FIFA WORLD CUP

Ibaraki Kashima, Ibaraki, Japan

Referee: Graham Poll | Attendance: 36472

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Italy

  • Christian Vieri 56'

1 - 2

FT

Croatia

  • Ivica Olic 73'
  • Milan Rapajc 77'
  • 90'

    And they've done it! A drab first half, an often absorbing second: Croatia grab two quick goals to seal a memorable 2-1 comeback victory

  • 90'

    ...but it's poor, and it's cleared. Croatia so close now

  • 90'

    Italy have a free-kick out wide on the right - this could be the last chance...

  • 90'

    ...but the 'goal' is ruled out - the linesman had seen some shirt-pulling and the flag goes up

  • 90'

    Late drama... there's a tangle in the Croatia area, Inzaghi gets the faintest of touches and the ball rolls in...

  • 90'

    Totti tumbles in the penalty area - referee Poll is unmoved by that...

  • 90'

    Panucci meets it, but his header is much too high. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played

  • 90'

    Zambrotta's in the thick of the action again, winning a corner

  • 89'

    The rebound eludes Italy's waiting players... twice they've come agonisingly close to levelling the scores

  • 89'

    Zambrotta has something to say about that: he fires in an excellent shot from the edge of the box and Pletikosa makes a good stop

  • 88'

    Croatia clear, and win a throw. They're a couple of minutes or so away from a superb win...

  • 87'

    Totti hits an absolute screamer which whizzes past Pletikosa, hits the inside of the post and stays out. A brilliant effort - he's very unlucky

  • 87'

    Inzaghi tumbles under a challenge around 30 yards out and central - chance for Italy, and Totti, to do something here

  • 86'

    Angelo Di Livio is set to come on - Italy's final throw of the dice

  • 85'

    Totti makes a heavy challenge on Saric, giving away the free-kick

  • 84'

    Totti's attempted cross is blocked: Croatia fans more than happy with that

  • 83'

    Throw to Italy near the Croatia area: will the late pressure start here?

  • 83'

    Croatia substitute Olic is down after a challenge, but he'll be OK to continue

  • 82'

    Inzaghi does well, twisting inside the Croatia penalty area. Robert Kovac steps in to end that danger

  • 81'

    Cannavaro is struggling under the pressure of another Croatia attack, but recovers in time to get the ball away

  • 80'

    Italy get a free-kick, try to take it quickly and waste it: Totti's delivery is too far ahead of Inzaghi

  • 80'

    Into the last ten minutes of a match that has really come to life

  • 79'

    Inzaghi is on for Doni, and Simic will replace goalscorer Rapajc

  • 78'

    Croatia getting ready to make another substitution - meanwhile, they win a free-kick. Italy will make a change too...

  • 77'

    Unbelievable events here: can shellshocked Italy find a way back into the match?

  • 76'

    ...and the ball rebounds to Rapajc, who hooks it over his shoulder and into the corner from almost the edge of the area. Croatia have turned it right around - they lead 2-1!

  • 76'

    Rapajc crosses after another good run - it's really opening up now, this game...

  • 75'

    ...and Olic sets off on a barnstorming run, with the final cross causing plenty of flutters in the Italian defence before being cleared

  • 75'

    So nearly two goals in two minutes for Croatia...

  • 74'

    Maldini responds by firing in a shot for Italy - Boksic, though, breaks away and his cross from the right is agonisingly close to being turned in by Rapajc

  • 73'

    Back to the other end - Jarni crosses and Olic, the substitute, gets on the end of it inside the six yard box. He flicks it past Buffon and it's 1-1!

  • 72'

    ...he charges in on goal, but hacks wildly at the final shot and it flies high and wide

  • 72'

    Rapajc swings a free-kick into the area: the delivery is poor and Italy break with Vieri...

  • 71'

    ...and, by and large, they're looking pretty comfortable at the moment

  • 70'

    Italy have plenty of players behind the ball every time Croatia come forward...

