CROATIA V ITALY LIVE: REACTION AS LAST-GASP ZACCAGNI GOAL SENDS AZZURRI THROUGH TO EURO 2024 KNOCKOUTS

LIVE – Updated at 23:42

A dramatic added-time goal from Italy’s Mattia Zaccagni snatched a 1-1 draw with Croatia which was enough to earn them a place in the last 16 of Euro 2024 and likely sends Croatia home.

After a goalless first half, Croatia’s Luka Modric had a penalty saved in the 54th minute but just 60 seconds later he smashed home a rebound after Gianluigi Donnarumma pulled off another fine save from Ante Budimir.

The goal brought defending champions Italy to life, and they pressed for the equaliser which would take them through and, with time running out, Zaccagni curled home a shot from distance to break Croatian hearts.

It meant Italy finish as Group B runners-up and will face Switzerland in the last 16, while Croatia are third on two points and must wait to see if they will progress as one of the best four third-placed finishers, although it is now unlikely.

Relive all the drama below:

Euro 2024: Croatia v Italy

  • Italy snatch dramatic last-gasp equaliser to draw 1-1 with Croatia in the final game of Group B
  • Mattia Zaccagni’s strike sent Italy through and likely eliminated Croatia
  • Luka Modric had earlier missed a penalty then scored shortly after
  • FULL-TIME! Croatia 1-1 Italy
  • 90+8 - GOAL! Zaccagni scores with the final kick to save Italy and send them through (CRO 1-1 ITA)
  • 55’ - GOAL! Modric immediately makes amend by smashing home at far post (CRO 1-0 ITA)
  • 54’ - MISSED PENALTY! donnarumma brilliantly saves Modric spot-kick (CRO 0-0 ITA)
  • RESULT: Already-qualified Spain beat Albania 1-0 in Group B’s other match

Croatia 1 - 1 Italy

Italy escape after serving up tactical lesson and a reminder - to Euro 2024 hopefuls and themselves

22:35 , Chris Wilson

And so Italy became the first team to go where no other nation among the favourites at Euro 2024 have bothered, or dared, or thought worthwhile, so far.

No, not to go all-out-attack and wipe the floor with an opponent - Germany did that on the opening night. Not to drop a big name, either, or to leave out a leading goalscorer.

Instead, Luciano Spalletti ensured the Azzurri were the first of the big guns to attempt to show their tactical proficiency in more than one distinct shape, altering their set-up from a back four and wide forwards in the opening two fixtures to line up 3-5-2 against Croatia in their decisive Group B encounter.

Against Spain in particular, their wide players had failed to have any kind of impact and Federico Chiesa was one of those to pay the price, making way as Spalletti’s alterations saw a roving two-man strikeforce come into play, Gianluca Scamacca also pulled into bench duty, key man from the qualifying campaign Giacomo Raspadori replacing him and Matteo Darmian starting as a third central defender.

It lasted an hour, before panic mode set in.

Italy escape after serving up a tactical lesson - to Euros hopefuls and themselves

Young fan evades stewards after invading the pitch during Albania vs Spain

22:45 , Chris Wilson

Stewards were deployed to the pitch during Albania vs Spain after a young fan bypassed security and started running, briefly halting the tie.

The youngster took to the turf in Dusseldorf on the 90th minute of the Euro 2024 group-stage clash.

He turned to the Albania bench after being chased by several brightly coloured security detail, before being apprehended and escorted off.

The game finished 1-0 to the outside favourites, despite 10 changes being made from Spain’s previous fixture.

Spain advanced to the knockout stages after finishing top of the group.

Young fan evades stewards after invading the pitch during Albania vs Spain

How Albania left a unique mark on Euro 2024, even with an early exit

22:40 , Chris Wilson

It is a fair walk from Dusseldorf Hauptbahnhof to the Merkur Spiel-Arena. It clocks in at around 90 minutes, typically, although it feels much longer in 27 degrees of heat, with the spring sun glancing off the surface of the Rhine and slow-roasting your cheeks. Still, the long, straight, riverside route is scenic, and on Monday evening the blue of the Rhine was balanced out by the streams of red on its bank, as swathes of Albanians and Spaniards made their final pre-game trek of the group stage.

For the Albanians, it would be their last at Euro 2024, full stop. Not that they saw that as an inevitability before kick-off.

They outnumbered the Spanish supporters convincingly on this particular path, and they were in jubilant voices and seemingly confident spirits. Near the start of the route, at a junction by Oberkasseler bridge, the fans who had opted against walking to the stadium were either driving or hanging out of cars – the latter group sang and waved flags; the former blared their horns, having tied the national crest to their bonnets.

How Albania left a unique mark on Euro 2024, even with an early exit

Spain’s second XI prove they’re better than most first teams at Euro 2024 but one key flaw remains

22:25 , Chris Wilson

If this was very much the night’s second match, those watching Italy-Croatia may have missed the chance to see the fifth-best team a Euro 2024. That just happens to be Spain football’s second team, who kept playing with a fluidity beyond virtually everyone else at the tournament.

They had many of the same qualities as the first team, if also the same flaws in the finishing. That didn’t matter here, as they beat Albania football 1-0 to make it a perfect three wins from three in the group stage. They will now surely look to become the first European champions to win all their games, something no one has yet done, even in the 16-team era. That is what Spain should be aiming for.

This isn’t to diminish Albania, who did eventually up it at the end as they knew they had a chance to stay in this competition but they couldn’t get close enough. They sank to their knees in disappointment at the end, but there was probably considerable exhaustion from chasing passes in that too.

Spain’s second XI prove they’re better than most first teams but one key flaw remains

FT: Croatia 1-1 Italy – Italy are through to the last 16!

