from Webb as Strinic puts in a fabulous ball, there is a tumble in the box between Jelavic and Chiellini but Italy get the free kick. Not sure that is right.
Handball by Motta as Croatia attempt to clear the corner. Lots of shirt pulling in the box from the corner.
Balotelli faced with two players, falls over, wins the ball back, then forces a corner. Half good half bad.
Frustrating from Balotelli - with a better chest off there Giaccherni could have had a good sight of goal from 16 yards.
Balotelli does get his shot off this time as Cassano finds him on the box edge. A snapshot parried back out from Pletikosa.
Super work down the left from Strinic, as he takes on Maggio and stands up a good ball for Jelavic, but he can't get his head on it.
Speaking of which, Pirlo is allowed all the time in the world to clip a delightful pass over the top for Balotelli, whose lay-off for Cassano is not quite good enough.
Jelavic clips the everlasting Pirlo. Still a joy to watch.
Another ponderous chapter in Balotelli's Euros as Cassano finds him with a precise pass in the area but he waits to long to get a shot off. Then Marchisio rifles a shot narrowly over the bar.
Perisic's left wing run is curtailed by Bonucci, who turns the ball back to Buffon to clear.
A word for Chiellini as he barges Jelavic then holds him off the ball. Howard Webb is today's referee and is already gesticulating wildly.
Croatia clear comfortably and (stat alert) they have lost just one of their last six meetings against Italy, winning three.
An uncomfortable shank from Perisic as a cross came in from the right. It flies over the bar for an Italy corner.
Jelavic tries an ambitious hooked volley over his shoulder from a left wing cross but Buffon can catch it comfortably.
Mandzukic is a little late on Chiellini but for a big man he went down awfully easily.
Cracking atmosphere inside the stadium, but still lots of empty seats visible. Such a shame.
Chance for Balotelli - a turn in the box on a loose ball and a left-foot shot a yard wide with Pletikosa beaten. Sharp.
Bit of a frantic start to the game - the ball is pinging backwards and forwards.
KICK OFF - after the dreaded stadium countdown...
I'm really looking forward to this one. Italy showed against Spain this three at the back system allows them to be a bit more expansive than we might have thought. Croatia looked fluid against Ireland with Modric hugely influential and Jelavic and Mandzukic looking lively.
And finally finally, why not have a squiz at Dale Johnson's breakdown of who needs to do what to qualify from their groups.
And finally, Italy must face Croatia with the same spirit as against Spain to take all three points writes Sumeet Paul.
Still 25 minutes to kick off so here is some pre-match reading for your perusal. Dom Raynor's match preview is here while Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic has proved his worth ahead of the Italy clash writes Ante Kvartuc.
Unsurprisingly, Croatia are unchanged as well, after their 3-1 victory over Ireland on Sunday.
Italy are unchanged from the side that snared a promising draw with world champions Spain, meaning Balotelli and the controversial Cassano again start up front.
A victory here would put Croatia in a commanding position, with six points from two games. With Spain likely to beat Ireland, defeat for Italy would be a huge blow to their chances of making the last eight.
Good afternoon all and welcome to live coverage of Italy's Group C clash with Croatia in Poznan.