First serious opponent for Spain tonight that exploited their accumulated tiredness & the multiple mistakes of the Spanish team. Croatia defeated 2 - 1 Spain in the last Group D match of the Euro 2016 Championship which leaves Spain in second place in the Group. Although the good news for Spain is that they qualify for the next round, the bad news is that it "changes" their match-up path with now Italy the next opponent next Monday in Paris. However, if Spain manages to continue after Italy the "theoretical" stronger teams, e.g. Germany & France... will also be along the path. 

Obvious surprise result as a draw would have given Spain top spot and the "easier" path, but this now is for Croatia which played their game & very well. Croatian bet on pressure & in exploiting the Spanish mistakes, using effectively the counter-attacks which were more dangerous as the Spaniards tired towards the end. Said this it is no excuse & does not take away the merit from the Croatian side which is a very good team, even without Modric who did not play tonight.

Spain Euro 2016

Spain started with the same 11 from previous matches : De Gea, Juanfran, Piqué, Ramos, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Cesc; Silva, Nolito & Morata; started strong, controlling the game & creating chances. The goal came early for Spain when Morata pushed in a Cesc Fabegras pass in the 7th min.

Spain then had a concentration slip & lost the ball too much which allowed Croatia into the match & lifted in confidence. Their goal & equalizer came in the 44t min through Kalinic, a psychological blow for Spain.

But the draw was still enough for top spot for Spain, & while Spain attempted to secure things the evening heat & tiredness came into effect. Croatia was psychical stronger & quicker which troubled Spain & were getting closer to the goal every time. 

Then a crucial moment half way through the 2º half when a doubtful penalty was called on David Silva. Spanish Captain Sergio Ramos took the penalty but was stopped by Croatian goalkeeper Sabasic. A boost to Croatia which carried them through until the end when they converted a rapid counter-attack into the winning goal in the 86th min through Perisic

The rest is what it is 2 - 1 result in favour of  Croatia.

The end result is not bad in itself for Spain as it may bring back to earth the early Spanish euphoria after their 2 previous earlier games. The negative aspects is, as said, the difficult path towards a hypothetical final where beforehand Spain must overcome the Euro 2016 favourites. While the "other" path is beforehand much "easier" now for Croatia. 

Next game for Spain, Monday 27th of June in Paris against Italy. An elimination game & against an old & difficult rival. Tough affair.

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