22:20 , Chris Wilson

Here’s that Zaccagni goal in real time. What a superb finish!

Next games

22:15 , Chris Wilson

So Spain and Italy advance from Group B for certain. Croatia face a nervous wait to see if they’ll be in the next round.

Italy will face Switzerland in Berlin on Saturday, 29 June at 5pm BST.

Spain do not yet know their opponents, but they know they will be playing on 30 June at 8pm BST in Cologne. They will play the third-placed team from one of Group A, D, E or F.

Group B standings

22:10 , Chris Wilson

So, this is how Group B looks after the final round of games.

1 (Q) - Spain - 9 points, GD +5

2 (Q) - Italy - 4 points, GD +1

3 - Croatia - 2 points, GD -3

4 - Albania – 0 points, GD -2

FULL-TIME! Croatia 1-1 Italy

22:02 , Chris Wilson

Unbelievable emotion at the end there. The difference between the Italian and Croatian players.

FULL-TIME! Croatia 1-1 Italy

21:59 , Chris Wilson

FULL-TIME!

There’s no more time for a Croatia attack and the game ends 1-1!

Italy are through in second place, and Croatia will likely be out!

GOAL! Croatia 1-1 Italy

21:58 , Chris Wilson

98 mins

GOAL! Unbelievable ending and Italy are level and heading through in second!

It’s a brilliant goal too. Calafiori collects the ball near halfway and the space opens up in front of him. he surges towards the box before laying it off to Zaccagni on the left. He hits it first time, curling an inch-perfect effort into the side-netting of the far corner!

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:56 , Chris Wilson

97 mins

Croatia think they’re through on goal but Bastoni was fouled.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:55 , Chris Wilson

96 mins

Brilliant from Croatia as the space opens up and they sweep it wide to Stanisic. They work it back across to the left and Perisic tries clipping a cross to the back post, but it runs out of play.

Moments later they attack again, and it ends with Fagioli bringing down Gvardiol off the ball.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:53 , Chris Wilson

94 mins

Modric can barely contain his emotions on the sideline as Croatia attack. Mario Mandzukic is pictured on the bench urging his side on.

Cheers all around the stadium as Barella brings down Budimir. The free-kick is in a dangerous area, but you’d be surprised if Croatia swung it into the box.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:51 , Chris Wilson

92 mins

Italy’s attack has just lacked cohesion in the last 15 minutes or so. They win a corner, which ends up being cleared before Juranovic wins a free-kick from Calafiori, who is booked.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:50 , Chris Wilson

90 mins

Italy are pushing for the equaliser that would send them through in second. Chiesa tries two passes into the box, but they’re both cut out before Brozovic is booked for a late sliding challenge on Bastoni.

We’ll have EIGHT minutes of added time in Leipzig.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:48 , Chris Wilson

89 mins

Croatia attack again with Majer and Stanisic getting forward, but the latter can’t find the room to put a cross in.

Croatia make a late change as Kramaric comes off for Josip Juranovic.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:46 , Chris Wilson

87 mins

CLOSE! Some great work by Italy on the edge of the box ends in Chiesa fizzing a ball across goal, but Scamacca can’t get on the end of it!

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:44 , Chris Wilson

86 mins

Another Croatia attack comes to an end after Brozovic’s cross is collected by Donnarumma. They had worked it well on the edge of the box.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:43 , Chris Wilson

84 mins

Kramaric and Stanisic combine well to keep possession down the wing for Croatia, but they give away possession cheaply, and it almost ends with Italy going one-v-one with Livakovic, but Sutalo does brilliantly to cut out the pass.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:41 , Chris Wilson

82 mins

Now Italy make another two changes. Jorginho and Darmian are replaced by Nicolo Fagioli and Mattia Zaccagni.

Soon after, Stanisic is booked for a late challenge on Zaccagni.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:39 , Chris Wilson

80 mins

A rare Croatia counter ends with Brozovic swinging in a cross towards Budimir in the centre of the box, but Bastoni does well to head it away while facing his own net.

Luka Modric comes off for Lovro Majer.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:37 , Chris Wilson

77 mins

Di Lorenzo almost threads through a beautiful through ball from his own half, but it’s cut out at the last before an Italy player is flagged for offside.

Italy gain possession straight away though and they launch a counter that is stopped by a foul from Pongracic, who is booked.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:34 , Chris Wilson

76 mins

Gianluca Scamacca comes on for Raspadori as we enter the final 15 minutes of normal time.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:33 , Chris Wilson

75 mins

Italy are having all the possession at the moment.

Ivanušec has been booked for kicking the ball away earlier.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:32 , Chris Wilson

73 mins

Italy have a free-kick in a dangerous area on the edge of the box. It’s around 25 yards out, but Raspadori can’t get it over the wall and it goes out for a corner, which is eventually cleared.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:29 , Chris Wilson

70 mins

Ivan Perisic comes on for Sucic, while Kovacic is replaced by Luka Ivanušec as Croatia look to defend their lead.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:28 , Chris Wilson

69 mins

Livakovic punches the corner away, before the cross from Chiesa is then cleared by Gvardiol.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:27 , Chris Wilson

67 mins

The ball across comes all the way to Darmian in the box, but he chooses to cross rather than shoot and it’s cleared again. All Italy again now though, as they win another corner after good defending from Pongracic.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:25 , Chris Wilson

66 mins

Better from Italy as Barella carries towards the box and Frattesi almost combines with Retegui, but it runs to Livakovic.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:24 , Chris Wilson

65 mins

Chiesa wins a corner down the right wing. It comes back out to Darmian, but his chip into the middle of the box is cleared.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:22 , Chris Wilson

63 mins

Spain still lead Albania, so Italy would still be likely to go through as it stands, though it would be in third place, so it would depend on other results. If Albania were to turn that result around, Italy would finish bottom though.

