Mattia Zaccagni was Italy's hero against Croatia in Leipzig. - © Claudio Villa
Mattia Zaccagni was Italy's hero against Croatia in Leipzig. - © Claudio Villa

Mattia Zaccagni Italy's hero as Croatia suffer last-gasp Euro 2024 heartache in Leipzig


There was joy for Italy and despair for Croatia after Mattia Zaccagni netted a wonderful goal in the last minute of added time to rescue Luciano Spalletti's side and send the defending champions through to the last 16, with their opponents almost certainly eliminated as a result.

Croatia 1-1 Italy
Goals: 1-0
Modrić 55’, 1-1 Zaccagni 90+8' 

The tension in Leipzig was palpable as Croatia went in search of the win they needed to secure qualification, with Italy also knowing that gaining something from this game was desirable to help avoid any Round of 16 uncertainty. Zlatko Dalić's side started on the front foot, with Luka Sučić powering a shot at the target after just four minutes which Azzurri captain Gianluigi Donnarumma expertly turned away. The defending champions responded, and when Alessandro Bastoni found himself free in front of goal, it seemed certain the Inter Milan player would find the net. Dominik Livaković had other ideas, the Croatia custodian pulling off one of the saves of the tournament to keep the game scoreless. The action spilled into the second half and when substitute Davide Frattesi handled Hoffenheim forward Andrej Kramarić's centre, Croatia were awarded a penalty. Skipper Luka Modrić's spot-kick was stopped by Donnarumma, but the Real Madrid legend wouldn't be denied moments later on the follow-up when Italy's goalkeeper parried Ante Budimir's close-range strike. Spalletti's team pressed for an equaliser, which didn't look like arriving. However, in the dying seconds, Zaccagni suddenly found himself free on the left. The Lazio forward had work to do, but how he delivered, with a cool, curling effort beyond the despairing Livaković sending Italy through at the death. Croatia - and their Bundesliga contingent of Josip Stanišić, Kramarić, Josip Juranovic and Lovro Majer - must wait to learn their knockout-round fate after finishing the section third with two points.