Mattia Zaccagni strikes at death to crush Croatia and send Italy through to last 16

Just when Luka Modric and Croatia looked ready for one last dance, the rug was pulled away. A beautifully curled equaliser from the Italy substitute Mattia Zaccagni, with virtually the last kick of eight minutes added time, sent Luciano Spalletti’s holders through and surely means Croatia are out. They seemed to have just written a stunning new chapter when Modric blasted in 33 seconds after missing a penalty. Italy barely came close after that until Zaccagni sparked scenes of disbelief in a stadium packed with Croatia supporters who had been ready to party into the Saxon night.

The cruellest of endings looked likely for Modric when, early in the second half, he fired a penalty too close to Gianluigi Donnarumma. Within 33 seconds, though, he had wrought a moment for the record books. In the next attack he thrashed in a rebound to become, two and a half months shy of his 39th birthday, the European Championships’ oldest goalscorer.

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