The Azzurri are looking to respond here, but Chiesa can’t keep in the pass on the right wing.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:20 , Chris Wilson

61 mins

Chiesa clips an early ball in but Pongracic does well to slide in and divert it behind. From the corner, Bastoni rises high for a free header, but he can’t get it on target!

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:19 , Chris Wilson

60 mins

Luka Modric goes into the book for a late challenge on Frattesi.

Euro 2024: Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:18 , Chris Wilson

58 mins

That’s injected some life into the game. Italy respond by making a change, with Federico Chiesa coming on for Dimarco.

GOAL! Croatia 1-0 Italy

21:16 , Chris Wilson

55 mins

GOAL! Unbelievable! Croatia are ahead!

It’s lovely play from Croatia as the ball is clipped in and Budimir gets a foot to it to direct it goalwards, but Donnaruma gets down once again to save brilliantly.

He can only palm it out back into the box through, and Modric is alert to it to reach it first and fire it into the roof of the net!

PENALTY SAVED! Croatia 0-0 Italy

21:13 , Chris Wilson

54 mins

Luka Modric steps up and sends his penalty low and to the ‘keeper’s left, but Donnarumma gets down brilliantly to save!

PENALTY! Croatia 0-0 Italy

21:13 , Chris Wilson

54 mins

The penalty is given! It’ll be Modric to take...

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

21:12 , Chris Wilson

53 mins

The cross across the box finds its way to Kramaric. He cuts back outside and hits a shot towards goal, which comes off the head and then hand of Frattesi.

There’s a VAR check for a penalty! There were huge shouts from the Croatia players.

The hand was in an unnatural position.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

21:10 , Chris Wilson

51 mins

Modric is wasteful this time as he tries the disguised pass behind the defence.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

21:08 , Chris Wilson

49 mins

Croatia have a free-kick in a dangerous area near the edge of the box as Kramaric is brought down.

Modric delivers, but Calafiori heads away. Croatia come again but the cross in is over Budimir’s head, and Italy clear with Dimarco.

Much better from Croatia though.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

21:06 , Chris Wilson

47 mins

Gvardiol does brilliantly to intercept the pass and carry towards goal, before setting it off to Budimir. His pass is overhit though, and Croatia eventually lose it after a poor cross in.

KICK-OFF! Croatia 0-0 Italy

21:04 , Chris Wilson

KICK-OFF!

Italy get us back underway.

Croatia have brought off Mario Pasalic for centre-forward Ante Budimir. A show of intent.

The Azzurri have also made a change as Lorenzo Pellegrini comes off for Davide Frattesi. Pellegrini had been one of Italy’s better players, so you wonder if that change might be due to injury rather than a tactical tweak.

HALF-TIME: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:59 , Chris Wilson

We’re all hoping for a better second half, especially anyone with a connection to Croatia.

A reminder that Croatia must beat Italy if they want to go through. It’s highly unlikely that two points will be enough to take them through as one of the best-placed third-placed sides.

If Italy lose to Croatia and Albania beat Spain, who are already through as group winners, then Italy will be out, but with Albania currently 1-0 down to La Roja, that’s looking unlikely.

HALF-TIME: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:55 , Chris Wilson

HALF-TIME: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:48 , Chris Wilson

HALF-TIME!

Croatia do try and get forward, but the ball into the box is just out of the reach of Brozovic. The referee brings the half to an end, and we go into the break level.

Italy have just edged that half, and should be ahead, though they wouldn’t necessarily have deserved it.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:46 , Chris Wilson

45 mins

Italy attack again but Di Lorenzo hits a pass to Darmian straight out of play. Croatia try and counter but then Brozovic hits a pass straight out of play.

There’ll be just one minute of added time at the end of the half, thankfully.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:44 , Chris Wilson

42 mins

No more chances of note since that Bastoni header. Spain are still leading, so Croatia need a win, but you’d never guess it from the way they’re playing, as Kramaric is the latest to lose possession in attack.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:40 , Chris Wilson

40 mins

Brozovic gives it away needlessly in attack but Italy then give it away when trying to counter. Not one for the neutrals so far, this.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:39 , Chris Wilson

38 mins

Modric swings in an inviting cross towards the back post, but it’s runs past any Croatian player.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:37 , Chris Wilson

36 mins

Italy win a couple of free-kicks and they keep possession well. They don’t particularly look like a side that’s in a rush to score though, despite having the better chances.

They work another opening, as the ball comes to Pellegrini on the edge of the box. He gets it out of his feet and finds an opening, before firing a shot straight at Livakovic.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:34 , Chris Wilson

32 mins

The game is lacking a bit of quality at the moment, with some needless giveaways of possession and a real lack of attacking threat so far.

Modric slips it wide to Sucic, but his cross in is hopeful rather than calculated, and it’s straight to a blue shirt.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:31 , Chris Wilson

30 mins

Brilliant work from Gvardiol, Kovacic and Brozovic to keep possession in the Italy half. Textbook passing triangles from the Croatians.

Croatia work it to the opposite wing and Modric fizzes it across the goal, but Donnarumma gets a hand to it.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:28 , Chris Wilson

27 mins

Good defending from Pongracic as he follows Retegui’s run into the box and blocks his shot.

Moments later, Barella swings in an inch-perfect cross to Bastoni’s who’s unmarked at the far post. He heads it on target and everyone thinks it’s a goal, but Livakovic somehow tips it over!

