Luis Enrique’s men beat Croatia 3-5 in overtime after letting a 1-3 escape in the final minutes of the match. Sarabia, Azpilicueta, Ferran, Morata and Oyarzabal, scorers. Play on Friday against the winner of the France-Switzerland.

The footballers of Spain celebrate the fifth goal.Kiko HuescaEFE

Yes to Espaa had defenses to defend (apart from taking the ball very well and this kind of modern thing) this Monday, already in a round of 16 and already against a rival with a face and eyes like Croatia, would have signed the victory with a scandalous result. The shake that Spain gave Croatia for 90 minutes was undeniable, very difficult to see at this stage of a great tournament. He passed over his opponent, whom he left very little, although the resistance, commanded by a huge player like Modric, was moving in the Balkans. Spain can still win and lose with almost anyone, but now it has become more likely to win than to lose. Suffering, it should be emphasized, was only a product, this time, of that ease that rivals find to, with very little, achieve a lot. This is a problem, and Spain should try to correct it from now on. However, having accessed the quarter finals (place unknown since 2012) supposes a mental impulse that is difficult to counteract, whoever the rival is.

Already at halftime Spain left with the feeling that few more things can be done to win a match. With a possession, yesterday yes, designed only to hurt, the team constantly disarmed Croatia, incredulous without the ball, generous in the effort, but not used to submissions of that caliber. With good grass, with just two changes compared to the last game (Ferran Torres I returned in the place of Gerard Moreno Y Gay please a Jordi Alba) and without the stress of being left out in the group stage in your own country, the team let go and, yes, yesterday, they played really well.

The low of Perisic contributed to the Spanish dominance, because the few times that Croatia managed to recover the ball, their three forwards were unable to keep it. So what Eric Garca He did his best to allow it. The recent signing of Bara is one of those examples of defenses that do not seem like it, and that later, without him in the field, cost Spain an undeserved extension. He has a very good ball output, but the main function of a defender, to defend, is a facet to improve. Less corpulent than Rebic So what Petkovic, lost all the duels, and it was the only loophole through which the team of Dalic, where Modric y Kovacic They do not find support when it comes to circulating.

Unai Simn’s mistake

And then came the first tragedy. A back ball that Pedri could have saved, as he was not particularly pressured, ended up in the wrong, rude, of Unai Simn, to which a point of relaxation and another of bad positioning to receive became a symbol, at that moment, of unreason. I don’t control the ball and … Anyway, the rest is known. By that time, minute 20, Spain had already had a heads up with Boil and an easy auction that Morata crashed into the involuntary hand of a defender. Instead, Croatia had only passed the midfield once, and the play ended on the goalkeeper … Croatia! thanks to a withdrawal and a wonderful pressure from Spain.

Knocked out by the blunder of their goalkeeper, the selection had a bad few minutes. Another duel lost by Eric Garca allowed another chance for Croatia, emboldened until Spain settled down, lowered the ball to the ground and began to play again. And it played really well. The play of the tie, in its beginning, is a manual on how to travel in confined spaces advancing meters. Then, it is true, the thing became the usual butcher of rebounds and crashes that Spain almost always needs to score.

Goal and resurrection

Did Sarabia, changed bands a while before to look for the game from outside to inside. The footballer of Leave Saint GermainPossibly the biggest novelty on the list, he’s completing a terrific Eurocup. The goal did justice to Spain, already downhill in the match.

The second half affected what was seen in the first, with a total Spanish dominance, and as when the thing is face to face, as is the case, everything comes out, Azpilicueta, a man called not to shine, received the ball from Unai Simn, for that moment already quieter, he crossed midfield driving, something unusual in football and less in this selection, he played with Pedri, this with Ferran and the center of the winger pill in a race to the side, which put Spain ahead. It was the logical consequence of what the statistics said, of what anyone sees in the field. It felt like a matter of time the auction in the afternoon, which seemed to arrive in a genius of Pau Torres, who quickly took a foul towards Ferran. The winger took advantage of the carelessness of Guardiola, who was drinking water, to do the third and close the game. That’s how I understood it Luis Enrique, who began to give rest to Koke, to Gay, with the twins in heaven, etc …

Croatian reaction and Spanish extension

It happens that at this selection a blow to the grave, and that together with that irreducible character of the Croats made that in two minutes everything seemed to be going to ruin. Orsi and Pasalic They scored two goals in the first and second shots on target for the Croats, whose resurrection, led by Modric, caused an unforeseeable extension even for themselves. The uprising lasted what it took Spain to calm down. With Busquets cramped and very bad looking, the team, however, refused and went Morata, owner of a brutal party, who ended the Croatian resistance, unable to answer again. Oyarzabal closed a crazy afternoon with the fifth and Croatia, and Modric, they could only walk.


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