Tin Jedvaj's extraordinary double saw Croatia blow their Nations League pool wide open with a 3-2 win against Spain on Thursday, setting up a make-or-break clash with England.
The World Cup finalists endured a miserable start to their Group 4 campaign in League A - thrashed by Spain in the reverse fixture and drawing with England - but they now head to Wembley in contention for a Finals place after an incredible finish in Zagreb.
A tame first half was followed by a frantic second as Croatia were twice pegged back by a rampant Spain side, Dani Ceballos levelling after Andrej Kramaric's opener, before a Sergio Ramos penalty cancelled out Jedvaj's first international goal.
But the Croatia full-back ensured his side would not be denied, lashing in a rebound in the dying seconds to keep the hosts in the running.
Spain, meanwhile, face a nervous wait after completing their group campaign, now requiring a draw between the two teams in London to reach next year's knockout stage.
David de Gea was drawn into a smart early stop, helping Ivan Perisic's deceptive low effort onto his right-hand post, but further first-half chances were sparse before Lovre Kalinic tipped away an Isco drive.
The first goal was a gift when it finally did arrive. Ramos and Sergi Roberto traded passes in the corner before Perisic intercepted an impudent flick from the latter to send Kramaric through on goal, the forward keeping his cool to finish.
Yet Spain suddenly awoke from their slumber and a flowing attacking move down the left concluded with Isco squaring for Real Madrid team-mate Ceballos to slide into the net.
Kalinic lost the ball at Iago Aspas' feet for a seemingly simple Spanish second, but the forward prodded against the crossbar and Croatia were able to go up the other end and restore their lead, Jedvaj nodding Luka Modric's teasing cross in at close range.
De Gea denied Ante Rebic on the break at one end before a frantic scramble saw Sime Vrsaljko block Alvaro Morata's on-target header at the other, although the right-back's handball allowed Ramos to convert from 12 yards out.
However, there was still time for another twist as, with Croatia throwing everyone forward, De Gea could only parry a low shot as far as Jedvaj in a crowded penalty area, allowing the 22-year-old to settle a see-saw contest.
What does it mean? Spain blow commanding position
Spain looked home and dry after impressive wins against England and Croatia, but subsequent defeats to both sides have left the 2010 world champions at the mercy of their group rivals. England will want revenge against Croatia for the semi-final defeat in Russia, while Zlatko Dalic's men will believe they can produce an unlikely comeback and qualify.
An unlikely Croatia hero
The versatile Jedvaj can play anywhere across the back line to good effect, but few would have expected him to make an impact at the other end with two goals. More attacking team-mates squandered chances either side of two assured finishes that made a hero of the young full-back.
Spain so soft at the back
Spain were torn apart by England last time out and, while Croatia were initially less proficient on the counter, there remain issues at the back. The visitors carelessly handed Croatia the lead, with Ramos shaky once again, and Croatia looked a real threat every time they came forward.
Spain face Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday in a friendly, but they must first watch England host Croatia earlier in the day. The winners go through, the losers are relegated. Spain, however, will be hoping for a draw. It is still ever so tight.
