UEFA Nations League - Group A4
CroatiaCroatia3SpainSpain2

Croatia 3-2 Spain: Home win means England can still advance in Nations League

By Michael EmonsBBC Sport
Tin Jedvaj
Tin Jedvaj scored twice for Croatia - his first two goals for his country

Croatia gained a dramatic late winner to beat Spain in the Nations League - a result which keeps alive England's hopes of winning the tournament.

It means all three countries can finish top of Group A4, with England taking on Croatia in the last match on Sunday.

Two goals from Tin Jedvaj, including one in the 93rd minute, gave the World Cup finalists the victory in Zagreb.

Andrej Kramaric scored the hosts' opener, with Spain's goals coming from Dani Ceballos and Sergio Ramos.

Whoever wins at Wembley will finish top of the group and advance to June's finals, to have a chance of becoming Nations League champions and also to earn a place at Euro 2020.

However, if Sunday's game ends in a draw, then Spain will finish top.

A goalless draw on Sunday would mean England finish second, with Croatia relegated. A score draw, however, would take Croatia above England on the head-to-head record - by virtue of having scored more away goals in the matches between the sides - and drop the Three Lions into the second tier.

Nations League Group A4
If England and Croatia finish level on points, their positions in the table are decided on head-to-head record. It finished 0-0 in Croatia in October, with them meeting again at Wembley on Sunday, 18 November

It is set to be a thrilling conclusion to the group after a hugely entertaining clash in Zagreb, with Croatia still in contention despite losing 6-0 to Spain in their opening match back in September.

Ivan Perisic nearly gave the hosts a sixth-minute lead in Zagreb but his effort was pushed on to the post by Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

In a breathless second half, Kramaric was left unmarked to slot past De Gea, but Croatia's lead only lasted two minutes before Ceballos finished off a beautifully worked team goal, which also involved Iago Aspas and Isco in the build-up.

Jedvaj scored his first goal for his country when he headed in at the back post from Luka Modric's fine cross, but the Spaniards again equalised - through Ramos' penalty after Sime Vrsaljko's handball.

A Spain win would have guaranteed them top spot and Chelsea forward Alvaro Morata, on as a second-half substitute, had the ball in the net but was offside.

If it had finished as a draw then Croatia's hopes of finishing top would have been over, but there was a late twist as Marcelo Brozovic's low shot was parried by De Gea but into Jedvaj's path and he won it for the home country.

'Football has not been fair to us' - what they said

Spain coach Luis Enrique said: "It shows it was a very difficult group. We still have a chance. The group was, as we expected, very difficult with two of the best teams in the world.

"I am obviously worried about the things we have to improve. I am quite happy with this match, but the result is undeserved and I think football today has not been fair to us."

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said: "We were rewarded for a magnificent match."

Line-ups

Croatia

Formation 4-3-3

  • 12L Kalinic
  • 2Vrsaljko
  • 6Lovren
  • 21Vida
  • 16Jedvaj
  • 10Modric
  • 11Brozovic
  • 7RakiticSubstituted forVlasicat 68'minutes
  • 9KramaricSubstituted forPjacaat 89'minutes
  • 18RebicBooked at 70minsSubstituted forBrekaloat 74'minutes
  • 4PerisicBooked at 88mins

Substitutes

  • 1Livakovic
  • 3Milic
  • 5Mitrovic
  • 8Kovacic
  • 13Vlasic
  • 14Bradaric
  • 15Pasalic
  • 17Rog
  • 19Badelj
  • 20Pjaca
  • 22Brekalo
  • 23Letica

Spain

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1De Gea
  • 20Roberto
  • 15Ramos
  • 4Martínez
  • 18Alba
  • 6SaúlSubstituted forFernández Saezat 74'minutes
  • 5BusquetsBooked at 87mins
  • 8CeballosBooked at 90mins
  • 9RodrigoSubstituted forAsensioat 61'minutes
  • 17Iago AspasSubstituted forMorataat 64'minutes
  • 22Isco

Substitutes

  • 2Llorente
  • 3Gayá
  • 7Morata
  • 10Asensio
  • 11Fernández Saez
  • 12Hermoso
  • 13Arrizabalaga
  • 14Azpilicueta
  • 16Rodri
  • 19Castro Otto
  • 21Fornals
  • 23López
Referee:
Aleksey Kulbakov
Attendance:
33,018

Match Stats

Home TeamCroatiaAway TeamSpain
Possession
Home33%
Away67%
Shots
Home15
Away13
Shots on Target
Home7
Away6
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home11
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Croatia 3, Spain 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Croatia 3, Spain 2.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Croatia 3, Spain 2. Tin Jedvaj (Croatia) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Josip Brekalo (Croatia) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ivan Perisic.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Domagoj Vida (Croatia) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Tin Jedvaj with a cross.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Josip Brekalo (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nikola Vlasic.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Croatia. Conceded by Sergio Ramos.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Luka Modric.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Dejan Lovren (Croatia) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luka Modric with a cross.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Isco (Spain).

  11. Post update

    Sime Vrsaljko (Croatia) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  12. Booking

    Dani Ceballos (Spain) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Dani Ceballos (Spain).

  14. Post update

    Sime Vrsaljko (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Croatia. Marko Pjaca replaces Andrej Kramaric.

  16. Booking

    Ivan Perisic (Croatia) is shown the yellow card.

  17. Booking

    Sergio Busquets (Spain) is shown the yellow card.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Croatia. Conceded by Sergi Roberto.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Andrej Kramaric (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Tin Jedvaj.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Sergi Roberto (Spain).

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