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.
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.