Spain upset Croatia’s hopes of reaching the quarterfinals with a tough 1-0 victory while Italy did just enough to qualify with a 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland
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Spanish midfielder Jesus Navas (L) celebrates with Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta after scoring during the Croatia vs Spain Euro match at the Gdansk Arena. AFP
Euro 2012: Spain and Italy reach quarter-finals
Defending champions Spain are into the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 after replacement Jesus Navas hit the late winner in their nervy 1-0 victory over Croatia, who bowed out on Monday in Gdansk, Poland.
Having come on for Chelsea star Fernando Torres in the second-half, Sevilla's Navas hit the 88th-minute winner after Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez chipped the Croatian defence and Andres Iniesta provided the final pass.
As they had done in Thursday's hammering of Ireland here, Spain started with almost 80 percent ball possession, which never dropped below 60, as Croatia seemed content to hit long balls down to lone striker Mario Mandzukic.
It remained goalless at the break and news of Italy's lead against Ireland raised the tension inside the Gdansk stadium as the second half wore on.
Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas (L) thwarts a goal-scoring attempt by Croatian defender Vedran Corluka (C). AFP
Croatia's best chance came approaching the hour mark when Tottenham Hotspur's Luka Modric crossed in for Ivan Rakitic's header, but Casillas parried away their best chance of the game.
After a fairly ineffective first 60 minutes, Torres made way for Jesus Navas in the three-man forward line, but both sides squandered chances.
With time almost up, the decisive blow came when Xavi Hernandez floated his pass over the defence for his Barcelona team-mate Iniesta to draw Croatia's goalkeeper Stipe Pleitkosa and put Spain in the last eight.
Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given falls to the ground after failing to prevent Italian forward Mario Balotelli from scoring a goal late in the match at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan. AFP
Meanwhile, in Poznan, Poland, Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli scored the goals as Italy beat 10-man Ireland 2-0 at the Municipal Stadium to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-inals.
While Italy were worthy winners, Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni will have been bemused to see his side concede both goals from corners.
But Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will also have been concerned by his side's dip in physical condition in the final 20 minutes, just as it did in their previous two games.
Ireland, who showed much willing but little quality, finished the game a man down after Keith Andrews was sent off late.
Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio (L) controls the ball during the Italy vs Republic of Ireland match. AFP
Several times Ireland broke at pace and had the Italian defence back-pedalling but they spurned their own chances through either a wayward pass, poor decision-making or running down a blind alley.
Selected ahead of Balotelli, Antonio Di Natale found space in the box three times only to see his shots blocked by Irish centre-backs Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger.
Late in the half, Cassano set his sights from distance and although Given had his body behind the ball, he spilled it and was relieved to see it bounce behind for a corner.
That proved a costly blunder, though, as Cassano ran across Andrews to get a flicked-header on Andrea Pirlo's corner that squeezed past Given and over the line.
Italy kept the pressure on at the start of the second half as St Ledger and Dunne were called upon to block shots from Di Natale and Cassano respectively.
As they had done in the previous two games, Italy's physical conditioning dipped in the final 20 minutes and Ireland started really coming into the game with Andrews having a crack from a free-kick that Buffon could only parry.
Prandelli made a couple of substitutions and switched to a 4-5-1 formation with Balotelli as the lone frontman.
Late on he did brilliantly to hold off John O'Shea, who had a fistful of his blue shirt, to meet Alessandro Diamanti's corner with an acrobatic volley to kill the game and put the seal on victory.