Euro 2024: Albania 0-1 Spain

20:27 , Chris Wilson

Meanwhile, Spain have gone 1-0 up against Albania, courtesy of a goal from Ferran Torres.

Spain have already won the group, so for them there is little change. However, that result benefits both Croatia and Italy; it means neither will be leapfrogged, though Croatia still need a win if they’re to have a hope of the last 16.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:25 , Chris Wilson

24 mins

Sucic is the first player to be booked as he brings down Pellegrini.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:24 , Chris Wilson

23 mins

Italy win another corner as Pellegrini gets in behind the defence and cuts back a lovely volleyed cross. but Retegui’s shot is deflected behind.

Raspadori swings a cross towards the back post but it’s high and wide.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:22 , Chris Wilson

21 mins

CLOSE! The first chance of the night, finally. Italy venture forwards and Calafiori finds himself in space down the left. He curls an inviting cross towards Retegui, who narrowly heads wide! Should have hit the target really.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:21 , Chris Wilson

20 mins

Retegui is brought down by Pongračić and Italy will have a chance to pump the ball into the Croatian box. They don’t take it though, as Jorginho passes sideways instead.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:18 , Chris Wilson

17 mins

Sutalo does well to shrug off the challenge from Raspadori and keep possession, before Gvardiol wins a free-kick near halfway.

Calafiori eventually blocks the cross from the right, and it bounces straight to Donnarumma.

Not the most exciting game so far.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:16 , Chris Wilson

14 mins

Di Lorenzo wins a corner from an early cross, but Dimarco’s ball in is cleared. Modric tries to launch a counter, but he’s beaten for pace.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:14 , Chris Wilson

13 mins

Kovacic does well to win possession in the middle, but Croatia can’t build a counter before Kramaric’s cross is cleared by Calafiori.

Croatia come once again, but they’re moving it too slowly and are lacking any penetration at the moment.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:12 , Chris Wilson

11 mins

No chances of note so far, as Dimarco heads miles wide.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:11 , Chris Wilson

10 mins

Kovacic and Modric combine in the Croatia half to pass their side out of trouble. They recycle possession to the defenders several times, before Modric Brozovic’s attempted through ball is cut out.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:08 , Chris Wilson

7 mins

Italy are struggling to keep possession so far, having tried a couple of long balls forward already. Kovacic is the latest to intercept a loose Italian pass.

Italy do eventually create an attack as Pellegrini spreads it wide to Di Lorenzo, but his early cross is easily cleared for a throw.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:05 , Chris Wilson

5 mins

Croatia’s first foray into the box ends with Bastoni shepherding Kramaric off the ball for a goal kick.

Moments later, Luka Sucic has a go from distance, and he forces a good save from Donnarumma, who tips it over for a goal kick.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:04 , Chris Wilson

3 mins

Italy have indeed gone with the back three/back five, with the midfield consisting of Barella, Jorginho and Pellegrini. Raspadori and Retegui have the responsibility in attack.

Croatia still have the ball, but no chances to report yet, as both sides continue to try and get a feel for the game.

Euro 2024: Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:02 , Chris Wilson

1 min

The ball is with Croatia in the opening stages, though they haven’t managed to mount an attack.

KICK-OFF! Croatia 0-0 Italy

20:01 , Chris Wilson

KICK-OFF! The captains shake hands, exchange pennants and speak to the officials as their respective sides line up. Luka Modric looks like he knows this could be his last game at a major international tournament.

Croatia get the first half started in Leipzig.

Euro 2024: Croatia v Italy

19:57 , Chris Wilson

Both sides are out of the tunnel and the national anthems are underway in Leipzig.

Can the holders get the result they need? Will Croatia spring a surprise and maybe even knock Italy out?

We’ll find out soon enough.

Euro 2024: Croatia v Italy

19:54 , Chris Wilson

Less than 10 minutes until kick-off in Leipzig.

Both sides have made changes in important positions, but whose changes will make more of a difference?

A reminder that Italy sit second in the group, on three points, while Croatia sit third, on just one point.

A win or a draw for Italy guarantees them second place in the group. A win for Croatia would make it almost certain that they qualify for the last 16. A draw will likely not be good enough for the World Cup semi-finalists.

Euro 2024: Croatia v Italy

19:50 , Chris Wilson

Head-to-head

19:45 , Chris Wilson

Italy and Croatia have met nine times on the international stage, and the Azzurri have a poor record against the Balkan side.

They have only won one match, and that was a friendly all the way back in the 1940s.

The two sides met in 1994 and 1995 as part of the qualifying campaign for Euro ‘96, with Croatia winning the away game 2-1 before a 1-1 draw in Split. Future Euro ‘96 and World Cup ‘98 hero Davor Suker got all three goals for Croatia across those games.

The two sides have met at two major tournaments, with the first meeting coming at the 2002 World Cup, where Croatia ran out 2-1 winners in the group stages.

Italy had the chance to get their revenge in the group stages of Euro 2012, but that match ended 1-1 courtesy of goals from Andrea Pirlo and Mario Mandzukic.

Interestingly, this will be the fifth time that Croatia play the European Championship holders. They previously beat Denmark 3-0 in 1996, drew 2-2 with France in 2004, lost 1-0 against Spain in 2012, and then beat the Spaniards 2-1 in 2016.

Euro 2024 power rankings: Rating every nation’s chances after their first game of the group stage

19:40 , Chris Wilson

While the favourites all appeared fallible coming into this European Championship, they have got off to strong starts across the board. Germany were most impressive of all and thumped Scotland in the tournament’s curtain-raiser in Munich to send out a signal that the hosts are a serious prospect, powered by the talent of Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz.

England, France, Spain, Netherlands and Italy were all among the first-round winners, while Slovakia earned a surprise – and controversial – win over Belgium and Romania thrashed Ukraine.