  • 69'

    It's too long, but not by much. A little over 20 minutes left for the Croats to try and salvage their situation

  • 68'

    Another cross will come in, Boksic the supplier...

  • 67'

    Cannavaro cuts out an attempted through pass - Jarni gets it back and crosses, but Materazzi is in the right place to produce an excellent clearing header

  • 66'

    Soldo is off and Jurica Vranjes on: another Croatia switch

  • 66'

    Zambrotta makes a good run, but messes up the final ball: it's neither cross nor shot and is easy for Pletikosa

  • 66'

    ...but Italy are beginning to stamp some superiority on proceedings now. It's going to be tough for their opponents

  • 65'

    Croatia give the ball away dangerously, but recover well to win it back. They have to start pushing forward now...

  • 64'

    ...but the cross just eludes his waiting colleagues. Nice movement from Italy there, though

  • 63'

    Vieri releases Doni with a smart first-time flick. He's got space on the left...

  • 62'

    Italy try to cause more problems with another cross: Pletikosa is equal to that one

  • 61'

    Rapajc delivers a poor dead ball for Croatia - it fails to beat the first man and is a waste of a promising situation

  • 60'

    Then Soldo is forced into another good clearance following a whipped cross into the heart of the Croatia danger zone

  • 60'

    Vieri is waiting again as a cross comes in - this time, there's a good clearing header

  • 59'

    Italy deal with that scramble: it now remains to be seen whether they settle for 1-0 or push on for further goals

  • 58'

    He's quickly into the action, hitting a shot which is blocked on the edge of the box

  • 57'

    Vugrinec comes off and Ivica Olic comes on in his place

  • 56'

    Croatia have to find a response, otherwise they're on their way home... they'll make a substitution

  • 55'

    Suddenly, the breakthrough... Doni crosses well from the right and Vieri climbs well to loop a great header beyond Pletikosa. It's 1-0 Italy!

  • 55'

    More midfield scrappery... free-kick to Croatia for handball, but it comes to nothing

  • 54'

    It skids into the area, and Croatia manage to hack it clear

  • 53'

    Totti lurking on the edge of the area, and he's fouled by Robert Kovac. Potentially dangerous free-kick here...

  • 53'

    Cannavaro meets the flag kick with a good header out - Rapajc strikes a long-range shot, but it poses little real threat to Buffon's goal

  • 52'

    And Croatia react to that scare by going straight to the other end and winning a corner. Noise from their supporters now

  • 52'

    So it remains goalless - although an Italian lead would have been harsh on Croatia

  • 51'

    Vieri is booked for his protests, but he seemed to be in line with the last defender and therefore onside

  • 50'

    He nods home but the flag is up for offside, and that looks a contentious decision

  • 49'

    Doni is brought down and Italy attempt to work the free-kick towards the area... it's looped in towards Vieri

  • 49'

    Nico Kovac on the ball... Boksic and Vugrinec combine, but weight of numbers in the Italian defence brings a halt to that move

  • 48'

    So they're all still awake, which is nice

  • 47'

    Totti looks to set things in motion with a sweeping ball down the left... it results in a throw, and there's a bit of noise from the Italian fans now

  • 47'

    Boksic tries to get on the end of that, but it's just overhit and skims away to safety from the Italian point of view

  • 46'

    Italy inside their own half - they give it away and Croatia can cross...

