Croatia beat Spain 3-2 in the UEFA Nations League to set up a dramatic finale the Zlatko Dalić's side visit Wembley to face England on Sunday - with all three teams capable of winning Group 4.
Tin Jedvaj scored a stoppage time winner for Croatia, capping a remarkable match which saw Spain fight back from behind twice before eventually succumbing to a spirited and resilient home side.
Andrej Kramaric scored the opener 10 minutes into the second half, making the most of a breakdown in communities between Sergio Ramos and Sergi Roberto to finish past the helpless David De Gea.
November 15, 2018 Croatia's Andrej Kramaric celebrates scoring their first goal
Image credit: Reuters
It took just two minutes for Spain to equalise, though, with a slick passing move that involved Iago Aspas and Isco and presented Dani Ceballos with a chance that he simply couldn’t miss from a matter of yards out.
Croatia edged ahead again when Jedvaj headed home from an excellent Luka Modric, only for Spain to restore parity once again after Ramos was given the chance to level from the penalty spot. But it was Croatia and Jedvaj who claimed all three points when the defender turned home a rebound from a De Gea save at the back post.
Spain’s Nations League has gone from triumph to catastrophe. When Spain thumped Croatia 6-0 back in September, it looked like Luis Enrique’s side would stroll to top spot in their Nations League group. Since then, though, they have suffered damaging defeats to England and now Croatia, meaning their Nations League fate is no longer in their own hands. They need a draw between England and Croatia in the final group game to make the Finals next summer. Spain’s Nations League campaign has gone from triumph to catastrophe.
November 15, 2018 Spain coach Luis Enrique gestures
Image credit: Reuters
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ante Rebic (Croatia) Rebic epitomised the spirit of this performance from Croatia. The World Cup finalists were, for the most part, outplayed, spending much of the match chasing the ball, but there was a spirit and drive to their game that Spain just couldn’t match, and Rebic was their most spirited and driven player. He could have used some composure in the final third, but nobody gave Ramos and Inigo Martinez the same level of trouble that Rebic did over the 90 minutes.
November 15, 2018 Croatia's Ante Rebic in action with Spain's Jordi Alba
Image credit: Reuters
Croatia - Kalinic 6, Vrsaljko 7, Lovren 6, Vida 6, Jedvaj 8, Rakitic 5, Brozovic 6, Rebic 8, Modric 7, Perisic 7, Kramaric 7. Subs - Pjaca, Vlasic 5, Brekalo 6.
Spain - De Gea 6, Roberto 4, Martinez 5, Ramos 6, Alba 7, Busquets 6, Saul 5, Ceballos 8, Aspas 6, Rodrigo 5, Isco 6. Subs - Asensio 6, Morata 5, Suso 5.
54’ GOAL! Croatia 1-0 Spain: The high press works for Croatia! They forced the mistake from Spain, with Ramos' short pass pounced upon. The ball fell nicely for Kramaric and he made no mistake in finishing past De Gea, who looks at his defence with bemusement.
56’ GOAL! Croatia 1-1 Spain: What a response from Spain! They were behind for just two minutes! It was a good passing move that involved Aspas and Isco that presented Ceballos with the chance to turn home the ball from a matter of yards out. Back on level terms.
70’ GOAL! Croatia 2-1 Spain: Croatia have got their noses back in front again! Modric found the unmarked Jedvaj at the back post and he makes no mistake in heading home. De Gea stood no chance of keeping that out. He was left completely stranded!
76’ How didn't that go in?! Incredible. First, the save is made from Ramos, who was clean through on goal. The ball spun up and Morata looked certain to score, but from a yard out the block is made on the line.
77’ PENALTY KICK TO SPAIN! The referee points to the spot after a handball from Vrsaljko! The Croatia players aren't happy.
78’ GOAL! Croatia 2-2 Spain: We're level once again in this pulsating second half! Ramos steps up to the 12-yard mark and sends Kalinic the wrong way. He grabs the ball and runs back to the centre spot. Spain want to win this game now. A point isn't what they came for.
94’ GOAL! Croatia 3-2 Spain: Croatia have won it right at the death! It's Jedvaj again with the goal! Brekalo gets the shot on goal from just inside the box, De Gea pushes it out, but Jedvaj was on hand to convert the rebound and give Croatia a huge three points in this Nations League group!
Sergio Ramos has now scored as many goals for Spain as Pedro Rodriguez (17).
Spain need a draw between England and Croatia to progress to the Nations League Finals. Croatia need a win, while a defeat or 0-0 draw would see them relegated.