Croatia stun Spain
BORDEAUX, France (AP):
Croatia came from behind to beat two-time defending champions Spain 2-1 yesterday and finish top of Group D at the European Championship.
Ivan Perisic's 87th-minute goal ended Spain's unbeaten run at a European Championship that stretched all the way back to 2004.
Defeat means that Spain will now meet Italy in the round of 16, in a potentially mouth-watering match at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis on Monday - a repeat of the 2012 final that Spain won 4-0. Croatia will play one of the third-place teams in the northern French city of Lens on Saturday.
It had all started so well for Spain, when striker Alvaro Morata put his side ahead in the seventh minute, redirecting the ball into the net after a shot by midfielder Cesc Fabregas. Spain playmaker David Silva had split open the Croatia defence with a through-ball to create the chance.
Nikola Kalinic equalised just before halftime with a nice back-heel flick that beat Spain goalkeeper David De Gea at the near post after Perisic delivered the cross from the left.
Spain had a chance to retake the lead, but defender Sergio Ramos saw his penalty saved by Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic in the 72nd minute.
It proved to be a costly miss when Perisic finished off a fast counter attack with a low left-foot shot that beat goalkeeper De Gea at his near post.
Both teams had entered the match at the Stade the Bordeaux guaranteed a spot in the knockout stage. However, both teams wanted to win, especially as the runners-up in the group meet Italy.