Euro 2012: Spain And Italy Win To Book Spots In The Quarters

A 2-0 win by Italy and 1-0 win by Spain sends them through to the knockout stages, while Croatia are going home.

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Croatia Vs. Spain, Euro 2012: Final Score, La Roja Wins 1-0 With Controversial Goal

Croatia played some of the best football at Euro 2012, dominated Ireland, fought back to grab a draw against Italy with some great tactical adjustments and held Spain scoreless for 88 minutes. This wasn't enough to get them through to the quarterfinals, and it wouldn't have been enough even if they kept Spain scoreless. Jesus Navas scored the game-winning goal in controversial fashion to send Spain through as group winners and ensure Croatia's exit.


Related: Offside or not? Breaking down Jesus Navas' goal | Italy 2-0 Ireland


The first half was largely uneventful, with both teams content to go into the locker room tied 0-0. Spain had 75 percent of the possession, but did almost nothing with it. This led to the eventual withdrawal of David Silva and Fernando Torres for the pacy Jesus Navas and the man who scored against Italy, Cesc Fabregas.

Croatia were content to wait and see if they could make something happen with their conservative five-midfielder setup for the first 20 minutes of the second half, and it almost worked. Luka Modric set up the best chance of the game for his team in the 59th minute with a brilliant cross to Ivan Rakitic, who put an uncontested header directly into Iker Casillas when he had the entire goal to aim at.

Slaven Bilic made his move in the 66th minute, bringing on Ivan Perisic and Nikica Jelavic as Croatia switched to an attacking 4-4-2 formation. It didn't help them much going forward, and they never did create a chance that was better than the one Modric set up for Rakitic.

Spain looked content to pass in circles and never attack the goal until the 88th minute, when Xavi and Andres Iniesta decided it was time to win the match. Iniesta made a brilliant run behind the Croatia defense, who attempted to step up and put him offside on Xavi's chipped pass, but Iniesta was level when the ball was played in the judgment of the referee. He squared for Navas, who scored the winner for Spain with a tap-in.

You can find our previous coverage of both of Monday's games in our Euro 2012, Group C Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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Italy Vs. Ireland, Euro 2012: Final Score 2-0 As Italy Advance

Italy are through to the knockout rounds of Euro 2012 after beating Ireland 2-0 and seeing Spain knock off Croatia. They went into the match knowing that they'd need Spain's help, but they got it and fulfilled their end of the bargain - just. Ireland, who were rolled over by both other teams in the group, kept it very close for most of the match, going 1-0 down in the 35th minute thanks to an Antonio Cassano header but keeping the draw within reach until the very last minute.

It's fortunate, perhaps, that Mario Balotelli scored when he did, because otherwise there'd have been very little to talk about in the second half. Keith Andrews hit a shot than Gianluigi Buffon did well to save, which was interesting, but not nearly so interesting as the Manchester City striker's acrobatic finish from a corner that came just seconds after Andrews got himself sent off with a second yellow card. Balotelli's goal meant that Italy could breathe - they weren't playing well and it looked like Ireland might have had an equaliser in them, but at 2-0 their position in the match was secure.

Getting through group C wasn't easy, and although Italy weren't at their best, they did enough.

You can find our previous coverage of both of Monday's games in our Euro 2012, Group C Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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Croatia Vs. Spain, Euro 2012: Halftime Score, This Is A 0-0 Snoozefest

Spain and Croatia are playing the most predictable game ever, and unfortunately, that means it's predictably boring. Croatia are playing very conservatively with 10 men behind the ball, while Spain appear pretty content to walk the ball around the box and not actually do a whole lot with it. The Spaniards have 75 percent of the possession and five shots on target, but they've never really looked like scoring in his 0-0 draw.

Italy have taken the lead against Ireland and will probably score more, on account of Ireland not being very good, so Croatia need to win the match or draw 2-2 to go through to the quarterfinals. They have a good striker in Nikica Jelavic on the bench that they can throw on, but considering the way Spain's struggled to actually find a good pass through the middle that set up a goal scoring opportunity, Slaven Bilic might not want to make a change.

This could stay 0-0 for a while, especially since Spain don't really have any incentive to push forward with reckless abandon. But eventually, Croatia are going to have to venture forward. It's an interesting match to think about in those terms, but the actual play on the pitch has been pretty dull.

We have live coverage of both of Monday's games in our Euro 2012, Group C Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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Italy Vs. Ireland, Euro 2012: Halftime Score 1-0 Italy

In order to advance to the knockout rounds of Euro 2012, Italy need to win and hope that Spain and Croatia don't play out to a high scoring draw. The latter is looking unlikely at present, and the former condition appears well on its way to fulfillment with Antonio Cassano nodding the Azzurri into a 1-0 lead against Ireland.

