Italy 1-1 Croatia: Pirlo dictates first half, Croatia dominate the second after half-time switch

June 15, 2012
Italy 1-1 Croatia: Pirlo dictates first half, Croatia dominate the second after half-time switch

Croatia initially had problems with Italy’s 3-5-2, but a clever half-time switch by Slaven Bilic got them back into the game.

Cesare Prandelli kept the same formation and starting XI, so Mario Balotelli remained upfront despite Antonio Di Natale’s impact as a substitute in the 1-1 draw against Spain.

Bilic rewarded the eleven players that played in the 3-1 win over Ireland with a second start.

A game of two halves. In the first, Italy recorded 11 shots compared to Croatia’s three. In the second, Croatia ‘won’ this statistic 7-3, summing up the change in the balance of play. Read more »

Spain 4-0 Ireland: whitewash

June 14, 2012
Spain 4-0 Ireland: whitewash

The biggest win of Euro 2012 so far.

Vicente del Bosque made one change, leaving out Cesc Fabregas and playing with a proper striker – Fernando Torres started upfront.

Giovanni Trapattoni also made a single change upfront – Kevin Doyle dropped out, and Simon Cox started behind Robbie Keane.

Spain were clearly the better side here – so much so, that the tactical battle was almost non-existent. Ireland did well to get to half-time at only 0-1, but Spain wrapped the game up soon into the second half. Neither side did anything different or unusual tactically. Read more »

Germany 2-1 Holland: German flexibility outwits the static Dutch midfield

June 14, 2012
Germany 2-1 Holland: German flexibility outwits the static Dutch midfield

The second excellent Group B game of the night, and another encounter decided by superiority in one particular zone.

Jogi Löw continued with the same starting XI that defeated Portugal on Saturday.

Despite widespread predictions that Holland would change at least one of their front four, Bert van Marwijk’s selection featured only one change, with Ron Vlaar dropping out of the side now Joris Mathijsen was fit to start. Clearly, van Marwijk believed that the majority of Holland’s play against Denmark was good – it was just the finishing that let them down.

Germany were much the better side here – they were more comfortable on the ball, their movement was better and they played at a quicker tempo. It was something of a surprise to see them hanging on towards the end of the game, having been so superior in the first half. Read more »