Below, we assess how every Euro 2024 nation stacks up after the first round of group games (this article will be updated after each round of matches).

Euro 2024 power rankings: Rating every team’s chances after round one

Group B permutations

19:35 , Chris Wilson

A reminder of what eachGroup B team has done and needs to do.

Spain: After beating Italy 1-0, Spain are through as group winners. They will play one of the four best third-placed teams in Cologne on Sunday 30 June at 8pm.

Italy: The holders can safely reach the last-16 if they avoid defeat against Croatia, but will be in jeopardy if they lose to the World Cup semi-finalists. If Italy lose to Croatia and Albania beat Spain, who are already through as group winners, then the holders will be out.

Albania: Realistically, Albania must beat Spain to have any chance of going through and they will be out with a draw or defeat. They could go through as runners-up if they beat Spain and Italy lose to Croatia, providing Albania’s goal difference remains superior than Croatia’s.

Croatia: Luka Modric and co. must beat Italy and would climb above the Azzurri with a victory, while they can still finish second if they beat Italy and Albania fail to win. A draw is unlikely to be good enough, even if Albania lose to Spain, and a defeat definitely won’t be.

Euro 2024 group permutations and third-place standings explained

Luis de la Fuente labels Spain best in the world after win over Italy

19:30 , Chris Wilson

And here’s how Spain coach Luis de la Fuente reacted to that win.

Spain boss Luis de la Fuente is convinced his players are “the best in the world” after guiding them into the last 16 at Euro 2024 with a game to spare.

De La Fuente saw his side join hosts Germany in the knockout stage after a 1-0 victory over reigning champions Italy in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday evening before praising the men he has at his disposal.

Asked if it was the best performance over which he had presided at his post-match press conference, he said: “Yes, I do think it is the best Spain performance I’ve taken charge of. We played against Italy in the Nations League and we played well there, but I think this was a more compete performance tonight.

“I will never tire, as I mentioned yesterday, of really promoting Spanish football. I think we’re the best in the world in terms of interpreting various match situations, and of course that is really reinforced and strengthened when you win silverware.”

Luis de la Fuente labels Spain best in the world after win over Italy

Nico Williams lights up Spain and gives Euro 2024 a flash of something unmissable

19:25 , Chris Wilson

And here’s the report from Italy’s last match.

As Nico Williams weighed up Giovanni Di Lorenzo in the early moments of the second half on a charged evening in Gelsenkirchen, the Italy defender must have felt as if his night was never going to end. Williams had been everywhere but still had one more trick: Italy had compromised their gameplan in an attempt to finally subdue the thrilling Spain winger, but Williams carried the spirit of this young team and simply went again as he found the avenue to his left. A moment that had been building since kick-off finally arrived as Williams produced the cross that led to Riccardo Calafiori’s own goal. By the end, Spain had battered Italy 1-0.

Even as Luis de la Fuente’s side sealed their place in the last-16 with a game to spare, Spain deserved more. For the best part of an hour, they tore the holders Italy apart, led by Williams and his evisceration of Di Lorenzo. Spain really should have found the goals to seal a statement victory such a performance had merited, one of fearlessness that was summed up by irrepressible displays from their young winger Williams, and the even younger 16-year-old Lamine Yamal. Italy, who hung on long enough to threaten a late equaliser, were far from looking like the champions of three years ago.

Nico Williams lights up Spain and gives Euro 2024 a flash of something unmissable

Klaus Gjasula goes from zero to hero in dramatic Albania draw with Croatia

19:20 , Chris Wilson

The report from Croatia’s last match.

Klaus Gjasula struck five minutes into stoppage time to rescue a 2-2 draw for Albania against Croatia in a thriller in Hamburg and keep alive their hopes of reaching the Euro 2024 knockout stages.

The 2022 World Cup semi-finalists looked to have secured a fine comeback win after Andrej Kramaric scored in the 74th minute to cancel out Qazim Laci’s early goal for Albania, then midfielder Gjasula inadvertently turned the ball past his own goalkeeper two minutes later.

But with time almost up, Albania attacked down the left and the ball was crossed to Gjasula who fired left footed into the corner to stun Croatia and set up a tense finale to Group B. After both sides lost their opening matches of the tournament, only final-game victories over Spain and Italy will likely be enough to see either qualify.

Klaus Gjasula goes from zero to hero in dramatic Albania draw with Croatia

Luka Modric, the problem with ageing, and the worst day for Croatia’s best generation

19:15 , Chris Wilson

It only took Luka Modric 18 years. In 2006, the summer before Lamine Yamal was born, he was an unused substitute against Brazil at Berlin’s Olympiastadion. He didn’t quite get on the pitch then – blame manager Zlatko Kranjcar for that one – but a remarkable longevity took him back to Berlin, into historic company. For the Croatia captain, playing in a ninth major tournament meant he joined only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lothar Matthaus among Europeans. A few months before his 39th birthday, he became the oldest ever player at European Championships; though perhaps only for a few days, until Ronaldo and Pepe go past him.

A day of record-breakers, however, became an advertisement for youth, rather than experience. Lamine Yamal, the youngest footballer ever at this level, some 22 years Modric’s junior, delivered a star turn. Croatia lost 3-0 to Spain. It wasn’t quite as dramatic a case of a glorious career ending at the Olympiastadion as Zinedine Zidane’s, later in the 2006 World Cup, but it was a day to prompt questions. Are Croatia, finally, too old? Will time eventually catch up with the timeless Modric, boyish as his physique remains, baggy as the shorts are?

