In their final Group D match in Koper, Slovenia on Wednesday, Croatia lost to England 2:1, but Portugal beat Switzerland 3:0, which was enough for Croatia to slide into the next stage.
It was joy for Croatia and heartbreak for England after an amazing goal from Domagoj Bradarić in stoppage time. After some build-up, Bradarić struck from 25 meters and the ball sailed into the top corner. That cemented Croatia into second place and set up a quarter-final clash against title-holders Spain.
“I feel extraordinary, really. I feel amazing. All credit to my players. They didn’t lose faith right up until the end and they produced a bit of magic, which we needed to qualify. It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Croatia coach Igor Bišćan told UEFA.com.
Croatia, England, and Switzerland each finish with three points apiece but Croatia is in second place with a -1 goal difference and advances along with group winner Portugal.
This is the first time Croatia has reached the second stage of the competition, which will be held in May and June. Croatia is slated to play Spain on May 31 in Maribor. Portugal faces Italy in the other quarterfinal match.
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