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Tottenham Hotspur's Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka help Croatia to Euro 2012 victory over Republic of Ireland
10:09am Monday 11th June 2012 in Spurs
Spurs duo Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka both played 90 minutes of Croatia’s Euro 2012 opener as Slaven Bilic’s side secured a 3-1 victory over Republic of Ireland.
Wolfsburg’s Mario Mandzukic headed the Croatians in front after just three minutes but the Irish battled their way back into the contest and levelled when Leicester City’s Sean St Ledger nodded home at the back post.
However, with Giovanni Trapattoni’s men appealing without joy for an offside flag, Everton’s Nikica Jelavic lifted the ball over Shay Given just before half time to re-establish the advantage.
And just minutes after the break, the lead was doubled when Mandzukic’s strike from distance struck the post but rebounded its way into the net via Given’s head, with the Irish stopper unfortunate to get the telling touch.
Niko Kranjcar, who has just agreed a move from Spurs to Dynamo Kiev, replaced Jelavic with 20 minutes to play and both he and Modric found their way into the referee’s notebook, while former White Hart Lane favourite Robbie Keane went close for the Irish but they were unable to find a second goal.
Both sides will be back in action on Thursday as Croatia take on Italy in Poznan, while Ireland face world champions Spain in Gdansk.