Game Croatia rattle Spain to finish top of Group D

Sergio Ramos misses a penalty before a late Ivan Perišic winner rocks Bordeaux

Croatia celebrate Ivan Perisic’s late winner against Spain in Bordeaux. Photograph: Reuters

Croatia celebrate Ivan Perisic’s late winner against Spain in Bordeaux. Photograph: Reuters

 

Croatia 2 Spain 1

Spain and Croatia went into the last 16, but not in the order expected. Euro 2016 has another late goal and this is one whose impact may prove to be enormous, Spain suffering their first European Championship defeat for 12 years and one day. With the score at 1-1 and 87 minutes gone in Bordeaux, Aritz Aduriz’s shot was blocked on the edge of the area. Two passes and eighty yards later, Ivan Perisic was tearing off his top and Croatia, not Spain, were top of Group D.

Croatia will face a third-placed side in Lens; Spain will play Italy in Paris, knowing that Germany and then France may await after that. If they are to defend their title now, they must do it the hard way and they cannot say they were not warned: the threat had been there from the last minute of the opening 45, when Nikola Kalinic had equalised a game that was entertaining enough but that had looked like it might be played for fun rather than for the future.

When that went in, this changed. When the winner did, the group changed too. The whole tournament did. Two swift diagonal passes from the back gave Perisic, superb throughout, a sight of goal. His effort clipped Gerard Piqué’s boot and flew in at the near post beyond David de Gea who, falling backwards, had tried to stop it with his foot. Behind him, the Croatian fans erupted. They may consider themselves candidates now; they had done this without Luka Modric and trailing early.

Spain had the lead on six minutes via a move in which the ball travelled the entire length of the pitch until it reached Álvaro Morata an inch from the line. It was played out from the back, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta moving it first time into space. Although the pass from Cesc Fàbregas that should have brought penetration was cut out, it fell to David Silva and he slotted it into the inside-right channel for the run from Fàbregas, who clipped it over Danijel Subasic. The shot might have gone in anyway but with two defenders dashing back, Morata made sure, nudging it over the line to score his third goal in three games, taking him level with Gareth Bale as the tournament’s leading marksman.

If the chance to finish third really was on Croatian minds, the opportunity to claim that prize from a potential defeat diminished a moment later with news that Turkey were a goal up in the other game. Better, then, to step out. And soon Croatia were almost level, Kalinic’s 20-yard shot pushed away by De Gea before the same two players were involved in a moment that almost brought a goal.

De Gea’s control was loose, Kalinic pressured and the hurried clearance came to Ivan Rakitic on the edge of the area. His first-time shot was beautifully struck, looping over the goalkeeper and over Gerard Piqué, only to hit the bar, the post and the goalline. Rakitic looked up at the giant screens in this stadium, as if trying to work out how on earth it hadn’t gone in.

If that would have been a lovely goal, the one Croatia did get right on the stroke of half-time might even have been better still, Ivan Perisic turning back and forth away from Juanfran, and dropping a delightful cross over the head of Gerard Piqué and into the six-yard box. Sergio Ramos was beaten to it, De Gea didn’t move, and Kalinic leapt to hit a gentle volley with the outside of his foot.

Until then, this had been an open, entertaining game, if naturally lacking in the tension of a match with a lot resting on it, dotted with occasional lapses of concentration. It had also been a game dominated by a Spain side who never felt at threat and whose axis had tilted from left to right, from Iniesta and Nolito to Fàbregas and Silva. Throughout the midfield, the control and touch was impressive, but that pairing stood out and Silva, in particular, shone: a wonderful pass found Fàbregas; they combined to feed Nolito; and then Silva was brought down on the edge of the area, his free-kick hitting the wall.

Not long after, Ramos could not quite reach a corner from Nolito; the problem was that a moment later, he could not reach a cross from Perisic and, suddenly, unexpectedly, Croatia were level.

This was the first goal Spain had conceded in 947 competitive minutes, 733 at the European Championship, stretching back to the opening game against Italy four years ago. And although the first chance of the second half fell to Morata, whose shot was turned wide at the near post, the threat of more was clear. Croatia had had occasional moments in the opening 45 minutes, now they pushed. Ivan Perisic, fast feet and determined to run at opponents, troubled Spain.

It was his approach that led to Darijo Srna’s cross from the right. De Gea, often uneasy, came for the cross, palmed it out and then followed it, leaping into a star-jump to block the follow-up. The ball lopped up for Marko Pjaca, whose overhead kick went wide. There was a nervousness about Spain now, Del Bosque reacting by putting on Bruno Soriano in search of control. There was another scare when Pjaca went over Ramos’s leg. The central defender accused him of diving and he may have had a point, although there was certainly risk in the challenge.

