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Spain beat Croatia in eight-goal thriller as Morata answers critics

Croatia versus Spain round of 16

 

Spain striker Alvaro Morata answered vicious criticism by helping fire his side to a 5-3 win over Croatia after extra time on Monday to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 in a breathless match laced with storylines.

In the best game of the tournament so far, Spain fell behind in the first half to a Pedri own goal from near the halfway line after an incredible error from keeper Unai Simon.

But the three-times European championes recovered their poise and looked on their way to a comfortable victory with goals from Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres.

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Showing the spirit that took them to the last World Cup final, Croatia staged an astonishing comeback with goals from Mislav Orsic in the 85th minute and a Mario Pasalic header in added time to force the extra period.

Luis Enrique’s side showed tremendous character though and prevailed with Morata’s superb strike in the 100th minute and a goal from Mikel Oyarzabal in the 103rd.

Spain celebrated a first knockout win in a major tournament since winning Euro 2012 to set up a quarter-final against France or Switzerland in St Petersburg on Friday.

“We suffered so much, it has been such a long time since we have won a knockout match and we managed to finally do it against the World Cup runners up,” said Spain defender Cesar Azpilicueta.

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