UEFA Nations League: Croatia beats Spain in Zagreb
- by croatiaweek
- in Sport
Croatia has beaten Spain in their UEFA Nations League match at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb on Thursday night with a dramatic last-minute winner.
After a scoreless first-half, Croatia would twice have their lead cut before an injury-time winner from Tin Jedvaj gave Croatia the three points.
Before the match recently retired players Vedran Ćorluka, Mario Mandžukić and Danijel Subašić were presented with framed shirts by from the Croatian Football Federation.
Croatia, boosted by the 33,000 fans in the stadium, started strong and nearly took the lead in the 6th minute when Ivan Perišić cut in from the left but his low shot was saved by De Gea.
Perišić again was dangerous 8 minutes later after good work from Ante Rebić, but his shot across the face of the goal just eluded Andrej Kramarić.
Although Spain would enjoy a lot more possession, Croatia’s defence managed to contain them and keeper Lovre Kalinić would not have much work in the first half apart from one save a minute before the break from a long-range shot from Isco.
Croatia would take the lead in the 54th minute when a defensive error saw Kramarić left on goal with just De Gea to beat and the Hoffenheim striker made no mistake.
Croatia’s lead would only last two minutes when Dani Ceballos tapped in from five yards out to make it 1-1.
Ivan Rakitić was next to go close after his shot went just wide before Ispas hit the crossbar for Spain. Croatia took the lead again with 20 minutes to when Tin Jedvaj headed home at the back post from a Luka Modrić cross.
Croatia had a chance to go 3-1 up five minutes later when Rebić was put through one on one with De Gea, but the Manchester United keeper managed to save.
With 12 minutes to go Spain were awarded a penalty when Šime Vrsaljko handled in the box and captain Sergio Ramos made no mistake from the spot.
With one minute of injury-time remaining, it was Jedvaj who would pop up again at the back post, this time with his foot to seal the dramatic victory after Josip Brekalo’s shot was parried into his path by De Gea.
Croatia faces England next in their final Nations League match at Wembley on Sunday to decide the winner of the group.
“First I want to congratulate the players and everyone who was at the stadium, they rewarded us on the pitch. It was a great match. The result turned this way and that. We kept our shape and respected the system and we got rewarded. We created chances and in the end it was all beautiful. Now we play England and we have an important motive for three points and for Vukovar. The match is on Sunday, the day of remembrance for Vukovar and we will not be able to be there but we will be in thoughts with them,” coach Zlatko Dalić said after the match
CROATIA 3-2 SPAIN
UEFA Nations League, League A
Maksimir stadium, Zagreb
GOALS: Kramarić 54′, Ceballos 56′, Jedvaj 69′, Ramos 78′, Jedvaj 90+3
CROATIA: Kalinić, Vrsaljko, Vida, Lovren, Jedvaj, Rakitić (Vlašić 68′), Brozović, Modrić, Perišić, Rebić (Brelako 71′), Kramarić (Pjaca 90′)
SPAIN: De Gea, Martinez, Busquets, Niguez, Ceballos, Rodrigo, Ramos, Aspas, Alba, Roberto, Isco