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SCOREBOARD

Italy, Croatia scoreless after cagey first 45 minutes

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With chances coming at a premium, Italy and Croatia are scoreless at halftime in their Group B finale from Leipzig at UEFA Euro 2024.

The stakes were fairly straightforward for both teams heading into the match.

The Azzurri simply needed to avoid defeat, while Croatia needed a victory to extend their tournament.

Croatia asked a question of Gianluigi Donnarumma early.

In just the fourth minute, RB Salzburg midfielder Luka Sucic hammered a ball from distance that appeared to be earmarked for the top corner. Whether it was that Donnarumma spotted it late or the shot simply confused him, the Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper's save of the ball wasn't terribly convincing as he parried away for a corner.

With Croatia dominating possession, Italy got their first look at goal in the seventh, but Marin Pongragic calmly dispatched with a cross from Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

The Azzurri had a great chance in the 20th. Riccardo Calafiori sent in an inviting cross to the far post that was met by a header from Mateo Retegui. The Argentina-born Genoa forward headed wide, but his pleas that it was deflected were heard by the referee to award a corner.

Italy's best chance of the half came after a spell of sustained pressure in the 27th. From just inside the area, Nicolo Barella spotted an unmarked Alessandro Bastoni at the far post and swung in a fine ball for his Inter teammate. Bastoni met it with a powerful header, but Dominik Livakovic did well to palm it away for his best save of the first 45 minutes.

In the 30th, Croatia pressed. Luka Modric, in perhaps his final match for the national side, came down the right and sent in a quasi-shot/cross at Donnarumma, who parried it away out of trouble.

Minutes later, Lorenzo Pellegrini did well to make himself some room to shoot with two Croatia defenders marking him, but there wasn't much power to the shot he dragged and Livakovic wasn't troubled.