Spain had a disastrous start after goalkeeper Unai Simon made a terrible mistake to let Pedri’s pass roll into his own nets.
However, La Roja recovered quickly and cancelled Croatia’s lead through Pablo Sarabia.
The Spaniards took a step forward after Cesar Azpilicueta headed Ferran Torres’ precise cross into the nets and soon Torres found himself on the scoresheet to make it 3-1 in favour of Spain.
When it looked like the game was out of reach for the Croatians, they did the impossible by scoring back to back goals in the final few minutes which included the dramatic equaliser in injury time by Mario Pasalic.
The extra time witnessed another turnaround as Spain quickly went 5-3 up after goals from Alvaro Morata and substitute Mikel Oyarzabal.
Croatia struggled to get back into the game as Spain emerged victorious to cruise to the quarter-finals.
Unai Simon with a monumental error but stood tall in the end.
The terrible error from the Athletic club goalkeeper to let the ball pass into his own nets was completely not an excuse but he made it up for the mistake by making some fine saves in the latter half of the game. Croatia would have gone upfront at some point in the first period of extra time if not were for Simon’s crucial saves.
A game of comebacks.
First, we witnessed Spain making a comeback from an early disaster, going 3-1 up but only to allow the Croatians to score two goals to get on level terms. The extra-time looked in favour of the Croatians due to the momentum they picked up at the end of ninety minutes. However, the Spaniards, who were looking rather exhausted, made yet another come-back by scoring two goals.
Morata silences his critics.
The pressure was mounting on Alvaro Morata because of his lacklustre start to the Euro campaign and the Spanish striker also revealed that his family had received abuse as a consequence. Today’s game was a perfect occasion to prove his naysayers wrong as he put on an impressive display in the attack and also scored a belter of a goal in extra time.
Enrique’s baffling substitutions nearly cost the game
Although Dani Olmo and Mikel Oyarzabal made their impact as substitutes, subbing off the likes of Eric Garcia, Ferran Torres left everyone surprised. Perhaps, Croatia got back into the game after Luis Enrique completed a handful of substitutions. The most interesting thing was both Thiago Alcantara and Marcos Llorente didn’t get a chance in a game they could have been more useful.