A central-midfield trio with a combined 375 caps can still pass, but perhaps they can’t press. As Spain had less of the ball than in the past, Croatia did not get close enough to them. “We weren’t aggressive enough,” said manager Zlatko Dalic. “We were too slow and too far from the players.” He felt the problem was most apparent on the flanks, not his veteran midfield, but a product of ageing can be a reluctance to get closer to younger, faster players. A problem of ageing is that every defeat gets attributed to the possibility of decline. This might simply be “a bad day”, as Dalic said. Or it could prove something symbolic, the end of an era.

Luka Modric and the problem with ageing

The young stars are out at Euro 2024 as football’s next era arrives

19:10 , Chris Wilson

When Julian Nagelsmann sat down with Jamal Musiala on becoming Germany manager, he repeated a piece of advice he gave to the playmaker when they were together at Bayern Munich. That was to just keep playing as if he’s back on a small pitch having fun. Musiala’s age means that was just a few years ago, and it makes the words all the more striking, given he’s now effortlessly illuminating the greatest stage in European football.

Zinedine Zidane didn’t get this before dominating Euro 2000, when he was 28. Despite that gap, Musiala is being seen in similar terms to the French great then, at least as far as an individual European Championships goes. That is as the potential player of the tournament.

Part of that comes from Musiala’s uniquely balletic abilities, but it is also a wider shift. The majority of stand-out performers at Euro 2024 have been players that are still eligible for the under-21s or younger. Musiala’s main rival for burgeoning starJude Bellingham, is 20. Musiala’s teammate and scorer of the opening goal, Florian Wirtz, is 21. The scorer of perhaps the best goal, Turkey’s Arda Guler, is 19. Spain’s Lamine Yamal became the youngest player to ever appear at a Euros at a mere 16, and has thrilled alongside the 21-year-old Nico Williams in giving Spain a new intensity. The 18-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery is meanwhile considered more than ready to step in for a Didier Deschamps France, which would have been close to unthinkable during Deschamps’s time as a player with Zidane.

The young stars are out at Euro 2024 as football’s next era arrives

Team news

19:05 , Chris Wilson

Luciano Spalletti has made three changes to the Italy side that was dominated by Spain last week.

He has switched to a three (or five) at the back, with Davide Frattesi losing his place in midfield and Matteo Darmian taking his place as a right wing-back.

In attack, Federico Chiesa is replaced by Giacomo Raspadori, while Gianluca Scamacca comes out for Mateo Retegui.

Team news

19:00 , Chris Wilson

Plenty of change for both sides.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has made four changes to the side that drew to Albania.

In defence, Josip Juranović is replaced at right-back by Josip Stanišić, while Ivan Perisic loses his place to Marin Pongracic, with Gvardiol shifting to left-back.

The midfield stays the same as expected, but in attack Andrej Kramarić moves to centre-forward while Lovro Majer moves out for Luka Sucic on the right and Bruno Petković is replaced by Mario Pasalic.

Line-ups

18:54 , Chris Wilson

Croatia XI: Livakovic; Stanisic, Sutalo, Pongracic, Gvardiol; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Sucic, Kramaric, Pasalic.

Italy XI: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bastoni, Calafiori, Darmian; Jorginho, Barella; Raspadori, Pellegrini, Dimarco; Retegui.

Line-ups

18:48 , Chris Wilson

The announcement of tonuight’s starting elevens is imminent.

Will we see changes to an Italy side that has seen the same starting line-ups for both games? Could we see Scamacca changed up front, or Jorginho hooked in midfield, as happened against Spain in the second half?

Will Croatia persist with Ivan Perisic at full-back? Will Ante Budimir start in place of Petkovic after his positive contribution against Albania?

We’ll know soon.

The brutal truth behind Scotland’s Euro 2024 heartbreak

18:42 , Chris Wilson

Briefly taking the focus away from tonight’s game...

The big news for those in the UK last night was Scotland’s exit from Euro 2024 after a last-minute 1-0 loss to Hungary.

At least Steve Clarke could point to progress, of sorts. “We scored two goals this time, we only scored one the last time,” said Clarke, as the Scotland manager reflected on another group stage exit from a major tournament. However, it summed up Scotland’s lack of cutting edge at Euro 2024 that the two goals they did score went in off opposition players, in Antonio Rudiger’s own goal and Fabian Schar deflecting Scott McTominay’s shot past his goalkeeper.

If hosts Germany and Euro 2024 will miss the Tartan Army and the atmosphere the travelling fans brought to the tournament, the same cannot be said of Scotland on the pitch. If three games brought one point and an early exit, the same as three years ago at Euro 2020, Scotland can hardly pretend to be hard done by. Their 17 shots at Euro 2024 is the joint-lowest ever recorded in a group stage – only Northern Ireland, in 2016, showed less attacking threat and even they managed what Scotland could not and reached the knockouts.

The brutal truth behind Scotland’s Euro 2024 heartbreak

Euro 2024 kits: Every home and away shirt ranked and rated

18:35 , Chris Wilson

And here’s a bit of fun before we get back to the serious stuff!

Every kit at Euro 2024 ranked, from Croatia’s eyesore of a home effort to France’s beautiful home shirt.

Euro 2024 kits: Every shirt ranked and rated

Euro 2024 results

18:25 , Chris Wilson

And below is a list of all the results so far at euro 2024, plus The Independent’s reports and reaction.

