Croatia vs. Spain Match Report

Croatia-0 Spain-1

Goals: Navas (88’)

Croatia Lineup: Pletikosa, Ćorluka , Vida, Schildenfeld, Strinić, Rakitić, Vukojević, Modrić, Pranjić, Srna, Mandžukić

Substitute(s): Perišić for Pranjić (65’), Jelavić for Vida (66’), Eduardo for Vukojević (81’)

Spain Lineup: Casillas, Ramos, Piqué, Alba, Arbeloa, Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Torres

Substitute(s): Navas for Torres (61’), Fábregas for Silva (73’), Negredo for Xavi (89’)

Decision day in Group C today, as there are plenty of scenarios here involving teams progressing to the quarterfinals. I’ll cover the simplest and most realistic shortly here.

Spain and Croatia will both be through if Italy fail to get three points against Ireland, who are already eliminated. Italy will be hoping to get that win, and have this game end as a win to either team. Spain seem to have the easiest task, with a win or draw getting them a spot in the next round. Croatia can get through with a win, or on a 2-2 or higher draw. They would even be fine with 1-1 as long as Italy don’t match Croatia’s result against Ireland. An Italy win and a 0-0 draw sees them out. This should be exciting.

The games are about to begin. I’ll predict a 3-1 Spain win and a 2-0 Italy win. Spain wins group C with Italy going through to play the winner of Group D in the quarterfinals.

The whistle blows and both games begin!

Back and forth in the first few minutes here. Couple of early chances in the Italy-Ireland game as well. Everyone going for it today.

Torres looking good in the first ten minutes here. Both games scoreless 10 minutes in.

Croatia are looking good here though. I’m waiting for the first real clear cut chance.

Italy are fine with this game being 0-0, and so are Spain and Croatia with Italy not finding a breakthrough. Croatia not backing down at all though.

Xavi with a free kick in a good crossing position…headed away. Not his best.

Ireland are beginning to make plenty of counter-attacking chances off of Italian turnovers in the other match. 20 minutes left in the half.

Very little between all four teams at the moment. I don’t know what to make of it. Will anything happen in the last fifteen minutes here?

GOAL FOR ITALY! Italy find the breakthrough with Cassano. Croatia are out as it stands.

Italy win the group if the results stay as they are. You know there have to be more goals in both games though. Five minutes left in the half.

HALFTIME! Corner was the last chance of the half, but it falls to nothing. 0-0. With Italy up 1-0, they would win the group if the results held and Spain would join them. Spain is one goal away from being eliminated however. This is going to be quite the finish.

Both games restart here, just seconds apart. Well done UEFA!

Iniesta tries to slip a ball through for Torres, but it’s just a bit too strong. Spain looking better in the first seven minutes here.

Iker Casillas has just made a huge save! The free header was hit right at him, and it was a huge chance for Croatia! They still need a goal.

Jesus Navas comes in for Fernando Torres. Half an hour to go. Croatia out of it as it stands.

Xavi’s corner is headed over by Ramos. Surely we aren’t about to see our first scoreless draw of Euro 2012 are we?

Spain with a good last ten minutes here with the ball in the Croatia half. Still, one goal could send them out. Italy still up 1-0 as well.

Both of these games are about to open up big time with ten minutes to go. Get ready. I feel a goal coming.

Five minutes to go in group C. 0-0 here, 1-0 Italy

SPAIN GOAL! Navas has scored! It puts Spain through for sure! A Croatian equalizer would see the Italians out however! Here we go!

Balotelli has scored for Italy. 2-0. Four minutes of added time here.

Croatian keeper coming up for this last set piece! It comes to nothing. Waning seconds here.

GAME ENDS 1-0! SPAIN AND ITALY ARE THROUGH!

Spain has won group C by a late winner from Jesus Navas. They would have finished second behind Italy if the game ended 0-0, but the favorites deliver. They will go on to play England, France, or the co-hosts Ukraine in the quarterfinals.

Give Navas a star player for his role as the goal scorer. He came on well for Torres and got the goal that relieved the nerves for Spain. Modrić played very well for Croatia too.

We’ll wait until tomorrow to see who Spain will play. Looking like England or Ukraine as it stands, but who knows? It’s been a crazy tournament up to this point.

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