At another European Championship, Group C might have been the Group of Death. Composed of defending champion Spain, heraldic Italy, crafty Croatia and spirited Ireland, Group C is as stacked as it gets.
Sunday’s matches were a study in contrasts. Favorites Spain and Italy bloodied themselves to a 1-1 draw, while the Croats pounced on Ireland early and never let up. After taking a 3-1 loss, the Irish face an uncertain future at Euro 2012 despite their impressive fan support.
On the other hand, Croatia demonstrated they’re a force to be contended with. Likely inspired by Slaven Bilic’s very punk rock skullcap, the Croats were irresistible, putting Ireland and their 30,000 fans to the sword with ease. With three points in hand, Group C is Croatia’s to lose.
After Round 1, here’s how things stand in the Group of Debt:
Enjoy these five takeaways from Day 3 at Euro 2012.