Jesus Navas Sends Croatia Home
Knowing that the match will decide their fortunes, both Spain and Croatia started the game very energetically in the last match of Group C Euro 2012. However, the superiority of the Spaniard midfielders pushed the Croatians in defense zone in the first twenty minutes. But it was not until the 22nd minute; Spain got a good chance from Torres. But this time Pletikosa managed to save his goal.
Instantly, Croatia fired back with a good chance from Pranjic, but Casillas managed to save it too. On the 28th minute, Corluka was given the first yellow card of the game for his protest to the referee. He complained that Croatia should had be given a penalty for a harsh foul to their top scorer, Mandzukic.
Most of the time, Spain keep the game under control, and win the ball possession. Xavi and Iniesta orchestrated the midfield very well, but on the other side, Croaatia defended very well. The strong defense pushed the Croatians to make fouls, and Srna got a yellow card around the end of the first half. The score in Gdansk was still 0-0, and both sides must have heard that Italy had made the first goal.
Croatia tried to be more offensive in the beginning of the second half, but they only managed to get the second yellow card for Strinic for a foul against Silva.
Meanwhile, the supporters of both sides sent flares to the air.
Modric showed up his skill when he managed to send a cross to Rakitic in the 59th minute. Rakitic headed the ball, but a good save again from the Spanish goalkeeper and skipper. In the 61st minute, Del Bosque made a critical decision to substitute Torres with Jesus Navas. Croatia also made replacement in the 65th minute by substituting Pranjic and Vida with Jelavic and Perisic. Spain was still on the attack, but Croatia defended well. Even sometimes, Croatia made good counter attacks.
Spain strengthened the attack by replacing Silva with Fabregas. However, Croatia still had a strong defense, and also a good concentration. Eduardo came for Vukojevic for Croatia in the 81st minute. However, the ball possession is still on the Spanish side. It seemed that Spain did want to secure at the top of the table. The disaster for Croatia came just 3 minutes before the end of the normal time. A good cross from Fabegras to Iniesta who managed to free himself from the offside trap. Brilliantly he sent to ball to Navas on the other side. Jesus Navas scored very easily.
Croatia tried to fight back, but they could not made any goal. Even they got more yellow cards for Mandzukic and Jelavic. They have fought well, but they could not go through. The goals from Navas, and 2 goals for Italy against Ireland have sent them home from Euro 2012.
Spain: Casillas ( c ), Sergio Ramos, Pique, Jordi Alba, Arbeloa, Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi (Negredo), Iniesta, Torres (Navas), Silva (Fabegras)
Croatia: Pletikosa, Schildenfeld, Corluka, Strinic, Vida (Jelavic), Vukojevic (Eduardo), Rakitic, Pranjic (Perisic), Srna, Mandzukic, Modric ( c ).