The 10 Best Moments from Day Seven of Euro 2012


1. Tipster of the day

Our Croatian expert Charles Ducksbury had a field day: he succesfully predicted the 1-1 scoreline between Italy and Croatia AND tipped Mario Mandzukic to score!

2. Lookalike of the day

Little-known fact: there has never been a Prince concert on the same day as a Croatia game. Spooky.

3. Performance of the day

Having been criticised in some quarters following their opening game against Italy, Spain may have felt they had a point to prove against the Republic of Ireland. They produced a magnificent display in Gdansk, cruising to a convincing 4-0 victory against Giovanni Trapattoni's side. Vicente del Bosque's decision to draft Fernando Torres (a striker!) into the starting line-up paid dividends within five minutes, with the Chelsea man slamming a shot over the head of a stunned Shay Given. Thereafter, La Roja were in complete control and could easily have plundered more goals than the four they finished with. Germany beware: the reigning champions have entered the building.

4. Obvious photo caption of the day

No comment necessary, surely?

5. Game of two halves of the day

Italy were thoroughly impressive during the first half against Croatia. With Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli troubling the ponderous Vedran Corluka and Gordon Schildenfeld, few people would have bet against the Azzuri picking up their first victory of the tournament, especially when Andrea Pirlo opened the scoring with a delightful free-kick. Slaven Bilic must have had stern words with the Croatian players at half time, though: the Balkan outfit came flying out of the blocks in the second period. With full-backs Dario Srna and Ivan Strinic encamped in the Italy half, it was only a matter of time before Croatia drew level. Benefitting from a rare error from Giorgio Chiellini, Mario Mandzukic slammed home his third goal of Euro 2012 and piled the pressure on Italy ahead of their final group game against the Republic of Ireland.

6. Righteous pundit of the day

Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews' decision to praise travelling fans after the final whistle in Gdansk provoked a heated reaction from ITV pundit Roy Keane. “I think the players [...] have to change their mentality," said Keane. "It’s just nonsense from players speaking after the games about how great the supporters are.” Keane, who famously missed out on World Cup 2002 following a disagreement with Mick McCarthy, claimed that the Republic should not be content to "just go along for the sing-song every now and again."

7. Incognito fan of the day

Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik was in Poznan to watch an Italy side that featured his clubmate Christian Maggio.

8. Wannabe actor of the day

With his bold features and battering ram physique, Croatia midfielder Ognjen Vukojevic channels The Thing from the Fantastic Four. It was strange, then, to see him spend much of yesterday's game against Italy rolling around on the turf, feigning injury. One instance, when he went down clutching his face during a promising Italy attack, was particularly shameful.

9. Atmospheric accessory of the day

The stadium security staff (and camera men) may frown, but you can't beat a flare for adding a little edge to proceedings.

10. Player of the day

A key part of Spain's Euro 2008 success, Fernando Torres' form in recent times has been the stuff of nightmare: an anti-Roy of the Rovers tale of compound hardship. For fans of the frontman, then, last night's game brought with it a nostalgic joy. His first finish demonstrated the explosive intuition which marked his ascent in the game, while the second showed that he still has the pace to trouble centre-backs. El Niño - and many others besides - will be hoping that this proves to be more than just the latest in a series of false dawns.