Croatia’s Euro 2024 hopes hang in balance after 1-1 draw with Italy

Leipzig, June 25 (UNI) Italy’s Mattia Zaccagni struck a dramatic injury-time goal to salvage a 1-1 draw against Croatia, securing their place in the Euro 2024 round of 16 as Group B runners-up. They are now set to face Switzerland in the next stage, while Croatia’s fate hinges on other match outcomes.

Croatia, needing a win to advance, saw their hopes dashed despite a spirited effort. With just two points, their chances of progressing as one of the best third-placed teams are now slim. They must rely on Slovenia losing heavily to England, Denmark defeating Serbia in Group C, and favorable results in other groups involving Portugal and Turkey.

After a scoreless first half, Croatia’s Luka Modric had a penalty saved in the 54th minute, only to swiftly convert the rebound after Gianluigi Donnarumma parried Ante Budimir’s initial shot.

Italy responded with urgency, pressing for the equalizer that would ensure their progression. In the dying moments, Zaccagni delivered a curling shot from distance, shattering Croatian hopes and sealing Italy’s spot in the knockout stages.

In another Group B encounter, Spain continued their dominant form with a 1-0 victory over Albania. Ferran Torres opened the scoring in the 13th minute, maintaining Spain’s perfect record in the group stage. Despite fielding a rotated squad, Spain controlled proceedings, leaving Albania unable to mount a serious challenge.

With these outcomes, Spain finished atop Group B with nine points, followed by Italy in second place with four points. Croatia’s third-place finish with two points leaves their fate uncertain pending final group standings. Albania, with just one point, bid farewell to Euro 2024.

Meanwhile, France, the Netherlands, and England secured their spots in the next round ahead of their final group matches, benefiting from Albania’s defeat.

As the Euro 2024 tournament progresses, anticipation builds for an exhilarating round of 16.

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