Euro 2016 roundup: Spain, Italy notch wins while Croatia settles for draw

Two traditional powers, Italy and Spain, secured places in the knockout round of Euro 2016 with wins Friday while Croatia squandered a late two-goal lead against the Czech Republic in a 2-2 draw.

Italy 1, Sweden 0

Eder’s goal in the 88th minute sent Italy into the knockout round at the expense of Portugal.

It was the second win in as many tries in this tournament for the Azzurri, which some called “the worst Italy team ever” in the weeks before the event.

“We are very pleased,” Italy’s manager, Antonio Conte, said. “Very few people would have envisaged us making the last 16 after just two matches and a number of people questioned if we would even get through the group. There were a few skeletons in the closet, those ghosts from the past that may have affected the performance, but we should be very happy to be through.”

Sweden and its talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, will need to beat Belgium in the Group E finale to have a chance of advancing. To do so, it will need a shot on target — something it hasn’t yet managed in this tournament.

Croatia 2, Czech Republic 2

Goals on either side of halftime from Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic seemed to have Croatia cruising into the knockout round, but Milan Skoda’s header in the 75th minute from the Czechs made it interesting before a Tomas Necid penalty kick in the 93rd minute made it a draw.

Fan behavior stole the show, however, as the match was briefly halted near the end of regulation when Croatian fans threw flares onto the pitch.

UEFA has yet to respond to the incident.

Spain 3, Turkey 0

Spain outclassed Turkey in the final match of the day, breezing past a lackluster Turkish side.

Alvaro Morata had a goal in each half, while Nolito added another for a comfortable looking Spanish side. Spain had 57 percent possession in the match, while the Turks failed to register a shot on target in the match.

The result eliminates Turkey from advancing in the tournament.

About Randy Capps

South Carolina native, Fulham apologist, writer and sports fanatic.