FOOTBALL: Spain’s chances of completing an unprecedented third straight European Championship win have been made a lot harder after a dramatic 2-1 defeat to Croatia in the final Group D game at Euro 2016.
Spain’s loss meant it dropped to second in the group and will now have to face another tournament favourite in Italy in the last 16 in Paris.
Croatia leapfrogged the Spanish into top spot and will now take on one of the four best third-placed sides in Lens.
Alvaro Morata put the defending champions in front in the first half before Nikola Kalinic equalised – the first goal Spain had conceded in the European Championship finals in 948 minutes.
Spanish skipper Sergio Ramos had the chance to put his team back in front but had his penalty saved by Danijel Subasic, although the spot kick should have been retaken with the Croatian keeper off his line when he made the stop.
A draw would have kept Spain on top of the group but with three minutes left, Ivan Perisic broke clear before beating Manchester United’s David de Gea to score the winner.
Turkey kept alive its hopes of qualifying as one of the four best third-placed teams with a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic.
World champion Germany defeated Northern Ireland 1-0 to advance to the last 16 as Group C winners.
Mario Gomez scored the only goal as the Germans dominated but there was good news for the Northern Irish, who also qualified for the next stage by finishing third in the group.
Poland’s 1-0 win over Ukraine set up a clash in the last 16 with Switzerland.
Jakub Blaszczykowski’s goal meant the Poles qualified for the last 16 for the first time.
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