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  • Date:18 Jun 2012
  • Kick-off:19:45
  • Venue:PGE Arena - Gdansk
  • Jesus Navas (88)

Live Commentary


That's a shame for Croatia, who gave it a great go in the second half and really rattled Spain. They could just as easily have got the winning goal, but their desperation ended up costing them.


Full-time: Croatia 0-1 Spain


.... but Spain clear.


Italy have beaten Ireland 2-0, so if Croatia equalise, they will go through. Pletikosa is up for a free-kick ...


Mandzukic picks up a yellow card as the life starts to seep out of the Croatians. Spain have the ball, and now Croatia can't get hold of it.


This is how Group C now stands: Spain 7, Italy 5, Croatia 4, Ireland 0.


That goal was coming because Croatia, in their mad rush to get a winner of their own, were leaving huge openings at the back.


Change for Spain, who replace Xavi with Alvaro Negredo.


Spain exploit one of the gaps in the Croatia defence, with Fabregas looping the ball over the back line to Iniesta, who squared for Navas to tap into an empty net. Fine goal.


Goal! Croatia 0-1 Spain (Jesus Navas)


Chance for Croatia now as Corluka heads high and wide from a corner after beating both Busquets and Casillas to the ball. Spain look vulnerable at set pieces.


Another chance for Spain as Navas evades Strinic and unleashes a rasping low shot that Pletikosa saves with his knees. Big gaps opening up in the Croatian defence as they push for a winner.


Great chance for Spain! Fabregas played in Iniesta down the left channel but his left-foot shot from an angle was turned around the post by Pletikosa. The subsequent corner was wasted.


The tempo being set by Croatia is frenetic, meaning that even Spain are looking rushed in possession. There is definitely a goal in this game.


Attacking substitution for Croatia, who send on striker Eduardo for midfielder Vukojevic.


But then Spain launched a counter-attack of their own and fed in Busquets, who had a clear sight of goal but was tackled just as he was about to pull the trigger.


But then Croatia clear, break down the other end and set up Perisic to send a rasping volley goalwards that Casillas can only parry. Great chance.


Just when they needed it, Spain have put together a couple of minutes of good possession and rounded it off with Fabregas having a shot deflected over. That should settle them down a bit.


The game is getting stretched now and gaps are appearing all over the pitch. Possession is 50/50 now, which is unknown territory for the Spanish. Croatia are battling their hearts out.


Change for Spain, as Cesc Fabregas replaces Silva.


Spain are lacking penetration and have now lost their monopoly on the ball as well. If they don't step it back up a gear here, they could easily fall behind.


Another heart-in-mouth moment for Spain, who are shaking a little bit now, as Perisic's cross is just above Jelavic's head, allowing Jordi Alba to clear. Perisic then struck a back-post volley high and wide. Croatia are looking the team more likely to score now.


Close call for Croatia now as Iniesta slips in Busquets down the left after a corner, but his low cross is cut out at the front post.


Double-change for Croatia, who send on Nikica Jelavic and Ivan Perisic for Domagoj Vida and Pranjic.


The corner lands on Ramos' head, but the Real Madrid defender was moving backwards and couldn't keep his header under the bar.


Spain respond, though, and Iniesta loops a ball over the Croatian defence an into the path of Navas, but Strinic recovers and clears for a corner.


Just seeing replays of Modric's cross for the Rakitic chance, which was absolutely out of this world. Surely the pass of the tournament.


Substitution for Spain, who replace Torres with Jesus Navas.


Fantastic chance for Croatia on the break! A majestic cross from the right wing from Luka Modric, with the outside of his right boot, fell beautifully to Ivan Rakitic inside the box, but his header was brilliantly saved by Casillas. The rebound also fell to Rakitic but he couldn't get a shot away.


A reminder, here's Group C as it stands: Italy 5, Spain 5, Croatia 5, Ireland 0 - meaning the Croatians are currently going out and need to score.


