Spain wins an eight-goal thriller over Croatia in the Round of 16
In one of the most entertaining games of the European Championships, Spain managed to take the 5-3 win. Extra time was needed to see the final result after the score was level at 3-3 after the first 90 minutes. Spain scored two goals in extra time which was enough to secure the win.
This game will be remembered as one of the classics of this event. The first goal of the match was an insane own goal from goalkeeper Pedri and Unai Simon. Due to that goal, people thought Croatia would coast to an easy 1-0 victory without a true goal but both teams decided to play one of the most thrilling games of the event.
Pablo Sarabia scored the first goal for Spain in the 38th minute after receiving the ball in a scramble. The game was tied 1-1 at halftime which wasn’t an indication of what was going in the second half. After the break, the game started to pick up because Spain managed to score two goals in the 57th and 76th minutes.
The insane second half
After Spain’s second and third goals, the score was 3-1 in the Spaniards’ favour. It was set to be a Spanish win but Croatia managed to pick themselves up and recovered. Mislav Oršić and Mario Pašalić scored a goal apiece just before the whistle was blown to force extra time.
Spain finally took the win in extra time when Álvaro Morata finally finished off a clear chance at a goal. The fifth and final goal was scored by Mikel Oyarzabal in the 103rd minute which was enough for the victory.
It was one of the most energetic games of the event and it lived up to the hype. Spain proved they’re still a top side in this tournament with their resilience while Croatia made sure to fight with all of their might. It was a bad ending for the recent World Cup finalists but they still played their hearts out by keeping up with a motivated Spain squad.
There were some blunders for Spain early in the match but they showed poise by coming back and scoring five goals in the final 65 minutes.
A classic game for the teams and their fans
Spain vs Croatia was one of the most fun games in a long while. It had everything from errors to insane highlights that will live on in the history of football. It was exciting to see Spain perform at a high level even after they had a blunder for the first goal of the match. It showed how Spain is mature enough to control their emotions and keep going after a rough experience like that.
Spain head coach Luis Enrique talked about the criticism of Morata and the team’s mindset to get the win.
‘He's dominant aerially, he's strong and he gets us goals’, the coach said. ‘We really need to appreciate having a striker like him. I'm ready for games like this if we have another – but I'm not sure if my family or the fans feel the same. I made a team ready to play matches like this and, frankly, I reckon we only really made one big mistake. The end of the match was so beautiful – I'm glad that the game gave us a second chance’.
Spain will now face Switzerland after they pulled off an upset victory over favourites France on the 2nd of July.
Words: Cholo Martin