Croatia equaliser was fully deserved, says Corluka

The defender remains hopeful that Slaven Bilic's side will progress to the knockout stages, but dismissed notions they will play for a point against Spain to knockout the Italians
 Michal Zachodny
 In Poznan

Croatia's Vedran Corluka thinks that his side fully deserved the 1-1 draw against Italy in Thursday's Euro 2012 contest.

A spectacular Andrea Pirlo free kick gave the Azzurri the lead just before half-time, but Mario Mandzukic's goal - his third in the tournament - restored parity.

Corluka hailed the effect of the changes made by Slaven Bilic at the break and noted that the result was fair.

“We didn’t play that well in the first half, but the second was much better and, in the end, we deserved the draw,” he told reporters.

“Italy played really well, especially in the first half, [so the] result is fair.

“We changed the tactics for the second half, played [in a] more attacking way and pushed them. We tried to play our game and our style and this is not exactly about defending.

Croatia remain at the top of Group C ahead of their final match against Spain, who will face the Republic of Ireland later on Thursday.

If the reigning champions beat Giovanni Trapattoni’s men, then Slaven Bilic’s side will need just a point on Monday to advance to the quarter-finals.

“The game against Spain will be extremely tough and but the way we played today we can expect to be more than a match to them,” Corluka added.

“We want to go to the quarter-finals and we must play very well against Spain to deserve that.

 “I don't care about suggestions [that] we will play for a draw to kick Italy out, I know who had bigger problems with corruption in their country and why they [Italians] are already talking about this.”