🇪🇺 Historic Spain and Ukraine through; Dramatic comeback for Georgia | OneFootball

🇪🇺 Historic Spain and Ukraine through; Dramatic comeback for Georgia | OneFootball

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Joel Sanderson-Murray·24 June 2023

🇪🇺 Historic Spain and Ukraine through; Dramatic comeback for Georgia

Article image:🇪🇺 Historic Spain and Ukraine through; Dramatic comeback for Georgia

There were places in the knockout rounds of the Euro U21 up for grabs on Saturday. Here is what went down.

Spain qualify as Croatia flunk out

Scorers: Ruiz 1′

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Some history was made as La Roja qualified for the quarter-finals with a win over Croatia.

Spain took an incredibly early lead thanks to some exquisite tiki-taka movement, and Abel Ruiz stabbed home a cross from Manchester City’s Sergio Gómez. It was the quickest-ever goal of the tournament (20 seconds).

But despite the early strike, Spain failed to capitalise on their dominance. Unfortunately for Croatia, they also couldn’t find their scoring touch for an answer.

Coming out into the second half, some newfound energy boosted Croatia’s hopes but they couldn’t work the ball into Spain’s box.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Gabri Veiga came off the bench and almost doubled the lead but his shot was blocked before Juan Miranda’s instinctual volley hit the woodwork.

Some drama with two minutes to play saw Niko Sigur and Matija Frigan combine but goalkeeper Arnau Tenas denied their potential equaliser from point-blank range.

In the end, the quick-fire opener was enough to see Spain through, while Croatia flunked out after losing two games so far.

Georgia stay top after dramatic comeback

Scorers: Tsitaishvili 52′, Guliashvili 87′; De Cuyper 15′, Ramazani 38′.

The outcome of Group A will go to the final day after a stunning comeback from co-hosts Georgia snatched a point and kept them top of the table.

The home crowd were silenced after 15 minutes when Maxim De Cuyper leapt to head home Aster Vranckx’s whipped cross.

De Cuyper then turned provider when Michel-Ange Balikwisha’s goal-bound shot deflected on to the post, the left-back reacted quickest to turn the ball back across goal for Largie Ramazani to glance inside the near post.

That goal looked as if it had put the game to bed but Georgia were rejuvenated after the break and substitute Georgiy Tsitaishvli scored early into the second period to get his side back into the game.

Picking the ball up on the right, the midfielder cut on to his left foot and rifled a low effort from just outside of the box into the far bottom corner.

There was to be one last late twist and it came in the form of  Giorgi Guliashvili who got on to the end of Irakli Azarovi’s cross to nod in at the far post to spark wild celebrations for the hosts.

One more goal would’ve earned Georgia’s progress and it wasn’t to be but they head into the final matchday firmly in the driving seat.

Brobbey keeps Dutch hopes alive

Scorers: Almeida 20′; Brobbey 78′.

Group A will be wide open on the final matchday with all four teams in with a chance of qualification after the Netherlands managed to earn a draw against Portugal.

The deadlock was broken when André Almeida snuck in-between the two Dutch centre-halves to poke home Pedro Neto’s low cross from inside the six-yard box.

But the Netherlands managed to keep their hopes alive when Brain Brobbey guided in Wouter Burger’s nod-down with 12 minutes to go.

Portugal remain bottom of the group on one point with Belgium to come who sit on two points with the Dutch who face table-toppers Georgia on the final day.

Ukraine knock hosts out after late own-goal

Scorers: Dican (OG) 89′.

Sent off: Vanat (Ukraine) 90+2′.

A late own-goal from Victor Dican sealed Ukraine’s passage into the knockout rounds while knocking out co-hosts Romania.

Romania had started the better of the two sides with Louis Munteanu spurning two half-chances in the first half but it was the Ukrainians who came closest to the deadlock just before the half-time break when Oleksii Kashchuk’s chip glanced just wide of the post.

Ukraine took control of the game in the second half to no avail and it looked as if the game was heading to a draw until the dying moments.

Maksym Braharu broke into the area from the right and saw his drive across goal turned into his own net by Dican to see Ukraine progress to the quarter-finals.

More Euro U21 action continues on Sunday.