  • 45'

    We're under way in the second period. Please let it be better. Please, please, please

  • 45'

    The half-time whistle goes and it's 0-0. Very, very 0-0

  • 45'

    At the other end, Croatia have a free-kick - but there's no time to take it

  • 45'

    Panucci crosses again, and Vieri just fails to get on the end of that pass

  • 45'

    They deal with it well, and we're into stoppage time at the end of this first period

  • 45'

    ...but then Panucci plays a decent ball in and there are one or two anxious moments before the Croats clear and concede a corner

  • 45'

    Dull though it's been, Croatia certainly deserve to be winning on the balance of efforts on goal

  • 44'

    Doni takes a knock, but he's soon OK... Rapajc gets in a shot after an neat move featuring Middlesbrough's Boksic, but Buffon is in the right place to make a low save

  • 43'

    Vugrinec gets his attempted through pass wrong with players in support... but Croatia have played the more incisive football thus far

  • 42'

    Another free-kick to Italy, again in midfield. Niggle, niggle, niggle

  • 41'

    Rapajc tries to enliven matters, and life in general, by whizzing into the Italy penalty area. His attempted final ball is blocked without too much difficulty, however

  • 40'

    Italy look a little cagey (why?), and Croatia have had some good moments - but it's scrappy and stop-start. Not a game to capture the imagination

  • 39'

    The free-kick is wasted, hurried and overhit. This has been a pretty drab first half overall

  • 39'

    Another free-kick to Italy, Totti crashing to the ground like a felled tree. Robert Kovac is booked for the challenge

  • 38'

    He clips one towards Vieri, but it picks up a bit of pace and runs through to keeper Pletikosa

  • 37'

    It's cleared without too many problems: Italy, however, win possession back and Totti is on the ball once more

  • 37'

    Zanetti challenges strongly and the end result as an Italian corner

  • 36'

    Totti picks up a pass from Vieri and is fouled... free-kick to Italy, a short way inside the Croatian half...

  • 36'

    His cross is disappointing though - it causes no problems at all for the Croatia defence

  • 35'

    Panucci has space on the right for Italy after some crisp midfield play...

  • 34'

    Vieri shows some good skill to turn inside the Croastia half. He's eventually outnumbered, but signs of a few more attacking intentions from Italy all of a sudden

  • 33'

    Another Italian pass forward - this one aimed at Totti - is too long

  • 32'

    Doni looks for Vieri down the middle... the ball's just overhit and goes out for a goal-kick

  • 31'

    Nothing - Croatia get it away and then Pletikosa claims the follow-up cross with plenty of confidence

  • 31'

    Which ends with a free-kick in a promising position. What can they make of this?

  • 30'

    They're struggling to create any danger - but Vieri sets off on a run...

  • 30'

    Maldini slices the ball straight out of play - Italy aren't looking at all impressive at the moment

  • 29'

    Rapajc has a go - his low shot, which takes a slight deflection, is well fielded by Buffon

  • 28'

    And here come Croatia once more... they look for Boksic but Italy, scrappily and uncertainly, hack it away from the danger zone

  • 27'

    The cross is curled in well, but the header is over the top. Decent spell from Croatia following a period of sleepy play in the game as a whole

  • 26'

    Materazzi makes a miraculous clearance as Vugrinec closes in on goal following more good Croatia passing... it's a corner

  • 25'

    Good movement from Croatia ends with Soldo having a shot from just outside the area. It's not too far wide of Buffon's far post

  • 24'

    Totti tries his luck from all of 40 yards following a free-kick - predictably, from that distance, the effort fails to trouble anyone

  • 23'

    Indeed he can't, and Materazzi will come on to replace him

  • 22'

    Nesta's picked up a knock, and may not be able to continue...

  • 22'

    Vugrinec takes advantage from the throw-in, striking an excellent shot from distance which Buffon clings on to

  • 21'

    Totti - uncharacteristically - gets it all wrong, putting a pass straight out of play

  • 20'

    Kovac is again involved, winning a free-kick around half-way after a Tomassi challenge

  • 19'

    Already, Croatia are unrecognisable from the team that performed so tamely against Mexico

  • 18'

    Kovac does brilliantly to jink into the Italy area, and only a last-gasp Cannavaro interception prevents Croatia from carving out a great opportunity

  • 17'

    Croatia pressure well to force Italy into some hurried passing - and then give the ball away carelessly after winning it back

  • 16'

    Doni looked as though he was going to get right through the Croatia defence

  • 16'

    Good goalkeeping, and the first moment of real threat from the Italians

  • 15'

    Doni gets a shot in, and it's blocked by Pletikosa

  • 15'

    Good play by Tomas, who closes down Totti before the dangerman gets a chance to turn... but the ball goes into the area...

