Italy Vs. Ireland, Euro 2012: Halftime Score 1-0 Italy

In order to advance to the knockout rounds of Euro 2012, Italy need to win and hope that Spain and Croatia don't play out to a high scoring draw. The latter is looking unlikely at present, and the former condition appears well on its way to fulfillment with Antonio Cassano nodding the Azzurri into a 1-0 lead against Ireland.

The match hasn't been great so far, to be honest - most of the best chances have come on goalmouth scrambles and Italy aren't playing particularly nice football and they're letting Ireland have more possession than they really should, but it was fairly clear that if there was a goal to be scored, they were the ones who were going to do it. And then Andrea Pirlo swung in a corner, Cassano rose high above the defence and the ball ended up hitting the crossbar twice within the a fraction of a second - once from the AC Milan striker's initial effort and then immediately following Damien Duff's despairing clearance.

Fortunately for Italy, the ball completely crossed the line in the intervening period, giving them a highlight in a first half that was otherwise notable only for a weird rugby-style tackle by left back Federico Balzaretti as he attempted to stop Aiden McGeady from breaking down the right wing. Unsurprisingly, he was booked for his troubles. At any rate, it's 1-0 at halftime, and Italy are in fairly good shape as things stand.

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