The referee did not give that but he did give one at the other end when Sime Vrsaljko was judged to have pushed over Silva. The contact was slight at most and accidental too, the defender stumbling towards Silva’s back, perhaps even pushed by Aritz Aduriz. The Croatians’ fury became celebration when Danjiel Subasic, dancing about his line, lurched forward and stopped the penalty, struck centrally by Sergio Ramos, an unexpected choice to take it.Spain and Croatia went into the last 16, but not in the order expected. Euro 2016 has another late goal and this is one whose impact may prove to be enormous, Spain suffering their first European Championship defeat for 12 years and one day. With the score at 1-1 and 87 minutes gone in Bordeaux, Aritz Aduriz’s shot was blocked on the edge of the area. Two passes and eighty yards later, Ivan Perisic was tearing off his top and Croatia, not Spain, were top of Group D.

Croatia will face a third-placed side in Lens; Spain will play Italy in Paris, knowing that Germany and then France may await after that. If they are to defend their title now, they must do it the hard way and they cannot say they were not warned: the threat had been there from the last minute of the opening 45, when Nikola Kalinic had equalised a game that was entertaining enough but that had looked like it might be played for fun rather than for the future.

When that went in, this changed. When the winner did, the group changed too. The whole tournament did. Two swift diagonal passes from the back gave Perisic, superb throughout, a sight of goal. His effort clipped Gerard Piqué’s boot and flew in at the near post beyond David de Gea who, falling backwards, had tried to stop it with his foot. Behind him, the Croatian fans erupted. They may consider themselves candidates now; they had done this without Luka Modric and trailing early.

Spain had the lead on six minutes via a move in which the ball travelled the entire length of the pitch until it reached Álvaro Morata an inch from the line. It was played out from the back, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta moving it first time into space. Although the pass from Cesc Fàbregas that should have brought penetration was cut out, it fell to David Silva and he slotted it into the inside-right channel for the run from Fàbregas, who clipped it over Danijel Subasic. The shot might have gone in anyway but with two defenders dashing back, Morata made sure, nudging it over the line to score his third goal in three games, taking him level with Gareth Bale as the tournament’s leading marksman.

If the chance to finish third really was on Croatian minds, the opportunity to claim that prize from a potential defeat diminished a moment later with news that Turkey were a goal up in the other game. Better, then, to step out. And soon Croatia were almost level, Kalinic’s 20-yard shot pushed away by De Gea before the same two players were involved in a moment that almost brought a goal.

De Gea’s control was loose, Kalinic pressured and the hurried clearance came to Ivan Rakitic on the edge of the area. His first-time shot was beautifully struck, looping over the goalkeeper and over Gerard Piqué, only to hit the bar, the post and the goalline. Rakitic looked up at the giant screens in this stadium, as if trying to work out how on earth it hadn’t gone in.

If that would have been a lovely goal, the one Croatia did get right on the stroke of half-time might even have been better still, Ivan Perisic turning back and forth away from Juanfran, and dropping a delightful cross over the head of Gerard Piqué and into the six-yard box. Sergio Ramos was beaten to it, De Gea didn’t move, and Kalinic leapt to hit a gentle volley with the outside of his foot.

Until then, this had been an open, entertaining game, if naturally lacking in the tension of a match with a lot resting on it, dotted with occasional lapses of concentration. It had also been a game dominated by a Spain side who never felt at threat and whose axis had tilted from left to right, from Iniesta and Nolito to Fàbregas and Silva. Throughout the midfield, the control and touch was impressive, but that pairing stood out and Silva, in particular, shone: a wonderful pass found Fàbregas; they combined to feed Nolito; and then Silva was brought down on the edge of the area, his free-kick hitting the wall.

Not long after, Ramos could not quite reach a corner from Nolito; the problem was that a moment later, he could not reach a cross from Perisic and, suddenly, unexpectedly, Croatia were level.

This was the first goal Spain had conceded in 947 competitive minutes, 733 at the European Championship, stretching back to the opening game against Italy four years ago. And although the first chance of the second half fell to Morata, whose shot was turned wide at the near post, the threat of more was clear. Croatia had had occasional moments in the opening 45 minutes, now they pushed. Ivan Perisic, fast feet and determined to run at opponents, troubled Spain.

It was his approach that led to Darijo Srna’s cross from the right. De Gea, often uneasy, came for the cross, palmed it out and then followed it, leaping into a star-jump to block the follow-up. The ball lopped up for Marko Pjaca, whose overhead kick went wide. There was a nervousness about Spain now, Del Bosque reacting by putting on Bruno Soriano in search of control. There was another scare when Pjaca went over Ramos’s leg. The central defender accused him of diving and he may have had a point, although there was certainly risk in the challenge.

The referee did not give that but he did give one at the other end when Sime Vrsaljko was judged to have pushed over Silva. The contact was slight at most and accidental too, the defender stumbling towards Silva’s back, perhaps even pushed by Aritz Aduriz. The Croatians’ fury became celebration when Danjiel Subasic, dancing about his line, lurched forward and stopped the penalty, struck centrally by Sergio Ramos, an unexpected choice to take it.

(Guardian service)

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