Saturday 10/23/21
CROATIA 3-5 SPAIN

Much-maligned Morata the hero for Spain in Croatian thriller

The three-time continental champions earned a date with the later winner of France v Switzerland in Friday's St Petersburg quarter-final
Alvaro Morata celebrates after scoring Spain's fourth goal in Copenhagen. Photo: Twitter/UEFA @EURO2020
Alvaro Morata celebrates after scoring Spain's fourth goal in Copenhagen. Photo: Twitter/UEFA @EURO2020

Alvaro Morata answered his critics in the best possible manner on Monday with a crucial extra-time goal as Spain triumphed 5-3 over Croatia in a classic Euro 2020 last 16 encounter on Monday.

Morata, on loan at Juventus, had received substantial abuse and threats on social media for his attacking performances as Spain struggled to impose themselves on the competition.

Sarabia puts Spain level in  Copenhagen. Photo: Twitter/UEFA @EURO2020.Sarabia puts Spain level in  Copenhagen. Photo: Twitter/UEFA @EURO2020.

But he coolly collected Dani Olmo's deep cross in the 100th minute to lash a high shot into the net to tilt the tie in Spain's favour and Mikel Oyarzabal settled matters just three minutes later.

Spain had been comfortably on course for victory in regulation as goals from Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres overturned a comical long-distance own goal from teen sensation Pedri which had given Croatia the lead.

Mislav Orsic scrambled a second for Croatia in 85 and then crossed for Mario Pasalic to head a 92nd minute equalizer for 3-3 which forced extra-time.

Mislav Oršić scores for Croatia. Photo: Twitter/UEFA @EURO2020Mislav Oršić scores for Croatia. Photo: Twitter/UEFA @EURO2020.

Spain keeper Unai Simon atoned for his first goal error by saving from Andrej Kramaric as Croatia turned the screw but Morata and Oyarzabal made no mistake to earn the three-time continental champions a date with the later winner of France v Switzerland in Friday's St Petersburg quarter-final.

Spain's Oyarzabal celebrates after scoring his side's last goal. Photo: Twitter/UEFA @EURO2020.Spain's Oyarzabal celebrates after scoring his side's last goal. Photo: Twitter/UEFA @EURO2020.

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