The first thing to note is that only 10 matches remain now that these two have been played, so footy addicts like me need to start preparing for cold turkey.
I wasn't as excited about this pair of games as any of the other groups, simply because I was certain that Spain and Italy would prevail. That was until kickoff - when it seemed there was at least a chance of an upset. Ireland looked fully fired up and determined to at least score, if not win. Croatia were more cautious and seemed to be going for the "let's keep it level and see what happens" approach. Spain were a little off the boil and so the approach worked for the first hour at least. Then as the second half progressed, Croatia put more men forward and were unlucky on several occasions not to take the lead.
Meanwhile, Italy had inevitably scored against Ireland - Given again having a few troubles. Having flapped a random shot past his own post, he was then beaten to the ball from the resulting corner, and so it was 1-0. I for one hope that he doesn't carry this form into the new season for Villa.
Spain were taking passing to a new level, beyond ineffectual into downright farting about - and it looked for a while like it would cost them, with the risk that a single Croatia goal would know them out. That until Navas hammered home from point blank range, the ball having been passed around the entire Croat defence and goalie.
And so Spain & Italy progress - Balotelli got a goal and threw a mard at the coach for not having started him. Great stuff.