Croatia are spending more time in Spain's final third now but they're lacking numbers far foward and their attacks are being easily snuffed out.


Strinic picks up a booking for Croatia for a late challenge on Silva.


Great opportunity for Spain as Iniesta plays Torres through on goal, but the Barcelona midfielder was stumbling as he released the ball and his pass was just too strong for Torres to reach.


Panic for Spain as Pique gives the ball away in a dangerous position, but Ramos bails out his central-defensive partner with a couple of blockbusting tackles.


Lucky break for Croatia as Strinic is mugged by Alvaro Arbeloa on the Spain right, but the referee generously penalises the Real Madrid full-back and in so doing denies the world champions what would have been a great opportunity.


Spain have controlled the game so far in terms of both possession and territory. They have also created more chances, but Croatia are well organised and have defended resolutely. Their problem is they can't get the ball and stay on it. Consequently, they have resorted to slightly aggressive tactics as they battle to break Spain's rhythm. But after Italy's goal, Croatia need to score because, as it stands, they are going out.


Half-time: Croatia 1-1 Spain


We're into the second of two added minutes ...


And we're under way, but Croatia have straight away surrendered possession from the kick-off, so Spain are back on it.


Spain are pushing hard for a goal before the break. A Silva cross is deflected wide for a corner but Croatia have the upper hand in the air and clear the danger.


Srna is booked for a rugged aerial challenge on Sergio Busquets.


Iniesta surprisingly gives the ball away again but the Spanish pressing is both instant and relentless and so Croatia can't do anything with the ball, eventually getting back into their own corner and kicking it away.


Once again Spain flood forward and Silva plays a ball through for Torres, but once again the pass is cut out by a resolute Croatian defence.


A ball is played in behind for Torres to run on to and he looks to have the beating of Gordon Schildenfeld, but the Croatian defender gets his body in he way and snuffs out the danger.


In the other game in Group C, Antonio Cassano has scored to give Italy the lead against Ireland. So, as it stands, Group C looks like this: Italy 5, Spain 5, Croatia 5, Ireland 0, with the Croatians going out.


Croatia have definitely stepped up their aggression in the tackle and it has disrupted the Spanish flow.


Croatia finally get on the ball and are able to string some passes together, but they are forced back by Spain's pressing and play the ball to their goalkeeper, who punts it long and in doing so hands possession back to world champions. That was a good example of how Spain are as effective off the ball as they are on it.


Silva in the thick of the action again as he steers a cross from the right goalwards, but Pletikosa is there to deny him.


Mandzukic is still hobbling on the touchline but looks keen to get back on. Meanwhile, Silva plays a neat one-two with Xabi Alonso on the edge of the box but slips as he pulls the trigger and the ball bobbles harmlessly into Pletikosa's arms.


Ramos goes in hard on Mandzukic on the right byline and although he touched the ball and conceded a corner, he made contact with the foot of the Croatian, who is still down getting treatment. Vedran Corluka was booked for protesting that it should have been a foul.


Gerard Pique follows his centre-back partner by surging forward and letting a right-foot shot fly from 30 yards that goes only narrowly over. At the other end, Pranjic draws a routine save from Iker Casillas, before Mandzukic scoops a shot from 15 yards high over the bar.


Chance for Spain as Torres charges down the right and puts left-back Ivan Strinic on his backside, before firing a shot goalwards from a tight angle that Pletikosa can only parry. Moments later, Sergio Ramos tried his luck from 30 yards but this time Pletikosa clasped it first time.


Silva slaloms through the Croatia midfield but his progress is once again halted by another rash challenge, this time from Ognjen Vukojevic, who is also lucky to avoid a caution. Slaven Bilic's team are taking a somewhat aggressive approach to getting the ball back off Spain.


Srna catches Jordi Alba on the ankle with a cynical foul and is duly given a final warning by the referee. He was lucky to get away with that.


Spain are totalling dominating possession now, but Croatia are well organised and are proving hard to break down.


