Republic of Ireland vs. Croatia: 6 Things We Learned from Euro 2012 Group C Game

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Republic of Ireland vs. Croatia: 6 Things We Learned from Euro 2012 Group C Game
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

It's been 24 years since the Irish danced with the big boys of Europe, and after Sunday night's performance against Croatia, some are wondering how the absence from the Euro finals tournament wasn't extended.

The Irish forwards started the night with a ton of energy, but the same couldn't be said for the defenders or goalkeeper. Given was, to put it mildly, rusty as he was slow to react to a shot from Croatia's Mario Mandzukic, conceding a goal in the first three minutes of the match.

Ireland, however, came back in the 19th minute with an equalizer when Aiden McGeady connected with Sean St. Ledger on an early set piece.

But the draw didn't last long. Nikica Jelavic scored at the end of the first half and then Mandzukic scored his second of the match to make it 3-1 in the 48th minute.

It was a dark day in pubs all over Dublin, but even though the Irish lost 3-1 in their Group C opener, there's still hope. The only way that hope will be realized is by examining the takeaways and improving on what went horribly, horribly wrong.

That said, I give you the six most important things we learned from Ireland's 3-1 loss to Croatia.

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