Croatia 2-1 Spain: Ivan Perisic hands Croatia dramatic win to top Group D
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 22/06/16 7:17am
Croatia finished top of Group D in Euro 2016 after Ivan Perisic's late goal gave them a 2-1 win over European champions Spain, who will face Italy in the last 16.
Perisic's deflected effort in the 87th minute beat David de Gea at his near post, after Sergio Ramos had missed a second-half penalty for Spain.
Alvaro Morata gave Spain the lead in Bordeaux with his third goal of the tournament, converting into an empty net after Cesc Fabregas had lofted the ball over Danijel Subasic one-on-one.
Croatia equalised on the stroke of half-time through Nikola Kalinic, who superbly flicked home Perisic's left-wing cross from close range.
Ramos had the chance to make it 2-1 from the penalty spot with 18 minutes remaining after David Silva had been brought down by Sime Vrsaljko, but Subasic saved well to his right.
The result means Croatia will play one of the third-placed sides from Group B, E or F in Lens on Saturday, while Spain will play Italy at the Stade de France in Paris on Monday in a repeat of the 2012 final.
Vicente del Bosque kept the same starting XI that beat both Turkey and Czech Republic in the opening group games, while Luka Modric was missing for Croatia through injury.
It was Manchester City's Silva who played a big part in Spain's opener, slipping a fine ball inside for Chelsea midfielder Fabregas, whose dinked effort over Subasic was turned home on the line by Morata.
Silva's cross was then turned goalwards by Nolito, only to see the shot fall a yard wide, before at the other end De Gea beat away Kalinic's effort from 20 yards.
Croatia then came close after De Gea was caught in possession, Ivan Rakitic cleverly chipping the ball over the Manchester United goalkeeper, only to see the ball hit the underside of the crossbar, then the post, then Gerard Pique's foot and clear.
Spain could have made it 2-0 on two occasions before the break; first, Ramos miscued a free header from Silva's corner, before Fabregas' superb through ball was miscontrolled by Morata, and Croatia soon made them pay.
After persistence at the byline, Perisic's dangerous ball found Kalinic, who had got ahead of Ramos in the six-yard box, before the former Blackburn man's finish slipped past De Gea for 1-1.
Euro 2012 winners Spain found it difficult after the break, as the hard-working Croatia contained Del Bosque's side, hitting them on the counter-attack.
De Gea was again unconvincing in the second half, seeing his weak punch fall to Rakitic, but the Barcelona midfielder's poke towards goal fortuitously hit De Gea in the body.
Ramos had another fine chance to score from a Silva corner, but his unmarked header went a foot wide of Subasic's left-hand post.
Spain were then handed a controversial penalty as Vrsaljko bundled down Silva in the box, but after captain Darijo Srna gave Subasic instructions to dive right as Ramos stepped up, the stopper answered the command and beat away the Real Madrid defender's effort.
While replays showed the penalty decision was harsh, Subasic was in fact two yards off his line when Ramos struck his spot kick.
With three minutes remaining Croatia grabbed the winner, racing upfield on the break through Perisic, who drove into the box and netted from an angle as his shot deflected off Gerard Pique and past De Gea at his near post on a night to forget for the United stopper.
Silva saw a last-gasp effort heroically blocked by Vrsaljko, and Croatia held on to condemn Spain to their first defeat in a European Championship since 2004.