Italy 2-0 Republic of Ireland
Spain 1-0 Croatia
Once again, opting to watch the second game here. An Italy win did not guarantee qualification, although a loss did guarantee be outed. The Irish were outsiders by a long shot and actually may be happy to have only conceded two. The first was in the first half; a header from a corner. The second in the second half; a volley from Mr. Balotelli who decided the third game of the competition was when he would chip in with his first goal.
Nil-nil at half time. Nil-nil in the 87th minute. Croatia were not going through at the moment but a goal would put them through in first and Spain out. But Spain. The mighty, tactful, beautiful Spain chose the 88th minute to put an end to Croatian dreams. Navas, the broken-armed substitute, scored from an open goal after the goalie tried to claim offside. Watching again there is no offside, at the time the second ball was played (when the first ball was played he was offside) and that is all that mattered. Croatia missed some brilliant chances that would have put them through and I personally will actually miss their wonderfully different football.
So, Spain qualify in first playing the runner-up of Group D. Italy qualify in second playing the winner of Group D. This is the first group we’ve seen, where both the favourites have actually gone through. Good luck to them both. I personally feel for Croatia. Good luck to them in qualification for the World Cup (which is supposedly going to be with a new coach.) Although, I have to say I am happy the Croatia game din’t finish 2-2, as rumours of match-fixing would have come into play (and Italy automatically out). I’m all for giving people a taste of their own medicine, but still.