It took nearly 40 minutes, but Italy finally managed to put the ball past Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa. It did take a set piece to break Croatia, however -- but how foolish of them to concede a free kick just twenty yards out when Andrea Pirlo is on the pitch. And what a shot from the midfield maestro! Pirlo's ball curled up through the jumping Croatia wall, took a slight deflection and nestled into the near corner of the net. Perfectly magnificent.
Now, what will be the response? With just a few minutes to go until halftime, Croatia will want to find an equaliser before the break, in order to keep a win within their sights. The Croats were down against Ireland, of course, and we all know how that went, but Shay Given is no Gianluigi Buffon, and it's not going to be an easy task to get even one goal past the fantastic Italian keeper. Changes at the half for Bilić, then?