Spain and Italy share spoils, Croatia win comfortably

Updated: June 11, 2012

Croatia dealt a major blow to Ireland’s hopes of reaching the Euro quarter-finals beating them 3-1 in their Group C opener here on Sunday, with Mario Mandzukic scoring a double.

Spain’s gamble of starting without a recognised striker almost backfired when the holders needed a Cesc Fabregas equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw against Italy in their Euro 2012 Group C opener on Sunday.

Antonio Di Natale came off the bench to fire the Italians ahead on the hour but they were in front for only four minutes before Fabregas latched on to a clever David Silva pass and fired past Gianluigi Buffon.

The stalemate ended Spain’s run of 14 straight wins in competitive matches and Italy’s three consecutive defeats, all in friendlies in the build-up to the finals.