Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Misery for Modric as last-gasp Italy keep Euro title defence alive

Write off Italy at your peril. The enduring ability of the Azzurri to dig up a winning edge proved even too much for the legend that is Luka Modric on the concluding night of action in Group B at the UEFA Euro finals.

Croatia’s veteran captain had recovered from missing a penalty to strike the opportunist goal which secured a second-half lead over the European champions in Leipzig. That lead lasted until the seventh minute of stoppage time when Modric’s effort was squared by substitute Mattia Zaccagni.

The draw confirmed Italy in second place in Group B behind Spain who extended their 100pc record, simultaneously, by defeating a tiring Albania 1-0 in Dusseldorf. Croatia were left sitting on two points which will almost not be sufficient to conjure up a miracle from the best third-place system.

Mattia Zaccagni of Italy celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Croatia and Italy at Football Stadium Leipzig on June 24, 2024 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images for FIGC)

Modric had become the oldest player, at 38 years 298 days, to score a goal at the Euro finals but the dejection on his face as he was presented with the man of the match award said everything. One consequence of the night’s turn of results was that England, France and Netherlands progressed to the next round before their final group matches.

Croatia went close in the opening minutes when Luka Sucic drew a flying save from Italy captain Gianluigi Donnarumma but then the rest of the first half was mostly Italy. Croatia were a different team after the interval. A handball award against Davide Frattesi produced a penalty which Modric took only to see Donnarumma diving left to save.

Croatia’s captain, undeterred, then turned up to equalise after all when Donnarumma could only parry an effort from substitute Ante Budimir.

Italy had no alternative but to plough forward. Bastoni and Giacomo Raspadori both went close but as stoppage time ran on so Croatia’s substitutes took to their feet for a celebration which never came: Calafiori charged up out of central defence and served up the opportunity for substitute Zaccagni to curl a perfect shot beyond the desperate left hand of Livakovic and back inside the far post.

Modric said: “Football was merciless with us tonight, it was cruel. It is hard when you lose like this to describe how you feel. The football gods don’t always smile on us.”

Spain offered further evidence of their title credentials as Ferran Torres’ goal ensured a victory over Albania to make it three wins from three. Coach Luis de la Fuente made make 10 changes from the line-up who began the previous victory over Italy.

Spain lacked the slickness of their opening two matches but players to stake a claim to push for a starting place in the round of 16 included man-of-the-match Torres.

You May Also Like


The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) issued a memo today stating that they are “not considering applications for any Ghanaian boxers.” This means...

Olympic Games

Huang Guohui – who coached Vietnam’s swimming team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games here – has died in quarantine after returning from the...

African Cup Of Nations

The Black Stars’ appearance in the 2021 edition will be their 23rd time and they will be keen to end their long awaited drought...

Combat Sports

Malaysia based multi decorated Ghanaian kickboxer, Gerald Dah is in high spirits ahead of his latest fight this Friday after safely landing in Kuala...