Spain rally to top Croatia

Spain needed extra-time to dispatch Croatia 5-3 in a European Championship classic, after Zlatko Dalic’s side came back from 3-1 down in the final ten minutes of regular time.

Croatia took the lead inside 20 minutes via Spanish keeper Unai Simon’s bizarre own goal. Pedri’s back pass was miscontrolled by Simon, who momentarily took his eye off the ball as it came to him and allowed it to bounce off his foot and into his own net.

Spain equalised in the 37th minute after some pinball action in Croatia’s box. Jose Gaya’s shot was saved by Livakovic but the rebound fell to Pablo Sarabia whose shot went in after a hefty deflection off Josko Gvardiol.

Cesar Azpilicueta put Spain in front just before the hour mark, rising highest at the far post to head in Ferran Torres’ cross.

Spain got their third in the 77th minute to capitalise on some slack Croatian defending. Torres was picked out in acres of space on the right, dribbled past Gvardiol and slotted his finish under Livakovic.

Five minutes from time though, substitute, Mislav Orsic got one back as he forced the ball home from close range after some frantic Spanish defending on their goal line.

And in stoppage time, Croatia got their equaliser through another substitute Mario Pasalic. Orsic swung an inviting cross between Spain’s central defenders for Pasalic to guide his header beyond Simon.

Alvaro Morata scored Spain’s fourth in the 100th minute. Dani Olmo’s cross went over Josip Brekalo’s head which allowed Morata to take one touch and fire his volley past the Croatian keeper.

Just three minutes later, Mikel Oyarzabal put the game beyond doubt with an almost identical goal to Spain’s fourth. Olmo’s cross from the left found his fellow substitute in the box and Oyarzabal’s finish sunk Croatia’s hopes of making the quarter-finals.