Iniesta, of all people, is caught in possession by Srna just as Spain were piecing together another move. The Barcelona man then brought Srna down and Croatia moved the ball all the way up the pitch before presenting Spain with an opportunity to clear.


Superb football from Spain cuts open the Croatia defence. David Silva played a sublime ball from the edge of the box to Andres Iniesta, who controlled the ball immaculately but failed to get enough power on his toe-poked shot to trouble Stipe Pletikosa in the Croatia goal.


Spain are starting to hog the ball a bit more now, with the early adrenaline possibly wearing off for the Croatia players. They are still looking lively on the break, though, particularly down the wings through Srna and Danijel Pranjic.


Croatia are pressing the ball high and hard at the moment, so Spain aren't currently enjoying the time in possession they had against Ireland and, to an extent, even Italy.


Now it's Spain's turn to move up a gear as Jordi Alba is released down the left flank to cross for Fernando Torres, only for it to be cut out at the near post. Torres then headed over from the resulting corner.


Croatia aren't here to chase shadows though and mount an attack of their own through Luka Modric down the left and then Mandzukic centrally, but the ball was shifted out to Darijo Srna on the right, whose cross was cut out before it got into the box.


And we're under way, with Spain having kicked off and settled straight into their passing rhythm, knocking it calmly around the back four.

The national anthems have been sung and we're about ready to get under way.

Spain are going to be in their changed blue strip, while Croatia are in their traditional red and white checks.

The two teams are in the tunnel, so kick-off is just minutes away now.

Croatia have the tournament's joint-top scorer among their ranks, with Milan Mandzukic currently on three goals after his brace against Ireland (albeit one off of the back of Shay Given) and the equaliser against Italy.

Spain sent European Championships records tumbling during their win against Ireland, breaking the previous marks for number of passes made (860), number of passes made by a single player (Xavi, 133) and number of passes completed by a single player (Xavi, 114).

And here is the Spain team: (4-2-3-1) Casillas; Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Alonso; Silva, Xavi, Iniesta; Torres. Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Fabregas, Negredo, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.

Here's how Croatia will line up: (4-2-3-1) Pletikosa; Vida, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Strinic; Vukojevic, Rakitic; Srna, Modric, Pranjic; Mandzukic. Subs: Kelava, Simunic, Buljat, Jelavic, Badelj, Vrsaljko, Dujmovic, Kalinic, Kranjcar, Perisic, Eduardo, Subasic.

Croatia have made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Italy on Thursday, with Nikica Jelavic and Ivan Perisic being replaced by Daniel Pranjic and Domagoj Vida. Spain have named an unchanged team from the side that stylishly beat Ireland 4-0.

Welcome along to our live coverage of Croatia's Group C finale against reigning champions Spain in Gdansk. All the talk in the build-up to the game has been about whether the two teams might agree to play out a 2-2 draw, which would see both safely into the knockout phase irrespective of Italy's result against the Republic Ireland. Both teams are on four points having each beaten Ireland and drawn with Italy.

The teams are on their way back out, so the start of the second half is now just moments away.

Replays are showing that Navas was slightly offside for the goal, but that will be of little consolation to Croatia, who would have been out anyway. Spain qualify as group winners, with Italy the runners-up.

Spain, meanwhile, deserved to go through due to their domination of the ball over the three games, but they lacked a cutting edge tonight and almost paid the price. The introduction of Fabregas for Silva was a masterstroke by manager Vicente de Bosque, because the Barcelona man settled them down in possession and was instrumental in creating the winner.

