Date: June 21
Result: Croatia 2 Spain 1
Croatia: Kalinic 45, Perisic 87
Spain: Morata 9
Venue: Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
Ivan Perisic scored a brilliant late winner as Croatia defeated Spain 2-1 in Bordeaux to take top spot in Group D ahead of the defending champions.
The defeat left Spain facing a tough second-round match against Italy in Paris next Monday, while Croatia, despite their off-the-field problems, face an easier tie against one of the third-placed sides in Lens on Saturday.
Spain had taken the lead with an early goal that typified everything that was good about their game. The move that began at the back ended with David Silva playing a brilliant reverse pass into the run of Cesc Fabregas, whose cross was tapped in by Alvaro Morata.
The goal appeared to set the tone for the rest of the game but Croatia, without the injured Luka Modric and fielding several fringe players, gradually asserted themselves and equalised just before half-time through Nikola Kalinic, who beat Sergio Ramos at the near post to stab home Perisic’s cross.
Spain tried to re-assert control in the second half with the introduction of midfielder Bruno for forward Nolito. But Sergio Ramos missed a harshly-awarded penalty only minutes after Croatia had legitimate claims for a spot-kick rejected.
It looked as if both teams had settled for a draw, but Perisic had other ideas.
Sergio Ramos’ penalty was saved by Croatia keeper Danijel Subasic, who was way off his line, in the 72nd minute. It had been a harsh decision to award the spot-kick, as David Silva appeared to collide with his own player, rather than Croatia defender Sime Vrsaljko, as he tried to connect with Andres Iniesta’s lofted throughball. It was especially hard on Croatia as a penalty had been denied to them minutes earlier when Perisic fell under clumsy Spanish challenges.
Man of the match:
Ivan Perisic provided the cross for Nikola Kalinic to score Croatia’s opener, then scored a brilliant winner, firing inside David De Gea’s near post, as Croatia stunned the defending champions to take top spot in the group.
Matter of fact:
Nikola Kalinic’s opening goal for Croatia ended Spain’s run without conceding a tournament goal at 947 minutes.
Croatia stunned Spain to go through as group winners but there was again just as much attention on their off-the-pitch activities. Reports of planned violence by Croatia fans in the 30th minute, with suggestions that some might attempt to get on to the pitch to attack the referee, did not materialise. Instead, riot police lined up on the touchline in front of the main section of Croatian fans in the Stade de Bordeaux.
Attempts on target
23 Danijel Subasic
02 Sime Vrsaljko
04 Ivan Perisic (09 Andrek Kramaric 90)
05 Vedran Corluka
06 Tin Jedvaj
07 Ivan Rakitic
11 Darijo Srna
15 Marko Rog (08 Mateo Kovacic 82)
16 Nikola Kalinic
19 Milan Badelj
20 Marko Pjaca (22 Duje Cop 90)
Starting formation: 4-2-3-1
Subasic – Srna, Corluka, Jedvaj, Vrsaljko- Rog, Badelj – Oerisic, Rakitic, Pjaca – Kalinic
13 David De Gea
03 Gerard Pique
05 Sergio Busquets
06 Andres Iniesta
07 Alvaro Morata (Aritz Aduriz 67)
10 Cesc Febregas (14 Thiago Alcantara 84)
15 Sergio Ramos
18 Jordi Alba
21 David Silva
22 Nolito (19 Bruno 59)
Starting formation: 4-3-3
De Gea – Juanfran, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba – Fabregas, Busquets, Iniesta – David Silva, Morata, Nolito
Croatia: Rog 29, Srna 70, Vrsaljko 70, Perisic 88
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Hol)