Friday, June 14

Group A, Munich: Germany 5-1 Scotland 

June 15

Group A, Cologne: Hungary 1-3 Switzerland

Group B, Berlin: Spain 3-0 Croatia 

Group B, Dortmund: Italy 2-1 Albania

June 16

Group D, Hamburg: Poland 1-2 Netherlands

Group C, Stuttgart: Slovenia 1-1 Denmark 

Group C, Gelsenkirchen: Serbia 0-1 England 

June 17

Group E, Munich: Romania 3-0 Ukraine 

Group E, Frankfurt: Belgium 0-1 Slovakia

Group D, Dusseldorf: Austria 0-1 France

June 18

Group F, Dortmund: Turkey 3-1 Georgia 

Group F, Leipzig: Portugal 2-1 Czechia 

June 19

Group B, Hamburg: Croatia 2-2 Albania

Group A, Stuttgart: Germany 2-0 Hungary

Group A, Cologne: Scotland 1-1 Switzerland

June 20

Group C, Munich: Slovenia 1-1 Serbia

Group C, Frankfurt: Denmark 1-1 England 

Group B, Gelsenkirchen: Spain 1-0 Italy 

June 21

Group E, Dusseldorf: Slovakia 1-2 Ukraine 

Group D, Berlin: Poland 1-3 Austria

Group D, Leipzig: Netherlands 0-0 France

June 22

Group F, Hamburg: Georgia 1-1 Czechia

Group F, Dortmund: Turkey 0-3 Portugal

Group E, Cologne: Belgium 2-0 Romania

June 23

Group A, Frankfurt: Germany 1-1 Switzerland

Group A, Stuttgart: Scotland 0-1 Hungary

Euro 2024 fixtures: Schedule, results and kick-off times at European Championship

18:10 , Chris Wilson

With the last 16 ownethe horizon, here’s a rundown of the fixture schedule for the remaining group games and the dates and times for the round of 16 games (and onwards).

Here is the full schedule for Euro 2024, plus below you can see day-by-day fixtures and times (BST) in text form, with the knockout games and reports to be included as the tournament progresses.

Euro 2024 fixtures: Full schedule, results and kick-off times

Albania forward banned for anti-Serbia chants at Euro 2024

17:55 , Chris Wilson

A bit of Albania-related news now, as striker Mirlind Daku has been banned for two matches – including tonight’s game – after leading fan chants with a megaphone at Euro 2024.

In the aftermath of Albania’s match, Daku led fans in a chorus of “f*** Macedonia and f*** Serbs”.

Daku represented Kosavo before switching to Albania last year. His switch from Kosavo to Albania was not expected, but he had only played friendly matches for the country and still continues to represent Kosavao, including with previous goal celebrations.

Albania forward banned for anti-Serbia chants at Euro 2024

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/nico-williams-spain-italy-euro-2024-b2566182.html

17:40 , Chris Wilson

And some more reaction...

As Nico Williams weighed up Giovanni Di Lorenzo in the early moments of the second half on a charged evening in Gelsenkirchen, the Italy defender must have felt as if his night was never going to end. Williams had been everywhere but still had one more trick: Italy had compromised their gameplan in an attempt to finally subdue the thrilling Spain winger, but Williams carried the spirit of this young team and simply went again as he found the avenue to his left. A moment that had been building since kick-off finally arrived as Williams produced the cross that led to Riccardo Calafiori’s own goal. By the end, Spain had battered Italy 1-0.

Even as Luis de la Fuente’s side sealed their place in the last-16 with a game to spare, Spain deserved more. For the best part of an hour, they tore the holders Italy apart, led by Williams and his evisceration of Di Lorenzo.

Nico Williams lights up Spain and gives Euro 2024 a flash of something unmissable

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Euro 2024 offers something new with Spain and Italy duel

17:30 , Chris Wilson

Here’s the initial reaction to Italy’s last match.

Just when you think Euro 2024 has given you a bit of everything, it gives you something new. Because Spain’s Group B clash with Italy, the tournament’s first meeting of major footballing nations, was certainly different to every game that came before it.

Just one hour earlier, a rematch of one of the 2021 semi-finals had concluded – England drawing with Denmark – and Thursday’s late game carried the same status, but greater prestige.

Other games in Germany this week had felt like big ‘occasions’, but this felt like the first big match, in a purely sporting tense. It was as if this wasa semi-final.

Italy, the defending champions, were about to have their 2024 title credentials tested, and the same applied to Spain.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Euro 2024 offers something new

Italy legend Roberto Baggio robbed at gunpoint while watching Euro 2024

17:15 , Chris Wilson

Italy legend Roberto Baggio has been robbed at gunpoint and hospitalised while watching his country’s Euro 2024 clash against Spain at home.

At least five armed robbers burst into Baggio’s villa in Altavilla Vicentina, near the northern city of Vicenza, at around 10pm local time on Thursday evening, according to a report by Italian media outlet Corriere della Sera.

Reports also stated that Baggio was struck on the head with the butt of a gun when he confronted the thieves before they locked the 57-year-old Baggio and his family in a room while they stole jewellery, watches and cash in an incident that lasted for around 40 minutes.

Italy legend Roberto Baggio robbed at gunpoint while watching Euro 2024

What do Italy, Croatia and Albania need? Euro 2024 group permutations and third-place standings explained

17:05 , Chris Wilson

Euro 2024 arrives at the final round of the group stage to decide who will go through to the knockouts. As well as the top two teams in each of the six groups, the four best third-placed teams will also progress to make up the last-16, with the remaining eight nations cut from the tournament.

Next up is Group B, after a dramatic night where Hungary claimed third place in Group A and sent Scotland home with the last kick of the ball in Stuttgart. Spain are already through as group winners, but all of Italy, Albania and Croatia can join them in the last-16.

In the past two editions of the European Championship where the 24-team format has been used, four points has always been enough as a third-placed team to progress to the last-16. While three points has occasionally been sufficient, it does not guarantee a place in the next round. Two points was not enough to finish as one of the four best third-placed teams at Euro 2016 or Euro 2020, but there is a way in which it may be possible at Euro 2024.

