Euro 2012 will continue Thursday with an intriguing tie; Italy vs. Croatia. On paper Italy should be the favorites, with a long history of World Cups and Euro championships to their name, however, the Azzurri have never beaten Croatia, who are in hot form following their demolition of the Republic of Ireland in their first game. The game can be seen on ESPN 2 or fans can watch online through live stream on ESPN 3 (details below).
Croatia will not make any changes from the side that destroyed the usually resolute Republic of Ireland last week. Coach Slaven Bilic had his side playing a face-paced, attack-minded and efficient style, and he will be hoping the team can replicate that performance today against Italy.
However, Italy will certainly prove a tougher test than the Republic of Ireland. Many had written off the Italians prior to the tournament, but their impressive draw with World and European champions Spain in their opening game should have turned some heads, and let people know never to write off the Italians.
But history is not on the side of the Italians. They have never beaten Croatia, and in their past five major tournaments have failed to win their second group game.
A win today would see Croatia become the first team to guarantee their spot in the quarter finals of the tournament, and would see Italy with one foot on the plane home. A draw, however, would leave the group still wide open.
Croatia will be looking to make their aerial superiority count – their squad has an average height of 6 ft 1in (186cm), whereas Italy have one of the smallest teams in the tournament. Croatia's direct and attacking style will be utilized to try and take complete advantage over that weakness in the Italians.
Italy vs. Croatia will kick off at 12 p.m. EST and can be watched live on ESPN 2, or alternatively fans can watch online through live stream on ESPN 3 and clicking HERE.