It means all three countries can finish top of Group A4, with England taking on Croatia in the last match on Sunday. Croatia gained a dramatic late winner to beat Spain in the Nations League – a result which keeps alive England’s hopes of winning the tournament.
Two goals from Tin Jedvaj, including one in the 93rd minute, gave the World Cup finalists the victory in Zagreb. Andrej Kramaric scored the hosts’ opener, with Spain’s goals coming from Dani Ceballos and Sergio Ramos.
Whoever wins at Wembley will finish top of the group and advance to June’s finals, to have a chance of becoming Nations League champions and also to earn a place at Euro 2020. However, if Sunday’s game ends in a draw, then Spain will finish top.
A goalless draw on Sunday would mean England finish second, with Croatia relegated. A score draw, however, would take Croatia above England on the head-to-head record – by virtue of having scored more away goals in the matches between the sides – and drop the Three Lions into the second tier.
It is set to be a thrilling conclusion to the group after a hugely entertaining clash in Zagreb, with Croatia still in contention despite losing 6-0 to Spain in their opening match back in September. Ivan Perisic nearly gave the hosts a sixth-minute lead in Zagreb but his effort was pushed on to the post by Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.
In a breathless second half, Kramaric was left unmarked to slot past De Gea, but Croatia’s lead only lasted two minutes before Ceballos finished off a beautifully worked team goal, which also involved Iago Aspas and Isco in the build-up.
Jedvaj scored his first goal for his country when he headed in at the back post from Luka Modric’s fine cross, but the Spaniards again equalised – through Ramos’ penalty after Sime Vrsaljko’s handball. A Spain win would have guaranteed them top spot and Chelsea forward Alvaro Morata, on as a second-half substitute, had the ball in the net but was offside.
If it had finished as a draw then Croatia’s hopes of finishing top would have been over, but there was a late twist as Marcelo Brozovic’s low shot was parried by De Gea but into Jedvaj’s path and he won it for the home country.
‘Football has not been fair to us’ – what they said
Spain coach Luis Enrique said: “It shows it was a very difficult group. We still have a chance. The group was, as we expected, very difficult with two of the best teams in the world.
“I am obviously worried about the things we have to improve. I am quite happy with this match, but the result is undeserved and I think football today has not been fair to us.”
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said: “We were rewarded for a magnificent match.”
Source: BBC News