Stat Line Of The Night — 6/10/12 — Mario Mandzukic
Less than one hour after watching Group C powerhouses Spain and Italy play to a 1-1 draw, the Croatian national soccer team knew that they had the opportunity to take an early lead in their group with a victory over Ireland in their EURO 2012 opener. Despite experiencing somewhat of a scare during the game’s first half, they would go on to get the result that they were looking for, thanks to an impressive offensive performance from forward Mario Mandzukic.
In ten appearances during EURO Cup qualifying, Mandzukic scored three goals. He nearly equaled that total during yesterday’s tournament group stage match, as he opened the scoring in the third minute with a header following a Croatian corner kick. And with his team leading 2-1 in the 48th minute, he would complete the brace with yet another header, which hit the post and ricocheted off the Irish keeper’s head and into the back of the net.
Croatia would go on to win the game by a score of 3-1, putting them on top of Group C for the time being. As for Mandzukic, his two goals put him in a tie with Russia’s Alan Dzagoev for the tournament’s goal scoring lead, and he also earns “The Stat Line of the Night” for Sunday, June 10, 2012.