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All-time classic: Spain outlast Croatian fightback to book Euro 2020 quarter-final spot after pulsating clash in Copenhagen

All-time classic: Spain outlast Croatian fightback to book Euro 2020 quarter-final spot after pulsating clash in Copenhagen
Spain were forced to work overtime to get past a gutsy Croatian side in their Euro 2020 round of 16 game in Denmark, occasionally appearing to be their own worst enemies as they needed extra time to claim an eventual 5-3 win.

The pitch at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen has seen more than its share of drama throughout the European Championships, but in purely sporting terms one suspects nothing will come close to the drama which unfolded in Monday's round of 16 encounter in what turned out to be the second highest-scoring match in the history of the competition. 

Spain have flattered to deceive on occasion throughout the competition and once again appeared to be their own worst enemy after a calamitous mixed-up in the Spanish defence saw a Pedri backpass squirm under Unai Simon's foot to hand Croatia a shock lead on 20 minutes.

For a spell, the game had an aura of being "one of those days" for Luis Enrique's men. Alvaro Morata missed a gilt-edged chance, something which was threatening to become something of a tradition so far this tournament, while neat midfield play was also repeatedly being let down by poor final passes.

But once the floodgates opened, they appeared difficult to close. 

Pablo Sarabia levelled before half-time before Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres looked to have given Spain an unassailable advantage as the game entered its final stages - only for Croatia to pull one back through Orsic. 

By the time Mario Pasalic equalized in injury time, it appeared that one of the European Championships' most infamous comebacks was beckoning.

It wasn't to be. Morata (finally) scored in the first period of extra time, with Oyarzabal doing the same moments later - both from Dani Olmo crosses - in goals which finally broke Croatian hearts and sent the 2018 World Cup finalists home early. 

The result, and his role in it, will be particularly satisfying for Alvaro Morata. The misfiring Spanish striker revealed that he had received death threats after his performance in the 5-0 win against Slovakia, while also claiming that his wife and children received abuse from supporters in Seville.

Ultimately, most neutrals would agree that the better team (on the night, at least) has progressed to the next stages of the competition - and, quite remarkably, this represents Spain's first knockout win in a major tournament since they won the European Championships in 2012 and sets up a quarter-final clash with the France-Switzerland winner in St. Petersburg on Friday. 

And with Spain having assuredly brought their shooting boots into the knockout stages, anything can happen.

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