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1:1 – Italy saved themselves in the round of 16 in the 98th minute

1:1 – Italy saved themselves in the round of 16 in the 98th minute
1:1 – Italy saved themselves in the round of 16 in the 98th minute

With the late goal, Zaccagni spared Italy a nail-biting match.

At the final whistle, almost all the players collapsed to the ground, exhausted – and many tears flowed. On the one hand, tears of joy, on the other, tears of absolute sadness. Luka Modric put Croatia 1-0 ahead (55th minute) and became the oldest goalscorer in European Championship history, less than a minute after he was denied a penalty by Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Italy were suddenly only third in the group, and elimination was possible.

The Croatians defended their lead until injury time, which would have put them in second place and into the round of 16 – but then came the 98th minute.

Central defender Riccardo Calafiori, who was unlucky enough to score the decisive own goal against Spain, marched towards the Croatian defence with the courage of desperation and then played a perfect pass to substitute Mattia Zaccagni. The 29-year-old from Lazio Rome chose the perfect moment for his first international goal: the shot from the left went straight into the far corner, Croatia’s goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic had no chance of defending.

Italy’s team manager Luciano Spalletti sprinted towards the crowd and was shown a yellow card for his actions, shortly afterwards the final whistle sounded.

Italy continues the tournament on Saturday in the round of 16 in Berlin against Switzerland. Even a defeat would have been enough to advance to the knockout round as one of the best four third-placed teams with three points, but the Italians would have been in a hot seat. For the Croatians, the two points will not be enough. Did Luka Modric’s great team career end in Leipzig?

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Source: Nachrichten

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