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Published: 21:53 | 21/6/16

Croatia come from behind to stun Spain

Turkey beat Czech Repunlic

Ivan Perisic grabbed a late winner as Croatia came from behind to beat defending champions Spain 2-1 and top Group D.

Spain had gone ahead when Cesc Fabregas chipped shot was tapped in by Alvaro Morata from close range.

An Ivan Rakitic chip hit the woodwork for Croatia, who levelled matters just before the break when Nikola Kalinic flicked home Perisic's centre.

Danijel Subasic saved a Sergio Ramos penalty before Perisic's late winner ensured Croatia will meet a third-placed qualifier in the last 16 while Spain will now meet Italy.

The double defending champions came flying out of the blocks and they were ahead on just seven minutes when Fabregas’ threaded pass was blocked but the ball fell to David Silva whose incisive ball found the driving Fabregas and the Chelsea man’s shot across goal was bundled in by Morata.

Spain continued to dominate with some sizzling interplay but the Croats almost levelled on 15 minutes when David de Gea’s hesitancy saw Kalinic feed Rakitic and the Barcelona man’s delightful lob hit the underside of the bar and then the post before going away to safety.

Fabregas and Silva in particular continued to dazzle with their movement and exquisite passing and the latter took aim himself from outside the box forcing the goalkeeper into pulling off a smart stop.

However, Vincent del Bosque’s side looked far from assured at the back and Croatia were level just before half-time when Kalinic produced a superb deft touch to wrongfoot de Gea from inside the six-yard box, Ramos failing to track the former Blackburn Rovers striker’s run.

Croatia were denied a penalty appeal midway through the second period when Marko Pjaca went down under pressure from three Spanish players.

Almost immediately up the other end Spain were then awarded a spot-kick when Sime Vrsaljko was harshly adjudged to have brought down Silva; justice was served however, when Subasic saved Ramos’ effort from 12 yards.

Croatia then grabbed the winner with just three minutes remaining, Kalinic freeing Perisic and his low drive took a slight deflection as it beat the under-par de Gea at this near post.

In the other Group D fixture, Turkey gave themselves hope of progressing to the last 16 as they beat Czech Republic 2-0.

The 2008 semi-finalists went ahead after Emre Mor’s surging run down the right stretched the Czech defence and the newly-signed Borussia Dortmund player cut the ball back for Burak Yilmaz who steered home a fine finish.

In an entertaining encounter the Czechs almost equalised but Tomas Sivok’s powerful downward header from a corner rattled the woodwork.

The game was played at a frenetic pace with plenty of chances at both ends but Turkey sealed the victory which leaves them with an outside chance of qualifying as one of the best third-placed teams on 64 minutes, Ozan Tufan drilling home a lay-off from a tight angle.

The result leaves Turkey waiting on the outcome of Wednesday’s games while the Czechs go home after finishing bottom of the group. Closer to home, the result ensured Northern Ireland progress to the knockout stages.

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