Croatia 2-1 Spain
Croatia came from behind to win and top Group D thanks to a dramatic Ivan Perišić goal, leaving Spain to play Italy in a repeat of the 2012 final.
Article top media content
- Croatia snatch win with late Ivan Perišić goal after Danijel Subašić saves penalty.
- Álvaro Morata's opener cancelled out by Nikola Kalinić
- Group D winners Croatia face a third-placed team on Saturday in Lens
- Morata level with Gareth Bale as three-goal finals top scorer
An incredible late solo goal by Ivan Perišić gave Croatia victory against the holders and first place in UEFA EURO 2016 Group D, leaving Spain to face Italy in the round of 16.
Croatia knew before kick-off that they were definitely through along with Spain thanks to Northern Ireland's loss to Germany, and there were five changes to the team that drew with the Czech Republic, partly enforced by injuries to Luka Modrić and Mario Mandžukić.
The holders had the same XI for the third game running and their understanding paid dividends in the first seven minutes as Álvaro Morata, on the day he officially returned to Real Madrid, claimed his third goal of the finals by finishing off a pass from Cesc Fàbregas after a flowing move that began in defence.
Nikola Kalinić then forced David de Gea to work, and Ivan Rakitić looped the ball on to the crossbar and off the post; Croatia were giving Spain a sterner test than in their previous matches. And just before half-time they were rewarded when a fine move culmtiated with a volleyed back-heel finish by Kalinić.
That pattern continued in the second half when a high-pressing Croatia game knocked Andrés Iniesta off his stride for the first time in these finals, coupled with some superb skill in attack to get around the Spain defence.
It seemed Spain would win when David Silva was fouled for a penalty but France-based Danijel Subašić brilliantly denied Sergio Ramos. Then Perišić beat the Spain defence and produced a cool finish to complete the turnaround.
Man of the match: Ivan Perišić (Croatia)
How could he not be after that winner? But then his work on the wing and some superb touches merited the award anyway, in a fine team display by Croatia.
That was a Croatia display as magnificent as that which Spain produced in their opening two games. Without so many key players they went for it from the start, not letting the Spain goal knock them off their stride. Both goals will be watched again and again by Croatia fans for years to come, and Subašić will enjoy looking back at his penalty save too.
Italy will feel a shudder
Italy have cruised to a group victory but even as they prepare for their last group game with the Republic of Ireland tomorrow, they will be concerned about what is to come on Monday. Especially after what happened in Kyiv on 1 July 2012 ...
Spain still have daunting air
They weren't the super Spain of previous games and their long run without conceding in a UEFA EURO finals (or in De Gea's case in any competitive game) is over. But Spain, already through, clearly wanted to win this one to keep the momentum going into the knockouts.
Iniesta did not have the time to thrive that he had against the Czechs or Turkey, but he and his colleagues have done enough over the last few days to consolidate their reputation and put what occured in Brazil two years ago way in the past. Still, Italy next.
Team reporters' views from Stade de Bordeaux
Elvir Islamović, Croatia (@UEFAcomElvirI)
My first though when I saw the line-ups was, OK, the coach is giving up hope of winning the group. But, obviously it was my mistake. A big one! Because all of those lads, old and new, really left a great impression against the holders.
They came from behind, put in a top effort, showed some brilliant team work and attractive play at the same time. They really deserved to win the group.
Graham Hunter, Spain (@BumperGraham)
This was a five-star feast. Two teams committed to attack, Croatia full of verve and confidence and the European champions on the rack. How many teams would be confident of going a goal down to this Spain group and then taking the game by the scruff of the neck?
Little wonder Vicente del Bosque called Croatia the team which had played the best football in the group. How well they'd studied the champions, how well the players effected their pressing. Three smashing goals too. A treat for the tournament.
Croatia: Subašić; Srna (c), Ćorluka, Jedvaj, Vrsaljko; Rog (Kovačić 82), Badelj, Perišić (Kramarić 90+4), Rakitić; Pjaca (Čop 90+2), N. Kalinić
Substitutes: Vargić, L. Kalinić, Strinić, Modrić, Schildenfeld, Brozović, Mandžukić, Ćorić, Vida
Coach: Ante Čačić
Spain: De Gea; Juanfran, Piqué, Ramos (c), Alba; Busquets, Fàbregas (Thiago 84), Iniesta, D. Silva; Nolito (Soriano 60), Morata (Aduriz 67)
Substitutes: Casillas, Rico, Azpilicueta, Bartra, Koke, Vázquez, Pedro, Bellerín, San José
Coach: Vicente del Bosque
Referee: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)