Croatia “deserved this goal and were close to winning,” said Vedran Corluka after a 1-1 draw with Italy.
Andrea Pirlo’s magnificent free kick had put the Azzurri in front, but Mario Mandzukic secured a point in their Group C encounter.
“We changed tactically in the second half, we were much better and deserved this goal,” the defender told Croatian TV station HRT.
“We were close to winning, but this is still a good result. We had some difficulties in the first half, playing two-on-two too often with Italy’s attackers, who are very good.”
If Spain beat Ireland this evening, then a 2-2 draw in the final match would send both the reigning champions and Croatia through to the next round.
“Spain are one of the strongest teams out there, but we believe in ourselves,” continued Corluka.
“I am convinced that we will progress to the quarter-finals.”