Home Sports Euro 2024: Mattia Zaccagni puts Italy through to knockout round with last-minute equalizer vs. Croatia

Euro 2024: Mattia Zaccagni puts Italy through to knockout round with last-minute equalizer vs. Croatia

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LEIPZIG, GERMANY - JUNE 24: Mattia Zaccagni of Italy celebrates scoring his team's first goal to equalize during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Croatia and Italy at Leipzig Football Stadium on June 24 2024 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Alex Pantling - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Italy drew 1-1 with Croatia and secured a place in the round of 16 of Euro 2024 thanks to Mattia Zaccagni’s goal in the eighth minute of added time.

The tie secures second place in Group B for Italy, the defending European champion. The tie puts them ahead of Croatia, who had led the game since Luka Modrić’s goal in the 55th minute.

As the Italians pushed for a vital equalizer, Riccardo Calafiori’s pass split the Croatian defense and found Zaccagni, whose shot beat goalkeeper Dominik Livaković.

Croatia had their sights set on overtaking Italy and taking second place in the group after Modrić’s goal ended a wild one-minute sequence of play.

The Italian Davide Frattesi was sanctioned for a handball in his own area, which was confirmed after the VAR review. Modrić got up and tried to go to the bottom right corner, but his attempt was blocked by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Croatia retained possession and Luka Sučić’s cross into the Italian area was finished off by Ante Budimir. That attempt was stopped by Donnarumma, but Modrić was on point to score the rebound.

The goal made Modrić the oldest player to score in the European Championship at 38 years and 289 days.

Ivica Vastić, who played for Austria from 1996 to 2008, held the previous record at 38 years and 257 days when he scored against Poland at Euro 2008.

Spain’s 1-0 victory over Albania earned them the group title, while Italy finished second.

Croatia’s only hope of advancing is if England defeats Slovenia by at least three goals in their final Group C match on Tuesday. That would place them among the top four third places in the tournament and in the knockout round.

*Spain – 9 points
*Italy – 4 points
Croatia – 2 points
Albania – 1 point

*advance to the knockout round

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