Euro 2020: Spain beat Croatia in eight-goal thriller as Alvaro Morata shines | Football News


Spain striker Alvaro Morata answered vicious criticism by serving to fireplace his facet to a 5-3 win over Croatia after additional time on Monday (June 28) to succeed in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 in a breathless match laced with storylines. In the most effective recreation of the event to this point, Spain fell behind in the primary half to a Pedri personal aim from close to the midway line after keeper Unai Simon let a backpass bobble previous him.

But the three-times European champions recovered their poise and appeared en path to a cushty victory with objectives from Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres. Showing the spirit that took them to the final World Cup ultimate, Croatia staged an astonishing comeback with objectives from Mislav Orsic in the eighty fifth minute and a Mario Pasalic header in added time to pressure the additional interval.

Luis Enrique’s facet confirmed super character although and prevailed with Morata’s excellent strike in the one hundredth minute and a aim from Mikel Oyarzabal in the 103rd. Spain celebrated a primary knockout win in a serious event since profitable Euro 2012 to arrange a quarter-final towards France or Switzerland in St Petersburg on Friday.

“It was an epic game,” stated Luis Enrique. “I’ve experienced many intense games in my career but this was one of the best. An infinite number of things happened to us but we knew how to turn things around. Everyone saw our true team spirit today.”

Goalscorer Azpilicueta added: “We suffered so much, it has been such a long time since we have won a knockout match and we managed to finally do it against the World Cup runners up.”

Captain Sergio Busquets additionally praised his facet’s mentality and defended Simon, who compensated for his first-half calamity with an excellent save to thwart Andrej Kramaric and cease Croatia taking the lead early in extra-time. “Unai knows he’s got our total confidence. The goal was bad luck but he has a cool head on him and is ambitious and he showed that today. He was ultra-secure after the goal and made some top saves,” Busquets stated.

“When Croatia changed their system, they flooded the pitch high up and we didn’t adjust quickly enough. But overall I’m so happy with the result, how we handled the extra time and the fact that we are in the quarter-finals.”

Croatia head dwelling with their heads held excessive however are nonetheless ready to win a knockout recreation at a Euros. “At the start of extra-time we had them on the ropes but we failed to score from two good chances. Then the game turned around and we didn’t have the strength to come back,” stated midfielder Luka Modric.

Coach Zlatko Dalic added: “We did everything we could, brought it back to 3-3, had some chances, but we couldn’t win it in the end.”

Morata has been the centre of attention of Spain’s campaign amid inconsistent performances and criticism from his own supporters, which took an ugly turn during last week’s 5-0 win over Slovakia. His spouse and youngsters had been threatened by supporters in Seville and he complained of going through loss of life threats earlier than the sport, prompting coach Luis Enrique to induce police motion.

The striker has lengthy struggled for consistency in entrance of aim in a profession which has taken him to Real Madrid, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Juventus, whereas he has been accused by former coaches and crew mates of getting a fragile disposition.

But right here he confirmed metal when Spain’s confidence was on the ground, controlling a Dani Olmo cross with one foot earlier than blasting into the roof of the online to place Spain again in entrance. Substitute Oyarzabal struck moments later from one other Olmo cross to extend Spain’s lead and this time Croatia had no response.

The consequence made them the primary facet in a Euros to attain 5 or extra objectives in consecutive matches, with Morata becoming a member of Fernando Torres as his nation’s joint highest scorer in the competitors on 5 objectives.

Pedri earned an undesirable document: his personal aim from 49 yards was the longest personal aim in a Euros and the event’s first ever from exterior the field.


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