Croatia gave a glimpse of its underdog credentials when they shocked Spain 2-1 to top Group D. Their first loss in European Championships in 12 years condemned Spain to second position behind Croatia and the prospect of facing Italy in the next round.
Both sides knew before the match started that they would go through, but it didn’t deter the sides from putting in an entertaining contest. Alvaro Morata put the defending Champions front after just seven minutes. But Croatia leveled the game just before halftime through Nikola Kalinic which was the first goal Spain conceded in 735 minutes in Euros. Sergio Ramos had a second half penalty saved but Spain were nowhere near their usual best. And when Ivan Perisic fired past David De Gea in the 87th minute, Croatia got their well-earned victory.
The loss meant Spain will next face Italy while Croatia find themselves with an easier draw from the knockouts.
Player of the game
Ivan Perisic was a nuisance to Spain through the entire match. With his runs on the flank and willingness to track back and do the dirty job, Perisic proved that he can do everything on his own in Modric’s absence. He had a hand in both the goals assisting the first and scoring the second to win the game for Croatia. A perfect game before the knockouts!