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Tottenham Hotspur's Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka in Croatia side knocked out of Euro 2012 by Spain
10:13pm Monday 18th June 2012 in Spurs
Two Spurs players were among the Croatian side that put up a gallant effort in Gdansk tonight but it is World champions Spain who kept alive their hopes of a retaining their European crown with a 1-0 victory to progress through to a potential quarter-final clash with England in Euro 2012.
Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka both produced eye-catching performances as Slaven Bilic’s men pushed the Spanish all the way before they were undone three times from time when Cesc Fabregas lifted the ball over a defence pushing up looking for offside and Andreas Iniesta unselfishly squared for Jesus Navas to ensure Vicente Del Bosque’s side topped Group C.
Earlier though, Spain were staring down the barrel of a possible shock exit With Italy moving to the top of the table after Antonio Cassano had headed them into a first-half lead against the Republic of Ireland, the competition favourites looked set to fall behind when Modric’s superb cross with the outside of his boot picked out the unmarked Ivan Rakitic but he headed a gilt-edged chance straight at Iker Casillas.
A late Mario Balotelli volley ensured the Italians secured runners-up spot and they will face the winners of Group D on Sunday in the last eight. Twenty-four hours earlier though, Spain will take on the second-placed side in the competition’s fourth group – a position currently occupied by England going into tomorrow’s encounter with co-hosts Ukraine.