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    Spain, Italy reach last eight in Euro 2012

    Jun 19, 2012

    World Cup and European champion Spain survived a huge scare, finding the mark only in the 88th-minute in a hairline win over Croatia to advance to the quarterfinals of Euro2012.

    Jesus Navas scored the only goal of the tense match at Arena Gdansk in Poland, giving La Roja seven points from three matches.

    Italy also gained a spot in the last eight, ending its winless streak with a 2-0 victory over Ireland at Municipal Stadium Poznan.

    Chances were very few for the reigning champions, with Fernando Torres’ shot in the 23rd getting saved by Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa.

    On the other end, Iker Casillas was made to work by the Croatian side with Danijel Pranjic’s low attempt in the 25th, Ivan Rakitic’s header in the 59th minute a low volley by Ivan Perisic in the 79th.

    The Spanish captain did well and Cesc Fabregas created the scoring chance when he found Andres Iniesta, who passed square to Navas for the tap and the win.

    In Poznan, Italy needed a win to advance and Antonio Cassano delivered a goal, heading in Andrea Pirlo’s corner in the 35th.

    Mario Balotelli doubled the lead in the 90th and Italy ended its five-game run of futility. The Azzurri had settled for draws with Spain and Croatia after three losses in friendlies.  They finish the group stage with just five points from three games.

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