Shay Given

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter

 

Former Newcastle United duo Shay Given and Damien Duff were on the losing side as Republic of Ireland kicked off their Euro 2012 campaign against Croatia.

The Irish went down 3-1 on Sunday night in Poznan, and now have the daunting task of needing to get results against Spain and Italy if they are to progress from Group C.

Duff, who was a Magpies player for just over three years between 2006 and 2009, started on the right wing but was unable to help the Boys In Green salvage anything from the contest, despite some heavy late pressure.

And Given was forced to pick the ball out of the net three times. The first came after just three minutes, when he got a finger to Mario Mandzukic's looping header but was unable to prevent it from going in.

Ireland drew level through Sean St. Ledger, but Everton forward Nikica Jelavic then dinked the ball over Given with half-time approaching to put the Croatians back in front.

And the keeper's miserable evening was completed early in the second half when another Mandzukic header struck the post before hitting Given and crossing the goaline.

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