**Provisional teams until kick-off


  • Slaven Bilic Coach
  • Stipe Pletikosa Goal
  • Domagoj Vida Defender
  • Vedran Corluka Defender
  • Gordon Schildenfeld Defender
  • Ivan Strinic Defender
  • Darijo Srna Midfielder
  • Ivan Rakitic Midfielder
  • Luka Modric Midfielder
  • Ognjen Vukojevic Midfielder
  • Danijel Pranjic Midfielder
  • Mario Mandzukic Forward
  • Ivan Kelava Substitute
  • Danijel Subasic Substitute
  • Josip Simunic Substitute
  • Jurica Buljat Substitute
  • Milan Badelj Substitute
  • Sime Vrsaljko Substitute
  • Tomislav Dujmovic Substitute
  • Nikola Kalinic Substitute
  • Niko Kranjcar Substitute
  • Ivan Perisic
  • Nikica Jelavic
  • Eduardo


  • Vicente Del Bosque Coach
  • Iker Casillas Goal
  • Alvaro Arbeloa Defender
  • Gerard Pique Defender
  • Sergio Ramos Defender
  • Jordi Alba Defender
  • Xavi Midfielder
  • Sergio Busquets Midfielder
  • Xabi Alonso Midfielder
  • David Silva Forward
  • Fernando Torres Forward
  • Andres Iniesta Forward
  • Victor Valdes Substitute
  • Jose Manuel Reina Substitute
  • Raul Albiol Substitute
  • Javi Martinez Substitute
  • Juanfran Substitute
  • Pedro Substitute
  • Juan Manuel Mata Substitute
  • Fernando Llorente Substitute
  • Santiago Cazorla Substitute
  • Jesus Navas Substitute who played
  • Francesc Fabregas Substitute who played
  • Alvaro Negredo Substitute who played

Match Report

Jesus Navas rescues Spain, Croatia bow out
Defending champions Spain are into the quarter-finals after replacement Jesus Navas hit the late winner in their nervy 1-0 victory over Croatia, who bowed out on Monday.
Spain qualify as Group C winners and will now play their quarter-final in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Saturday against the Group D runner-up, while Italy finish second thanks to their 2-0 win over Ireland in Poznen.
Having come on for Chelsea star Fernando Torres in the second-half, Sevilla's Navas hit the 88th-minute winner after Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez chipped the Croatian defence and Andres Iniesta provided the final pass.
The World Cup winners top the group with seven points after their opening draw with Italy and 4-0 rout of Ireland, while there was heartbreak for Slaven Bilic's Croatia.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque named an unchanged team, while Bilic abandoned the 4-4-2 formation he used in the opening win over Ireland and the draw with Italy for a 4-2-3-1 formation.
On a rare early forage into the Spanish half, Bayern Munich's Danijel Pranjic fired a shot to the left of Spain goalkeeper Ilker Casillas, who dealt with the left-footed shot comfortably on 25 minutes.
Croatia defender Vedran Corluka was booked for dissent soon after as German referee Wolfgang Stark chose not to award a penalty appeal after Spain's Sergio Ramos sliding tackle caught Mario Mandzukic's ankle.
It remained goalless at the break and news of Italy's lead against Ireland raised the tension inside the Gdansk stadium rose noticeably as the second half wore on.
Croatia's best chance came approaching the hour mark when Tottenham Hotspur's Luka Modric crossed in for Ivan Rakitic's header, but Casillas parried away their best chance of the game.
After a fairly ineffective first 60 minutes, Torres made way for Jesus Navas in the three-man forward line, but both sides squandered chances.
With time almost up, the decisive blow came when Xavi Hernandez floated his pass over the defence for his Barcelona team-mate Iniesta to draw Croatia's goalkeeper Stipe Pleitkosa and put Spain in the last eight.
There could be more bad news for Croatia on Tuesday when UEFA are expected to make a ruling over alleged racist chants from Croat fans directed towards Italy striker Mario Balotelli in last week's 1-1 draw.
A stiff penalty is expected given UEFA president Michel Platini's previous assertions that European football's governing body has a "zero tolerance" on the issue.
European football's governing body has already imposed the threat of a six-point reduction on Russia's next European championship qualifying campaign, after missiles and fireworks were thrown at their opening Group A match against the Czech Republic on June 8.





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