22 de abril 2019
|MLS Review: Vela leads LAFC rout, New York end winless start|
|Kerr backs Warriors star Curry to bounce back quickly|
|76ers star Butler, Nets´ Dudley fined after playoff clash|
|We always feel the same happiness – Al-Khelaifi revels in PSG´s Ligue 1 success|
|Paris Saint-Germain 2018-19: More goals and tighter at the back – the numbers behind Tuchel´s triump|
|Warriors´ Thompson says he ended slump by jumping in ocean|
|Maiden winner Pan claims RBC Heritage as Johnson capitulates|
|We cannot influence Manchester derby, neither can United – Klopp trolls Solskjaer´s men|
|Stevens proud of Celtics for keeping foot on the accelerator to sweep Pacers|
|DeRozan fined $25k for throwing ball at referee|
|Garcia and Mladenovic put past feud behind them to send France into Fed Cup final|
21 de abril 2019
|I am sure to stay at PSG – Mbappe insists he is not Real Madrid-bound|
|Special Foden has something that´s difficult to find – Guardiola|
|Sarri: Chelsea´s League Cup run on par with Tottenham´s heroics|
|Munster condemn pitch invader who confronted Vunipola|
|NHL awards 2019: Brent Burns, Mark Giordano, Victor Hedman named Norris Trophy finalists|
|Paris Saint-Germain 3 Monaco 1: Mbappe leads title celebrations with hat-trick as Neymar returns|
|Celtics sweep Pacers to advance to semi-finals|
|Neymar makes return from injury as substitute against Monaco|
|Words mean little – De Gea apologetic for disastrous Manchester United performance|
|PSG in Notre Dame jersey tribute against Monaco|
|Benzema the world´s best striker – Zidane|
|Patel the hero as Challengers survive Dhoni´s devastating display|
|Injured PAOK captain comes off bench to celebrate club´s first title in 34 years|
|It is in our hands – Emery confident on Arsenal´s Champions League hopes|
|Liverpool prove to be a cut above Cardiff thanks to Klopp´s pitch-perfect plan|
|Neymar back on the bench for PSG´s clash with Monaco|
|Ringrose: ´Incredible´ Saracens awaiting Leinster in final|
|Hodgson prepared to fight to keep Zaha at Crystal Palace|
|All we can do is keep the pressure on Man City, admits Milner|
|This is my home – Marcelo wants Real Madrid stay|
|Cardiff City 0 Liverpool 2: Resilient Reds return to the Premier League summit|
|Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 3: Zaha on target as Gunners slip up in top four race|
|Solskjaer: I´ll be successful at Man United... some of these players won´t be|
|Man United were rancid – Neville furious after ´embarrassing´ Everton defeat|
|Silva: Everton better team from first minute|
|Leinster set up Saracens showdown after proving too strong for Toulouse|
|Real Madrid 3 Athletic Bilbao 0: Hat-trick hero Benzema scores for fifth game in a row to seal victo|
|Damned United? The astounding stats as Red Devils hit 38-year low at Everton|
|Everything went wrong – Solskjaer apologises for Man Utd´s Everton horror show|
|Freiburg 0 Borussia Dortmund 4: BVB keep pace with Bayern|
|Paris Saint-Germain 2018-19: Mbappe´s continued rise shows Neymar is now disposable|
|Fognini follows up Nadal win by clinching first Masters title|
|Paris Saint-Germain 2018-19: How dominant title win compares to previous QSI years|
|BREAKING NEWS: PSG retain Ligue 1 title thanks to Lille draw|
|Everton 4 Manchester United 0: Toffees score biggest Premier League win over sorry Red Devils|
|Warner and Bairstow dominate again as Sunrisers thrash KKR|
|Colts owner Jim Irsay buys John Lennon´s ´Sgt. Pepper´ piano|
|People are having a free shot - Seibold defends young Broncos|
|Zidane must make Real Madrid hungry again - Seedorf|
|Young dropped as Solskjaer makes three changes for Everton clash|
|Lemar hopeful Griezmann stays at Atletico|
|Khan refutes Crawford´s accusations of quitting after low blow|
|Deciding doubles triumph sends Australia into Fed Cup final|
|Pakistan call up Yasir with Shadab laid low by virus|
|Wellington Phoenix 3 Melbourne City 2: Krishna´s last-gasp hat-trick boosts top-four hopes|
|Oh, for real? I didn´t know! - Harden unaware of early shooting woes|
|Solskjaer warns Alexis Sanchez Man Utd won´t carry players|
|Dele Alli thinks Tottenham´s Champions League run has Russian roots|
|Leilua brace downs Broncos as Raiders keep pace at NRL summit|
|Spalletti hails Inter´s Roma draw as ´precious´|
|Stuttgart had to make Weinzierl decision - Hitzlsperger|
|Tucker´s homer on MLB debut powers Pirates to fifth straight win|
|76ers win thriller, Rockets overcome Harden struggles to move 3-0 ahead|
|Crawford retains title by TKO after low blow stops Khan|
|MLS Review: De Boer´s Atlanta woes continue, Nani lifts Orlando|
|Garcia beats Granados via seventh-round TKO|
|Muller: Bayern feeling title pressure|
|He parks the bus right in front of De Gea – Van Gaal critical of Solskjaer again|
|Red Sox star Eovaldi on injured list with elbow issue|