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Croatia 1-1 Italy: Injury-time Zaccagni stunner sends Azzurri into last 16

Italy dramatically sealed second place in Group B at Euro 2024 with a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Croatia.

Italy dramatically sealed their place in the last 16 of Euro 2024 as Mattia Zaccagni scored with virtually the final kick of the game to draw 1-1 with Croatia.

Croatia had looked set to leapfrog the Azzurri into the knockout stage after legendary midfielder Luka Modric scored moments after seeing a penalty saved early in the second half.

But the holders finally got the goal they needed to seal second in Group B courtesy of a brilliant Zaccagini strike in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

It leaves Croatia facing a nervous wait to see if they can make the knockout stage as one of the best third-placed finishers, although on two points are unlikely to do so.

As it happened

Gianluigi Donarumma was the first goalkeeper called into action in the fifth minute, with the Italy stopper tipping over a brilliantly-struck Luka Sucic shot from all of 30 yards.

It was part of a strong start by Croatia which saw them dominate the ball as Italy struggled to get a foothold in the game inside the opening 20 minutes.

But the Azzurri’s first opportunity was a good one as Mateo Retegui headed Riccardo Calafiori’s cross inches wide after a deflection off Josko Gvardiol.

Italy then had an even better chance to go ahead as Alessandro Bastoni’s header was saved at point-blank range by Dominik Livakovic.

Croatia, needing a win to avoid elimination, dramatically faded and Italy were the only side who looked likely to go ahead, with Lorenzo Pellegrini another to test the Vatreni keeper before the half-time whistle.

They were handed the opportunity they craved early in the second half after being awarded a penalty after the ball struck Davide Frattesi’s arm inside the box.


Modric stepped up but saw his penalty saved by Donnarumma – though barely a minute later he was celebrating after all.

After the ball was quickly recycled, Donnarumma saved another effort by Ante Budimir shot, but the veteran midfielder was ready and waiting to fire into the roof of the net at the rebound.

Bastoni spurned another great chance to respond straight away as he once again met a cross with his head but missed the target.

Italy knew defeat would see them drop to third and responded accordingly to the goal, with the introduction of Federico Chiesa inspiring a period of pressure by the Azzurri.

Their pressure continued but Croatia provided a threat on the break, with an out-stretched Bastoni heading away a Marcelo Brozovic cross at the final moment.

Substitute Gianluca Scamacca couldn’t finish off another good chance in the 87th minute as time began to run out for the Italians.

Croatia defended with their backs against the wall late on but were cruelly undone by a rare moment of quality at the death.

Calafiori brilliantly picked out Zaccagni on the left-hand side before the substitute struck a wonderful side-footed effort into the far corner to reverse the two sides’ fortunes.

What next for Croatia and Italy at Euro 2024?

Italy have secured a last-16 clash against Switzerland, who finished runners-up behind Germany in Group A.

Croatia can technically still secure progression as a third-placed side but with Group A’s Hungary already finishing on three points and at least one other expected to eclipse that total, it appears unlikely.

Picture of Cian Cheesbrough

Cian Cheesbrough

Cian is a sports journalist with experience writing for national title, including LiveScore, MailOnline, Eurosport and Sky Sports. He has covered a number of key events during his time in the industry, including from the press box at live Champions League fixtures.

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