Read everything you need to know below!

Euro 2024 group permutations and third-place standings explained

Albania v Spain team news & predicted XIs

16:50 , Chris Wilson

There are no new injury concerns for either side, though Spain may look to rest players who are nearing the yellow card threshold (there is a one-match ban for receiving two yellows across any games before the quarter-finals). Key players such as Rodri, Le Normand and Dani Carvajal are among those at risk of suspension.

In midfield, both Pedri and Fabian Ruiz have started both games alongside Rodri, so it may make sense for Martin Zubimendi or Mikel Merino to start. Up front, all three of Morata, Williams and Yamal have started the opening games, so expect to see Joselu, Mikel Oyarzabal and Ferran Torres at some point, if not in the starting eleven.

Albania have plenty to think about after rescuing a draw with Croatia, with Armando Broja spending the whole game on the bench after a great performance from Rey Manaj.

Though Arber Hoxha and Mirlind Daku impressed, expect to see them start on the bench once more as Sylvinho favours his previous line-up. Though Klaus Gjasula scored a deserved equaliser for the Albanians, but the 34-year-old may be rested and used off the bench once more.

Albania XI: Strakosha; Hysaj, Abet, Djimsiti, Mitaj; Ramadani, Asllani; Asani, Laci, Bajrami; Manaj.

Spain XI: Simon; Navas, Nacho, Laporte, Cucurella; Olmo, Zubiemendi, Ruiz; Torres, Joselu, Oyarzabal.

Predicted line-ups

16:30 , Chris Wilson

Croatia XI: Livakovic; Juranovic, Sutalo, Gvardiol, Perisic; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Majer, Budimir, Kramaric.

Italy XI: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bastoni, Calafiori, Dimarco; Frattesi, Jorginho, Barella; Chiesa, Scamacca, Pellegrini.

Italy team news

16:20 , Chris Wilson

Italy have started the exact same eleven in both of their matches, and though Luciano Spalletti may be considering changes, the drop-off in quality on his bench may force him to stick with a similar line-up.

Mateo Retegui showed flashes of decent play when he replaced Scamacca, while he may opt to start Bryan Cristante in this game, having brought him on at half-time of the loss against Spain. Expect the defence to stay the same.

Team news

16:10 , Chris Wilson

Neither side has picked up any known injuries from their second games, so Croatia will likely stick with a similar line-up to that of the first two matches.

Ivan Perisic played as a full-back last time out, with Gvardiol having moved into central defence, but it did not particularly help Croatia, who may look to play Perisic more advanced. Borna Sosa could replace him at left-back.

Ante Budimir did impress after coming on up front for Petkovic, who missed a couple of decent opportunities. Lovro Majer could be replaced on the wing after a disappointing performance. The midfield is set in stone.

Albania v Spain TV channel, start time and how to watch Euro 2024 fixture online tonight

15:50 , Chris Wilson

And here’s how you can watch Albania v Spain, if you’d prefer to keep track of how Luis de la Fuente’s impressive side are getting on.

That game will kick off at 8pm BST on Monday 24 June in Dusseldorf, at the same time as Italy’s match against Croatia.

It will be shown live on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, with coverage starting at 7:30pm BST. You can find a full list of which channel is showing each match here.

If you’re travelling abroad and want to watch major sporting events, you might need a VPN to unblock your streaming app. Our VPN round-up is here to help and includes deals on VPNs in the market. Viewers using a VPN need to make sure that they comply with any local regulations where they are, and also with the terms of their service provider.

Albania v Spain TV channel, start time and how to watch Euro 2024 fixture

Croatia v Italy TV channel, start time and how to watch Euro 2024 fixture online tonight

15:40 , Chris Wilson

Here’s how you can watch tonight’s match.

It will kick off at 8pm BST kick-off on Monday June 24, 2024, at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, and it’ll be shown live on BBC One and iPlayer, with coverage starting from 7:30pm BST.

You can find a full list of which channel is showing each match here.

If you’re travelling abroad and want to watch major sporting events, you might need a VPN to unblock your streaming app. Our VPN round-up is here to help and includes deals on VPNs in the market. Viewers using a VPN need to make sure that they comply with any local regulations where they are, and also with the terms of their service provider.

Croatia v Italy TV channel, start time and how to watch Euro 2024 fixture

Euro 2024: Croatia v Italy

15:25 , Chris Wilson

Good afternoon and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of tonight’s game between Croatia and Italy.

We kick-off at 8pm BST in Leipzig, with Albania v Spain starting at the same time in Dusseldorf as Group B comes to an end.

Spain are already through, but Croatia and Italy will face off to decide who comes in second place in the group, with both potentially qualifying in third place too.

An Italy win would potentially put Croatia out of Euro 2024, so there’s plenty of jeopardy tonight!

Albania v Spain TV channel, start time and how to watch Euro 2024 fixture online tonight

15:02 , Jack Rathborn

Luis de la Fuente’s impressive Spain side are aiming to seal qualification for the last 16 in top spot in Group B when they face Albania on Monday.

La Roja have quickly placed themselves among the favourites at Euro 2024 after a 3-0 demolition of Croatia was followed by a dominant win against Italy.

And their final group game pits them against a plucky Albanian side who have picked up just one point so far despite spirited performances against Italy and Croatia.

Albania know that they need a win to keep alive any hopes of making the last 16 as one of the best fourth-placed teams, but it looks like an especially tough task against a vibrant, confident Spain team.

Albania v Spain TV channel, start time and how to watch Euro 2024 fixture

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website

2024-06-24T14:09:32Z dg43tfdfdgfd