Pirlo gives Italy 1-0 lead over Croatia at half
Andrea Pirlo scored with a curving free kick to give Italy a 1-0 lead over Croatia at halftime of their Group C match Thursday at the European Championship.
The Juventus midfielder placed the ball over Croatia's three-man wall and just inside the near post in the 39th minute. Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa could only get a weak hand on it once the ball was already inside his net.
Italy also had numerous other chances through Mario Balotelli and Claudio Marchisio, while Croatia's main threat came with a long, sharply angled shot from fullback Darijo Srna in the 20th.
Croatia leads the group with three points after opening with a 3-1 win over Ireland. Italy has one point from its 1-1 draw with Spain.
Croatia can advance if it wins.