Spain ran out 5-3 winners over Croatia after extra-time in one of the games of the tournament so far to qualify for the Euro 2020 quarterfinals.
Croatia were yet to find their stride in the tournament, having racked up a win, draw and loss in the Euro 2020 group stage. However, they got off to an unexpectedly good start in this one. Despite Spain dominating posession in the early periods, an overhit back pass from Pedri was horrendously miscontrolled by Unai Simon in the Spain goal. The Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper could only watch as the ball rolled into his net and Croatia were gifted the lead out of nothing.
However, Croatia didn’t lead for long as Spain quickly got back on level terms before the half. In the 38th minute, major pin-ball in the box saw the ball break nicely for Pablo Sarabia, who thumped the ball home for second goal at Euro 2020.
Euro 2020: Croatia stage late fightback to force ET
The second half saw Spain seize control and they took the lead in the 57th minute through Cesar Azpilicueta. Ferran Torres’s whipped cross was perfectly placed for the Chelsea skipper to head the ball home and put his nation ahead.
Spain looked to have wrapped this Euro 2020 Round of 16 tie up when they added another in the 77th minute. Croatia switched off defensively which allowed Pau Torres to launch a long free-kick in behind for Ferran Torres to chase. Torres took the ball in his stride and tucked away a left-footed finish to extend the score to 3-1.
Croatia, however, continued to attack and forced plenty of confusion in the 85th minute with both teams scrambling for the ball in the box. The Croatians wheeled away in celebration, while Spain continued to attempt to clear the ball.
The referee indicated the ball had indeed crossed the line and replays showed Mislav Orsic had bundled the ball home for a scrappy goal. While it wasn’t the prettiest goal, it set the game up for a grandstand finish.
The drama escalated further when Orsic’s cross was headed home by Mario Pasalic in the 92nd minute to draw the Croats level. The full-time whistle sounded with the score tied at 3-3 in one of the most dramatic matches at Euro 2020.
⏰ FULL TIME ⏰— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 28, 2021
And breathe… 😅
🇭🇷🆚🇪🇸 Six-goal thriller between Croatia and Spain heads to extra time
One word to describe those 90 minutes… 😱#EURO2020
Spain clinch quarterfinal spot in extra time
However, in extra-time, Spain wrestled back control of the game and nudged in front again. After Simon spectacularly denied Andrej Kramaric from close range, the much maligned Alvaro Morata scored down the other end. He took one touch to control Dani Olmo’s cross before lashing home a left-footed strike into the roof of the net.
Another Olmo cross led to the last goal of the game after he found Mikel Oyarzabal in behind. The Real Sociedad forward finished well to finally end the scoring in this epic encounter with the score reading 5-3 to La Roja.
Spain will now face Switzerland in the Euro 2020 quarterfinals. They will look to improve on this performance, as well as their previous draws against Sweden and Poland. Croatia, on the other hand, exit Euro 2020 after a commendable fight in the Round of 16.