Euro 2016: Croatia 2-1 Spain

Croatia has been very solid during the three group matches. Despite letting go the victory the last game against the Czech [2-2], Croatia has shown talent and explosiveness on the pitch. It paid off tonight with two great goals and a 2-1 comeback win. Sergio Ramos missed a penalty that would have given the lead to Spain but Perisic passed the ball under De Gea to score the winning goal.

Croatia tops the group with the win and sends the Spanish to face Italy in the round of 16, a rematch of the Euro 2012 Final tat saw Spain dominate the Italians 4-0. The Spanish coach reflected on the defeat:

Vicente del Bosque, Spain coach
“The players were sat in silence. They don’t enjoy losing. We had the game under control, I’m not going to defend our performance excessively. We played quite well but just one slip of concentration at the end; I don’t have any complaints about the players.

We have time to analyse what the game against Italy means. It wasn’t the path we wanted to take but that’s football! [This was] a game it looked like we had under control but we will try and recover as well as possible from this setback and be in as good a condition as possible on Monday. We didn’t play badly but this is the result and we need to prepare to play against Italy.

We didn’t hold on to the ball as well as we should have [before the winning goal] and weren’t ready for the counterattack. We know the quality [Ivan] Perišić has but that’s it. We’re still in the competition, we are not on the path we wanted to be but we have to rise to the situation”.

Ante Čačić, Croatia coach
“This was an important result for us. We beat the European champions, a really strong team, but it isn’t about this one match. We are a very strong team, we can play anyone and try to be successful.

Today I was able to change five players as I wanted to play the next round with fresh players and test some young players. That makes this result even more important. We wanted to win the group and we have achieved that”.

Sergio Ramos, Spain defender
“They’re a really good side. It was quite a strange game. They are a very strong team. We dominated the game and created chances. I missed a penalty when I could have put us in front, but it wasn’t to be.

Although it’s a bad result, the aim was to get through the group stage and we’ve managed that. We would have liked to have finished first in order to possibly avoid some of the stronger sides, but if you want to be champions, you have to be able to beat everyone, from the favourites to the smaller teams”.

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