Spain has qualified for the quarter-finals of the European Football Championship at the expense of Croatia. It seemed to have done the job in regular time, but the Croats still forced overtime. In it, the maligned Morata took care of the Spanish discharge. It was still 3-5 after a real spectacle.
Croatia – Spain in short:
- Key moment: Spain seems certain to win, but Pasalic provides extra time with a good header in the extra time. An additional 30 minutes, but Spain still pulls the sheet.
- Man of the Match: At 18, Pedri towered over everything and everyone in midfield. The young FC Barcelona playmaker was lord and master and handed out some beautiful passes.
- Striking statistic: Spain has scored no fewer than 10 goals in its last two European Championship matches. It has 11 goals during the tournament, which is more than France and Germany combined (10).
View the summary:
Spain recovers in time from a terrible blunder
As we know from them, the Spaniards soon turned to handball. Searching for a hole, the ball went from left to right and back again. Koke found that hole in the fifteen minutes and dived into it, but face to face with Livakovic, he couldn’t get past the Croatian goalkeeper’s leg. In the air, Morata was brought back into position, but he headed for Vida.
The Spaniards monopolized the ball and at times had 80% of the ball. The Croats’ sharp counterattacks failed to materialize, but then the unthinkable happened. Without any pressure, Unai Simon let a bouncing, but not impossible pass pass over his foot into goal. Without even a single ball between the posts, the Croats took the lead.
At Spain they were clearly upset, but with halftime in sight they got back into their signature game. The firing squad was brought into position and goalkeeper Livakovic was the target. Gaya’s shot was successfully deflected, but the final shot came from Sarabia’s left. The painful mistake was corrected and Spain could start from scratch after the break.
VIDEO: Unai Simon makes a painful mistake
Substitute Orsic miraculously grants the Croats a second chance
Up and over. That was clearly the plan of Luis Enrique’s troops. Before the hour, that plan was also put into practice. Ferran Torres looked for and found the Azpilicueta who had advanced along, and the right back of all places headed the Spaniards ahead.
If a Spanish back can score, so should a Croatian. That must also have entered Gvardiol’s head. Dinamo Zagreb’s left back saw his chance, got the ball nicely from Vlasic, but Simon had shaken off the painful opening goal and took off with a good hand reflex.
Meanwhile, the Spaniards kept tapping the ball around. Once they exceptionally opted for the long ball and that turned out to be a great idea. It went from Torres to Torres, from Pau to Ferrán, and the latter calmly kicked the ball between Livakovic’s legs. When Olmo clumsily kicked an identical chance at the Croatian goalkeeper, it seemed to be just a footnote, but that was not counting the Croatians.
Just before time, a Croatian fumble goal seemed to have been avoided, but the ball was only turned behind the goal line. For example, it became shivering for the Spaniards in the final minutes and not unjustly. In the added time Orsic transformed from goalscorer to declarant and Pasalic did not miss the ultimate header opportunity: 3-3 and extra time.
VIDEO: Morata can do it anyway
Croatia can’t get over two Spanish goals
At Spain they hardly had time to doubt, because at the start of the extensions the Croats immediately came up. Orsic, the man who ushered in the comeback, kicked just over and when Kramaric could hit from close range, Simon pulled out with a great save.
The white shirts of Luis Enrique were not under the market, but just then the great football players get up. Surprisingly, that role was filled for the Spaniards by the detested Morata, who brushed a perfect pass from Olmo against the ropes without hesitation.
Modric and co had to swallow for a while, but immediately did so in duplicate. Olmo shook off another assist and this time it was Oyarzabal who was at the gun. A second miracle in one match was too much to ask of the exhausted Croats and so the Spaniards advanced to the quarter-finals after a crazy game.
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Busquets: “The feeling is right”
Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets was named Man of the Match by UEFA. “We have suffered, but deserve this victory,” the Spanish captain said afterwards.
“We were very unlucky with Croatia’s opening goal. Unai (Simon, ed.) Couldn’t help it. Before that, we had already crushed several opportunities ourselves. But we kept pressing and just before half-time we were able to equalize.”
“After the break we increased our lead. Unfortunately, Croatia comes back in the end. We showed character again in overtime. I think we were the best team for most of the match.”
“We are very happy to advance to the quarter-finals. It was a very physical match. I have muscle pain, but everything is fine. We now have a few days to recover. The feeling is good. This is a team that works hard. , will always prepare well for matches and has confidence. We are growing in this tournament. You can see that in the last matches.”
Zlatko Dalic: “Made three big mistakes”
The Croats were of course disappointed after the spectacle in Copenhagen. “We lost. I’m sad because we came back from a 3-1 deficit. I’m sad for the fans who came all the way here and sad for the guys who gave everything for 120 minutes,” said national team coach Zlatko Dalic. “This is not the result we wanted.”
“We made mistakes, but we defended well in other dangerous moments. At the end we couldn’t hold on. We didn’t manage to get up in the first overtime.”
“As far as the goals are concerned, we made three serious mistakes and Spain is clearly a good team. They have benefited from every one of our mistakes. Congratulations to Spain, and congratulations to my players for what they have accomplished.”