The temperamental star seemed angry and started to say something before Leonardo Bonucci covered his mouth to prevent the Manchester City forward creating any controversy. AFP
quarter-finals – competitions between the last eight competitors remaining in a tournament การแข่งขันก่อนรอบบรองชนะเลิศ
defending champion – a player or team who won a competition the previous time it was held ผู้ชนะเลิศครั้งก่อน
replacement – substitute; someone or something that takes the place of another ตัวสำรอง, ผู้การทำหน้าที่แทน การทำหน้าที่แทน
nervy – anxious and nervous ซึ่งกระสับกระส่าย, ซึ่งเป็นกังวล
bow out – to exit
chip – to hit or kick a ball so that it goes high into the air for a short distance
hammer –to defeat an opponent by a large score กระหน่ำ, ทำให้แพ้
possession – control of the ball การครองบอล
content – willing to do something; happy and satisfied with what you have or are doing พึงพอใจ
lone – single เดี่ยว
tension – the feeling of being so nervous or worried that you can’t relax ความตึงเครียด
wear on – (of time) to pass, especially in a way that seems slow (เวลา) ค่อยผ่านไป
thwart – to prevent someone from doing something that they want to do สกัดกั้น ป้องกัน
cross – (in football) the action of kicking the ball from one side of the field to someone in the middle or on the other side เตะบอลขวางสนาม
parry – to defend yourself against somebody who is attacking you by pushing their arm, weapon, etc. to one side ปัดป้อง
ineffective – not working correctly or not doing what you want it to do ซึ่งใช้การไม่ได้, ซึ่งไม่ได้ผล
squander – to waste something in a stupid or careless way ถลุง, ผลาญ, เปลือง
decisive – making the final result of a situation completely certain ซึ่งมีลักษณะชี้ขาด,แน่วแน่,ซึ่งตัดสินใจแล้ว
blow – a sudden event which has damaging effects on somebody/something การโจมตี, การชก,การต่อย
float – to cause to move slowly in the air or on water ลอย
defence – the players who must prevent the other team from scoring; the position of these players on the sports field ผู้ป้องกัน
team-mate – a member of the same team or group as yourself ผู้ร่วมกลุ่ม
draw – to attract ดึงดูด
meanwhile – at the same time ในเวลาเดียวกัน
worthy – deserving; having qualities that cause respect สมควร, น่ายกย่อง
bemused – showing that you are confused and unable to think clearly ซึ่งสับสน
concede – to allow a goal or point to be scored against you in a competition เสียประตู, คะแนน
corner – a free kick or hit that you take from the corner of your opponent's end of the field การเตะมุม
concerned – worried about something มีความกังวล
dip – going downwards or to a lower level การตกลง, การลดลง
physical condition – fitness; the state of being physically healthy and strong สมรรถภาพทางกาย, ความแข็งแรงของร่างกาย
willing – to be happy to do something if it is needed ซึ่งสมัครใจ, ซึ่งมีความตั้งใจ
quality – the standard of something when it is compared to other things like it; how good or bad something is คุณภาพ
at pace – at great speed อย่างรวดเร็ว
spurn – to refuse to accept something, do something, or deal with something; to refuse to accept someone’s love or friendship ปฏิเสธ
back-pedal – to walk or run backwards ถอยหลัง
wayword – not organised or controlled in the right way
blind – unable to see บอด
blind alley – a way of doing something that seems useful at first, but does not produce useful results, like following a path that suddenly stops ทางตัน
box – penatly box or area; the area in front of the goal เขตโทษ
spill – (in sports) to drop a ball or to fail to stop or kick it; fumble เงอะงะ, งุ่มง่าม
relieved – happy that something unpleasant has not happened or has ended โล่งใจ, เบาใจ, หมดกังวล, ผ่อนคลาย
bounce – to move quickly away from a surface that an object has just hit กระเด้งจาก, เด้งจาก
blunder – a careless or embarrassing mistake ความผิดพลาดจากความสะเพร่า
flick – to make something move quickly and suddenly, especially with a quick movement of the foot or hand สะบัด, ปัด
squeeze – to succeed in getting someone or something into a small space or object, often by pushing or forcing เบียดเข้าไป, อัดเข้าไป
keep the pressure on – to continually compete against an opponent in a very determined and attacking way กดดัน
block – to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
respectively – in the order in which they were mentioned ตามลำดับ
crack – a hard blow or hit that can be heard
couple – two สอง
substitution – taking the place of somebody/something else; using somebody/something instead of somebody/something else การเปลี่ยนตัว, การแทนที่, การสับเปลี่ยน
switch – to change เปลี่ยน
formation – a particular arrangement or pattern แนว, ,แถว, การก่อรูป
brilliantly – in an extremely clever or impressive way อย่างฉลาดมาก, อย่างหลักแหลมม
fistful – a number or an amount of something that can be held in a fist (closed hand) เต็มมือ, หนึ่งกำมือ
acrobatic – involving balancing, jumping, or turning your body with great skill การแสดงความแข็งแรงและยืดหยุ่นของร่างกายโดยการเล่นห้อยโหนโยนตัวเป็นต้น
volley – kicking (or hitting) the ball before it touches the ground ตีวอล์เลย์
seal – to make something certain or complete รับรอง, ยืนยัน
temperamental – having a tendency to become angry, excited or upset easily, and to behave in an unreasonable way ที่มีอารมณ์แปรปรวน, ที่มีอารมณ์เปลี่ยนแปลงง่าย
controversy – a disagreement that a lot of people have strong feelings about ความขัดแย้ง