Euro 2012 Group C: Croatia 0-1 Spain | inside World Soccer

Euro 2012 Group C: Croatia 0-1 Spain

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Substitute Jesús Navas scored a late winner to give Spain a 1-0 hard-fought victory over Croatia in Gdańsk and claim a place in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

Spanish winger Jesús Navas kicks the ball into an empty net to score against Croatia
Spanish winger Jesús Navas kicks the ball into an empty net to score against Croatia

Photo: Getty Images

In a poor first period, Fernando Torres came closest to breaking the deadlock when he brought a good save out of Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa in the 23rd minute.

Knowing they were likely to need a goal to give them a chance of reaching the last eight, Croatia had no choice but to throw more men forward after the interval.

And the Croats came agonisingly close to taking the lead on 59 minutes when Luka Modrić sent a cross with the outside of his boot onto the head of Ivan Rakitić, whose low header was brilliantly saved at point-blank range by Iker Casillas.

The match seemed destined to end in a stalemate, but with two minutes remaining, a swift attack saw Andrés Iniesta break free, where he squared to Navas to walk into goal with Pletikosa arguing for offside.

The defending champions now progress to the last eight as the winners of Group C alongside runners-up Italy, where they will face one of France, England or Ukraine.


Croatia: Stipe Pletikosa; Domagoj Vida (Nikica Jelavić, 66), Vedran Ćorluka, Gordon Schildenfeld, Ivan Strinić; Ognjen Vukojević (Eduardo, 81), Ivan Rakitić; Darijo Srna (Ivan Perišić, 66), Luka Modrić, Danijel Pranjić; Mario Mandžukić

Spain: Iker Casillas; Álvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Xavi (Álvaro Negredo, 89), Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso; David Silva (Cesc Fàbregas, 73), Fernando Torres (Jesús Navas, 61), Andrés Iniesta

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