Throwing players forward in the
second half helped contain the Italian attack and was the key to
Croatia's fightback to draw 1-1 in Euro 2012 Group C on
Thursday, Croatia coach Slaven Bilic said.
Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic struck his third goal of the
tournament against Italy who let their opponents off the hook
after taking the lead and dominating the first half.
Bilic said a big problem in the early stages was that the
Italians had too much space in midfield and took advantage of
the gaps to create chances.
"I have to congratulate my team for showing the willpower
and character to fight back in the second half," Bilic told
"We had a lot of problems containing [Mario] Balotelli and [Antonio] Cassano in the first half because our midfield was
stretched against theirs but we adjusted our strategy in the
second half and threw more men forward."
Croatia have four points from two games and Italy two points
despite a refreshingly positive approach to the tournament.
The Croatian players said the win would only increase their
confidence going into their final group match against Spain.
"We weren't good enough in the first half but we regrouped
at half-time and in the second half we dominated and got a
deserved equaliser," defender Vedran Corluka said.
"We still have work to do in our last group match against
Spain but we are confident of progressing to the quarter-finals
after this hard earned point."
Ireland face Spain in Gdansk in the other Group C match on
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