POZNAN/GDANSK: Spain and Italy, Group C favourites, went through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 after the latest theatricals in Poland.
Spain beat Croatia 1-0 with an 87th-minute goal from substitute Jesus Navas so the world and European champions progressed as group winners.
However, they did have captain and keeper Iker Casillas to thank for second-half saves from Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric and Perisic. Croatia pushed more and more forward and were eventually caught on the counter-attack – though there was possibly an element of offside over the Spanish goal.
Until that goal from Navas it was the Italians who were leading the group. They took a 35th-minute lead when Antonio Cassano struck with a glancing header from a left-wing corner by Andrea Pirlo.
Italy held that lead without too much difficulty and might have had one or two more. They were denied a penalty for handball and had encouragement from some more uncertain handling by Irish keeper Shay Given in his 100th international.
The Irish finished with 10 men after the late expulsion of midfielder Keith Andrews.
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