Euro 2012 day 11 analysis: Ivan Rakitic miss leaves Croatia short
Last updated on .From the section Euro 2012
Croatia's Ivan Rakitic says he will have "sleepless nights" after failing to score with a second-half header against Spain on Monday night.
With the game goalless and entering the final half hour, the midfielder burst into the Spanish penalty area but could not direct his header past Iker Casillas after being picked out by a wonderful Luka Modric pass.
At that stage, the goal could have put Slaven Bilic's side into the quarter-finals, at the expense of the World Cup winners and European champions.
It proved to be a costly miss, with Spain's Jesus Navas tucking home an 88th-minute winner to send the Croatians crashing out.
Nevertheless, there were signs in the game that Vicente del Bosque's team have weaknesses that other teams can exploit.
Croatia's display in numbers
- Despite missing the best chance, Rakitic was Croatia's busiest player with 53 touches, their most frequent crosser (six crosses) and shooter (two shots)
- Luka Modric was Croatia's leading passer with 35 passes and set up two chances
- Croatia limited Spain to 793 balls played (passes, headers, crosses, clearances and set-pieces) with the European champions completing 863 against Italy and 956 against Republic of Ireland
- Although Spain had 14 shots to Croatia's six, the two teams created three chances each
- Croatia hit the target with 50% of their shots compared to Spain's 43%
- Xavi has completed more than 100 passes in each of Spain's group games
- Fernando Torres and Iker Casillas played their 11th European Championship match, more than any other Spanish player
Alan Hansen on Match of the Day
"You have to feel really sorry for Croatia because they played so well for so long while Spain did not play as well as we've seen them before.
"The fluency wasn't there, the ball retention wasn't there and, at 0-0 in the second half, Croatia had a good penalty shout turned down. Ivan Rakitic also failed to convert the best chance of the game.
"For the penalty, Sergio Busquets pulled Vedran Corluka and there are 19 bodies in front of the referee so he can't see it. But if he does, it's a penalty kick. It's all about small margins."
David Moyes on Match of the Day
"Up until the last 10 minutes, Croatia were always in with a chance, but they just didn't do enough when they got the ball.
"I thought Slaven Bilic got it just about right. His side made one or two chances and had probably the best one.
"In the end, when they were open and got a bit tired, Spain got the goal. But the champions could have easily gone out of this competition.
"Luka Modric could have been a Spanish player tonight. He was terrific.
"Croatia did a great job. They had to defend for long periods. But Spain's style is one that teams are getting used to. Croatia's performance will give other sides confidence to have a go at them."
What people said about Rakitic's miss:
"I'll have several sleepless nights after missing a great chance to give us the lead but we have no regrets because we left it all out there on the pitch." - Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic
"They had an excellent opportunity but that is why Iker Casillas is there and he dealt with it very well." - Spain manager Vicente del Bosque
"We knew we'd have two or three opportunities. It's not easy when you play against Spain. You have to score when you have the chance." - Croatia boss Slaven Bilic
Give your views on Croatia's performance on Twitter at #bbcfootball
1. The Italians settling for two draws, then "go for it" in the last match
2. The Spanish playing with a back four and six midfielders - and
3. The Irish didn't even turn up for any of their games. Very poor
Still. Plenty of good games elsewhere, and more to come
@8 If the ball had hit his collarbone without any help from the big old raised arm it would have kept travelling the way it was passed with a deflection instead it came back towards navas.
@6 Germany will be lethal on counter against spain defence without puyol
Xavi again was resolute and professional. Sometimes you just have to win ugly,
I'd say any top side will fancy their chances against the Spanish. They are good, but vulnerable at the back, as Croatia showed.
I think Spain were destined to progress, what with Raikitic chance.
Also thought iniesta's touch for goal was handball,especially when you see it close up,if he doesnt put his arm out he's never going to control that ball and if spain didnt get that goal who knows ???
Think its time for llorente,need strikers on
UEFA need to sort their priorities out though fining bendtner 4 nothing in my eyes and not punishing croatia enough.
Also it was a penalty he got the ball but the sheer pace the challenge was made at would have been a foul and booking anywhere else on the pitch.
As for the miss he should have headed it down and if they had scored I couldn't see spain equalising against that defending.
Also Croatia should have had 2 penalties 1 when Ramos flew into Mandzuckic and when Corluka got ragged all over (stoke style).
Fed up of pundits getting off on Spain.
Casillas is great all round, has been for years.
Hart is up and coming but a fantastic prospect with a lot to learn, could do with being a bit more commanding in the box.
Will the Lions be tamed tonight? We'll just have to wait and see.....