  • 14'

    Italy just playing the ball around at the back, trying to find their range... it's been a decent enough start to the game overall

  • 13'

    Zanetti plays a long ball towards Totti, who's crowded out by Croatian defenders

  • 12'

    Maldini clears and Jarni lines up a long-range effort which is far too high

  • 12'

    They try to do just that - and the ball deflects away for a corner

  • 11'

    Maldini dumps Vugrinec to the ground out wide on the right - Croatia can swing this free-kick into the heart of the penalty area...

  • 10'

    Jarni is thwarted by Panucci after a good run down the left had seen him almost engineer a good crossing position - decent play by Croatia once more

  • 10'

    Panucci crosses well towards Vieri, who gets a flick to the ball but is unable to direct it goalwards

  • 9'

    Boksic can't hold onto the ball, though, and Italy win it back comfortably enough

  • 9'

    Nesta fouls Rapajc on half-way, and it's another free-kick for Croatia

  • 8'

    It's a changed line-up, of course - no Davor Suker or Robert Prosinecki

  • 8'

    Jarni plays it forward, and Panucci is there with a good interception. Croatia beginning to enjoy their own good little spell now

  • 7'

    Nico Kovac is brought down by Zanetti on halfway... Rapajc tries to make headway down the left, but the ball zips out for a goal-kick

  • 6'

    The Croats can build again - Nico Kovac lifts the ball forward and Buffon comes out to collect

  • 5'

    Soldo comes forward from the back for Croatia, but his attempted crossfield pass is easily cut out

  • 5'

    A good start by Italy, who are playing plenty of positive football

  • 4'

    From that, Panucci goes on to win a corner. Zambrotta tries his luck from distance, and keeper Pletikosa holds on well

  • 4'

    It's Totti who hits it - the Croatia wall stands firm and the ball deflects away for a throw to Italy

  • 3'

    Yet again... he takes a tumble inside the D after a challenge by Tomas and wins his side a very dangerous early free-kick

  • 2'

    Totti's soon involved again - Jarni's there with a well-timed challenge

  • 1'

    Totti gets his first touch down the right, but the offside flag goes up

  • 1'

    Jarni plays it in, but referee Graham Poll had spotted some pushing and Italy have the free-kick

  •  

    And it's Croatia who get matters under way... Italy are soon forced to concede a corner after Rapajc's break

  •  

    Croatia facing the toughest of tasks - they must find a dramatic improvement on their performance against Mexico

COMPLETE TEAM CLOSE X
Goal Shot Video
  •  
  • Shots (on goal)

  • tackles

  • Fouls

  • possession

  • Italy

  • 9(6)

  • -

  • 26

  • 45%

    55%

  • Croatia

  • 10(7)

  • -

  • 21

Croatia

Line-up
POS No Name

G

1 Stipe Pletikosa

D

3 Josip Simunic

D

4 Stejpan Tomas

D

15 Danijel Saric

D

17 Robert Jarni

D

21 Robert Kovac

M

5 Milan Rapajc
D
20 Dario Simic

M

7 Davor Vugrinec
F
18 Ivica Olic

M

10 Nico Kovac

M

14 Zvonimir Soldo
M
16 Jurica Vranjes

F

11 Alen Boksic
 
Substitutes
POS No Name
D 20 Dario Simic
M 16 Jurica Vranjes
F 18 Ivica Olic

Match Stats

  • Italy
  • Croatia
9(6) Shots (on goal) 10(7)
26 Fouls 21
5 Corner kicks 4
3 Offsides 0
45% Time of Possession 55%
1 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
5 Saves 4
Comments

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