Alvaro Morata’s extra-time goal helped Spain secure an extraordinary 5-3 victory over Croatia in a pulsating Euro 2020 last-16 tie in Copenhagen.
Luis Enrique’s side dominated the early stages of the game but fell behind in bizarre circumstances when goalkeeper Unai Simon’s miscontrol caused Pedri’s 49-yard backpass to bounce into his own net (20).
La Roja fought back, scoring three goals without reply through Pablo Sarabia (38), Cesar Azpilicueta (57) and Ferran Torres (76), but Croatia, who appeared out of it at that point, staged a remarkable comeback to send the game into extra-time.
Substitute Mikel Orsic reduced the deficit to one goal when his close-range effort was shown to have crossed the line following a goalmouth scramble (85), then Mario Pasalic, another substitute, headed home Orsic’s cross (90+2) to spark wild Croatia celebrations at the Parken Stadium.
Croatia, runners-up at the World Cup three years ago, looked likeliest to go on and win the tie in extra-time, with Andrej Kramaric forcing an outstanding close-range save from Simon as they piled on the pressure.
But Morata, who faced abuse from Spanish fans for his misses during the group stage and squandered another fine opportunity in the first half, fired Spain back in front against the run of play (100) with an unstoppable drive.
The former Chelsea striker then released Dani Olmo to cross for Mikel Oyarzabal to score Spain’s fifth (103), and while Croatia continued fighting in the closing stages of extra-time, Spain this time held on to continue their bid for a fourth European Championship win having triumphed most recently in 2008 and 2012.
Having emerged victorious from the second-highest scoring game in European Championship history, they will now face the winner of France’s meeting with Switzerland in the quarter-finals in St Petersburg on Friday.