Croatia 2-0 Spain
Croatia came from behind tonight to shock Spain while also snatching top spot in the group. Alvaro Morata had given Spain an early lead but a goal on the stoke of half time from Nikola Kalinic gave Croatia a lifeline. Late into the second half Ivan Perisic scored the winner to cause a massive upset.
Morata opened the scoring in the seventh minute as the forward stole in to poke home Cesc Fabregas’ effort on the goal line. Fabergas had combined with David Silva before chipping the ball over Danijel Subašić. Morata made certain Spain took the lead as a Croatian defender attempted to stop Fabergas’ shot.An error soon after from De Gea almost allowed Ivan Rakitic to equalise. De Gea gifted Croatia with position allowing the Barcelona midfielder to lob the ball towards goal. It hit the woodwork before Gerard Pique scrambled it off the line. A very close call for La Roja.David Silva then fired straight at Danijel Subasic before Nolito had an effort deflected wide as Spain looked to add to their lead.Morata had the best chance to do just that but he wasted a chance with a poor touch having been slipped in by Fabregas just before the break.Croatia made them pay as they countered from some sloppy Spanish passing. Perisic advanced down the right wing before crossing the ball to Kalinic who showed great skill to flick the ball past De Gea leveling the sides on the stroke of half time.
The Manchester United goalkeeper was almost caught out once again in the second half, Marko Pjaca’s overhead kick flashing just wide with De Gea in no-mans land having failed to claim a cross. Pjaca then had a penalty shout turned down after hitting the ground following a challenge from Sergio Ramos.Ramos then headed a corner wide when free inside the Croatia box.While referee Bjorn Kuipers had made the correct call at one end, the Dutch official awarded a controversial spot-kick to Spain in the 72nd minute as Andres Iniesta’s pass into Silva led to the Manchester City man going down under pressure from Sime Vrsaljko. Captain Ramos stepped up to take the spot kick. His opposing captain Darijo Srna offered words of advice to Subasic before the kick that seemed to work. Ramos’ kick was saved well by the keeper who guessed the right way and pushed the ball away from goal.
Spain lacked ideas going forward in the second half with many of the big names such as Andres Iniesta usually quiet. That penalty miss came back to bite the Spaniards with three minutes left to play. Perisic made his way into the edge of the Spanish box before unleashing a shot towards De Gea’s near post. The keeper didn’t cover himself in glory as he stuck out his leg in an attempt to stop the ball. It failed and the Croatian’s went wild as they took top spot.
This result now means Spain will face Italy in the last 16 of the tournament.Croatia will face a third placed team.
Man of the Match – Ivan Perisic (Croatia)
- Mateo Kovacic replaces Marko Rog 82 mins
- Duje Cop replaces Marko Pjaca 90+ mins
- Andrej Kramaric replaces Ivan Perisic 90+mins
- Bruno Soriano replaces Nolito 60 mins
- Aritz Aduriz replaces Alvaro Morata 67 mins
- Thiago Alcantara replaces Cesc Fabergas 84 mins
Croatia – Marko Rog,Sime Vrsaljko,Darijo Srna,Ivan Perisic.
Spain – None