Croatia recorded a famous 2-1 victory over Spain in their final game of the group D fixture to secure a round of 16 ticket in the ongoing Euro 2016 championship while Turkey thrashed Czech Republic 2-0 in the other group D tie.
Nikola Kalinic pegged Spain back shortly before half time after Alvaro Morata’s seven minutes opener gave La Roja the lead for much of the first half.
Morata netted early after a delightful through ball from David Silva found the run of Cesc Fabregas, and the now ex-Juventus forward – re-signed today by Real Madrid – converted from close range.
Ramos failed to restore Spain’s lead after the break when he sent a firm penalty down the middle for Subasic to parry away while Ivan Perišić made no mistake with a left footed finish to hand Croatia group D summit with three minutes left on the clock.
Vicente del Bosque named the same starting line-up as the previous two group games despite Sergio Ramos risking suspension for the Round of 16 with a booking, while Croatia made five changes from the side that drew 2-2 with the Czech Republic.
Croatia started well but found themselves behind inside just after seven minutes when Morata sprung the defence to meet Fabregas’s goal bound effort, executing a simple tap in for 1-0.
Nolito went close moments later before a Sergio Ramos error allowed Nikola Kalinic to shoot on David De Gea’s goal, but the Manchester United man was equal to it. De Gea nearly undid his good work when he was caught in possession but Ivan Rakitic’s chip struck the post, crossbar and a defender on the line, all without actually crossing the goal line.
Spain produced some slick play, sometimes inside the Croatia area, while Croatia were competitive throughout and caused problems for Spain with some direct running which was soon to be rewarded as the Spaniards got punished on the brink of the interval when Kalinic got to a near post cross before Ramos and produced an sassy finish with the outside of his foot to draw level at the Stade Matmut-Atlantique.
Croatia maintained the momentum after the break, denying space to Spain, De Gea being called into action and an overhead kick from Marko Pjaca dribbling just wide, a Morata toe-poke the extent of Spain’s attack.
Spain gained ground but Croatia remained dogged and disciplined, though they did lose Ramos from a Silva corner around the hour mark, and 10 minutes later Ramos was denied from 12 yards, though Daniel Subasic was so far off his line it was more like eight yards.
Both teams appeared to tire thereafter but Perisic had enough energy to overlap Kalinic and shoot early, giving Spain what on paper appears a far more difficult first knockout encounter.
The defeat means Spain will face already confirmed Group E winners Italy.
Meanwhile, Turkey kept alive their faint hopes of reaching the last 16 of Euro 2016 and eliminated the Czech Republic with a hard-fought victory in Lens thanks to goals from Burak Yilmaz and Tufan.
The result guarantees Northern Ireland go through, while Turkey must wait until Wednesday to learn their fate.