Spain's 5-3 win over Croatia in extra time of their Euro 2020 round-of-16 tie had everything: there was a "You won't believe your eyes" own goal, there was a spirited comeback in the final moments of normal time, and there was a heart-warming story of redemption.
In other words, it was the game of the tournament so far.
The drama began in the 20th minute. That's when Pedri played a long backpass that evaded goalkeeper Unai Simon and gently rolled into the Spain net to put Croatia in front.
🤯😳🤯 #ESP #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/vtV5RKmdr0— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) June 28, 2021
someone give that man a hug— Kim McCauley (@lgbtqfc) June 28, 2021
But Spain would dig themselves out of that hole. Pablo Sarabia equalised 18 minutes later, and Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta headed the 2012 European champions into the lead just shy of the hour mark. Ferran Torres added a third in the 76th minute, and La Roja were out of sight, right?
Five minutes from full-time, Mislav Osic earned Croatia a consolation goal, but surely Spain would see out the game's final few minutes. And then Mario Pasalic scored again in the second minute of stoppage time, levelling the score and setting off euphoria among Croatia's fans.
PASALIC TIES IT FOR CROATIA IN THE 93RD MINUTE 🤯🤯— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 28, 2021
SCENES 🇭🇷🎉 pic.twitter.com/bJ5APDAswn
CROATIA FANS REACT TO THAT THIRD GOAL 🇭🇷🙌 pic.twitter.com/N2ybfrcfUX— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 28, 2021
And so, to extra time we went. And it was there that the game was put to bed, and by none other than Alvaro Morata.
The Juventus striker has started all four of Spain's games at Euro 2020, scoring once in the process. But more notably he's accumulated a number of glaring misses, making him the target of widespread ridicule on social media.
That made his eventual winner all the sweeter.
MORATA!!!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 28, 2021
THIS GAME IS OUT OF CONTROL 🚀 pic.twitter.com/LQ9iAMWy75
Love that Luis Enrique stuck with Morata. Love that Morata has stuck a huge middle finger at his social media abusers. 🖕🏻— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) June 28, 2021
Wow! Have to say happy for Morata - takes a lot of mental steel to miss chances and penalties earlier in the tournament, social media abuse and keep getting in the positions to score. He's done it #ESP #4-3— Eniola Aluko (@EniAlu) June 28, 2021
Timeline coming together to celebrate for Morata 🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰 pic.twitter.com/9V4lX5vD1S— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) June 28, 2021
How much stick have received Morata during this Euro and Luis Enrique have backed him up all the way. So happy for him and for the team, always together !!— Luis Garcia (@luchogarcia14) June 28, 2021
CRO 3 vs SPA 4
2 - With eight goals scored, Croatia (3) and Spain (5) produced the second-highest-scoring match in European Championship history, after France v Yugoslavia in the 1960 semi-finals (9 - 5-4 to Yugoslavia). Entertaining. #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/3ew9EN605z— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 28, 2021
Enhorabuena a @SeFutbol por el pase a cuartos de final de @EURO2020 !!! Continuamos en la lucha!!! 🥳 🇪🇸— Iker Casillas (@IkerCasillas) June 28, 2021