Nazionale A

Zaccagni scores last-gasp equaliser to send Italy through

1-1 against Croatia: the Azzurri into the last 16 of EURO 2024 thanks to the Lazio midfielder’s 98th-minute finish

Monday, June 24, 2024

Zaccagni scores last-gasp equaliser to send Italy through

‘Z’ is the final letter in the alphabet. ‘Z’ like Zaccagni, who, with the last kick of the game, curled the ball past Livakovic to seal second place in Group B and the Azzurri’s spot in the last 16 of EURO 2024. Had Spalletti’s men finished third, they would have had to wait for outcome of the remaining groups. However, thanks to the Lazio winger’s fine finish just minutes after coming on, there now won’t be any waiting. Italy’s European Championship journey will continue against Switzerland, who finished second in Group A, at 18:00 CEST on Saturday 29 June. As for Croatia, who have come third with two points, they will have to wait until Wednesday to discover their fate.

“You believe until the last minute. In today’s game, there are moments that become crucial,” said Spalletti out on the pitch in Leipzig. “They were sitting back, but all it took was a tidy exchange in the final third to get in behind. We still need to work on a few aspects because there are things that happen in our matches which are illogical. Nevertheless, we’ve deservedly progressed. This qualification was difficult to achieve, with many considering it the ‘group of death’. After all, Spain and Croatia have players who are used to these kinds of matches. The substitutes were fantastic, helping the team to maintain its balance. It was clear that something might happen, even in stoppage time.”

THE MATCH. After opting for the same line-up against Albania and Spain, Spalletti made three changes for this evening’s clash: Darmian, Raspadori and Retegui came in, with the formation changing from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2. The Croatians made a bright start as Donnarumma made an excellent early save to deny Sucic. Meanwhile, Italy had their first notable chance in the 21st minute: Calafiori sent in a ball for Retegui, whose header came off Gvardiol and finished wide. The Azzurri were growing into the game and had a big opportunity on the 27-minute mark: Bastoni met a Barella cross but was thwarted by Livakovic, who also kept out a threatening left-footed effort from Pellegrini eight minutes later.

The Roma midfielder didn’t emerge from the changing room after the break, with Frattesi coming on in his place for the second half. Dalic also made a substitution, sending on Budimir for Mario Pasalic. In the 52nd minute, Frattesi blocked a shot from Kramaric with his arm, leading to a Croatia penalty after a VAR review. However, Donnarumma brilliantly guessed the right way to keep out Modric’s spot-kick. However, the Azzurri goalkeeper was beaten just moments later by the Croatia captain, who scored on the rebound after Donnarumma had saved a volley from Budimir.

Italy looked to respond, with Bastoni nodding a Raspadori corner over the bar. With 15 minutes of normal time to go, the Napoli man was replaced by Scamacca, who went to partner Retegui up front. Not long after, Jorginho and Darmian made way for Fagioli and Zaccagni. Then, in the 98th minute, the latter received the ball from Calafiori (who will miss the round of 16 through suspension) and bent it beautifully past the goalkeeper in front of the Azzurri fans, who can’t wait to return to Berlin…


Nazionale A

EURO 2024, Italia agli ottavi: il gol di Zaccagni vale la qualificazione


CROATIA (4-2-3-1): Livakovic; Stanisic, Sutalo, Pongracic, Gvardiol; Modric (80’ Majer), Brozovic (70’ Ivanusec), Kovacic; Sucic (70’ Perisic), Kramaric (89’ Juranovic), Mario Pasalic (46’ Budimir). Substitutes: Labrovic, Ivusic, Erlic, Petkovic, Sosa, Pjaca, Vida, Marko Pasalic, Baturina. Head Coach: Dalic

ITALY (3-5-2): Donnarumma, Darmian (81’ Zaccagni), Bastoni, Calafiori; Di Lorenzo, Barella, Jorginho (82’ Fagioli), Pellegrini (46’ Frattesi), Dimarco (57’ Chiesa); Raspadori (75’ Scamacca), Retegui. Substitutes: Vicario, Meret, Buongiorno, Gatti, Chiesa, Bellanova, Cristante, Mancini, El Shaarawy, Cambiaso, Folorunsho. Head Coach: Spalletti

Goals: 55’ Modric (C), 90’+8 Zaccagni (I)

Referee: Makkelie (Netherlands). Assistants: Steegstra-De Vries (Netherlands). Fourth official: Gözübüyük (Netherlands)

Note:  Sucic (C), Modric (C), Ivanusec (C), Pongracic (C), Stanisic (C), Brozovic (C), Calafiori (I), Fagioli (I) booked

Matchday 1
Spain 3-0 Croatia
ITALY 2-1 Albania

Matchday 2
Croatia 2-2 Albania
Spain 1-0 ITALY

Matchday 3
Monday 24 June
Croatia 1-1 ITALY
Albania 0-1 Spain

 Spain 9, ITALY 4, Croatia 2, Albania 1