The match hasn't been great so far, to be honest - most of the best chances have come on goalmouth scrambles and Italy aren't playing particularly nice football and they're letting Ireland have more possession than they really should, but it was fairly clear that if there was a goal to be scored, they were the ones who were going to do it. And then Andrea Pirlo swung in a corner, Cassano rose high above the defence and the ball ended up hitting the crossbar twice within the a fraction of a second - once from the AC Milan striker's initial effort and then immediately following Damien Duff's despairing clearance.

Fortunately for Italy, the ball completely crossed the line in the intervening period, giving them a highlight in a first half that was otherwise notable only for a weird rugby-style tackle by left back Federico Balzaretti as he attempted to stop Aiden McGeady from breaking down the right wing. Unsurprisingly, he was booked for his troubles. At any rate, it's 1-0 at halftime, and Italy are in fairly good shape as things stand.

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Italy Vs. Ireland, Euro 2012: Lineups

Ireland are out of Euro 2012, and this could be the last big international match for the members of their old guard. They don't technically have anything to play for, but since a number of the Ireland starting XI will either be considering international retirement or phased out of the team after the tournament, don't expect them to give anything less but their best effort. Italy need a win and have made tactical changes, switching to a four-man back line. Christian Maggio and Mario Balotelli have been dropped for Ignazio Abate and Antonio Di Natale.

Italy Lineup (4-3-1-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Federico Balzaretti, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Ignazio Abate; Daniele De Rossi, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio; Thiago Motta; Antonio Cassano, Antonio Di Natale

Ireland Lineup (4-4-2): Shay Given; Stephen Ward, Sean St. Ledger, Richard Dunne, John O'Shea; Aiden McGeady, Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan, Damien Duff; Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET from the Municipal Stadium in Poznan, Poland. You can catch the game on ESPN 2 in the United States.

We'll have live coverage of both of Monday's games simultaneously in our Euro 2012, Group C Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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Spain Vs. Croatia, Euro 2012: Lineups

Spain are predictably unchanged from their win over Ireland, while Croatia have made significant changes to their lineup. Danijel Pranjic and Domagoj Vida have both entered the team, pushing Darijo Srna to right midfield and Luka Modric into an attacking midfield role. With Spain being so strong in the center of midfield, it's not surprising that Croatia decided to drop a striker, and it's also not surprising that they've dropped Ivan Perisic for a more defensive winger.

Spain Lineup (4-3-3): Iker Casillas; Jordi Alba, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Piqué, Alvaro Arbeloa; Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez; Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres, David Silva

Croatia Lineup (4-4-1-1): Stipe Pletikosa; Ivan Strinic, Gordan Schildenfeld, Vedran Corluka, Domagoj Vida; Ivan Rakitic, Ognjen Vukojevic, Danijel Pranjic, Darijo Srna; Luka Modric; Mario Mandzukic

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET from the PGE Arena in Gdansk, Poland. You can catch the game on ESPN in the United States.

We'll have live coverage of both of Monday's games simultaneously in our Euro 2012, Group C Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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Group C, Euro 2012: Scenarios For Advancement On The Final Matchday

The final day of a group stage is never easy. Who is going through if this happens and if that happens and all that jazz? Ireland has made all of that much easier, though, by virtue of being eliminated already. It is much easier to figure out scenarios when one team is inconsequential, so all we really need to know is what could happen with Spain, Croatia and Italy. Thanks, Ireland. Poor Ireland.

So what are the scenarios for advancement in Group C of Euro 2012? We lay them out, just hope that Spain and Croatia don't draw while Italy win because that could get messy.

Spain advance if: A win or a draw doesn't just guarantee that Spain are onto the quarterfinals, but that they are the Group C winners. They will also advance even if they lose to Croatia so long as Ireland win or draw against Italy.

Croatia advance if: Like Spain, Croatia advance with a win or even with a loss so long as Ireland win or draw, but if the Croats draw with Spain then things can get dicey. A Croatia draw and a Ireland win or draw puts them through, but a Croatia draw and Italy win means that Croatia need to draw 2-2 or higher to guarantee advancement. A 1-1 draw for Croatia and Italy win means the will need Italy to only win by one goal or by a score of 2-0. Any other scoreline in an Italy win and Croatia is out, and they are also out if they draw 0-0 and Italy win.

Italy advance if: A win is the only way Italy has a chance to win. Three points puts Italy through to the knockout stages so long as Croatia or Spain win, but a draw between the two has a lot of scenarios. A 0-0 draw between Croatia and Spain would put Italy through and a 1-1 draw would require that Italy win by two goals and score at least three goals. Even if they win, Italy will not be through if Croatia and Spain draw 2-2 or higher.

Ireland advance if: Nothing. They have been eliminated.

We'll have live coverage of both of Monday's games simultaneously in our Euro 2012, Group C Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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Italy Vs. Ireland, 2012 European Championships: Is It Slovakia All Over Again?

Italy should have no troubles beating Ireland on Monday -- but who thought they'd have issues with Slovakia in the 2010 World Cup?

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