Italy 2 Republic of Ireland 0 - Spain 1 Croatia 0
Eventually it was Spain and Italy who went through to the quarter-finals as we probably all expected but, as previously, the new ruling on qualification has definitely livened things up a bit. In the Spain v Crotia game, there was just a few seconds when things could have been so different and it was this tension that highlighted what otherwise might have been a dull game in which Croatia kept Spain very quiet.
Firstly, in the 59th minute when Luka Modric beat Ramos on the right and crossed for Rakitic to head low, only to see Casillas save - the ball straight at him - when a slight change of trajectory either way, would almost certainly have had the Spanish keeper beaten, and later when an optimistic shout for a Croatian penalty in a melee of players was seen to be a definite tug on a Croatian shirt that the referee would surely have given had he seen.
At that stage, with Italy leading Ireland 1-0 thanks to a Cassano flicked header from a corner that just crossed the line, a Croatian strike could have seen the current European and World Champions out of the tournament, but if a miss is as good as a mile then the introduction of players of the calibre of Jesús Navas and Cesc Fábregas must look like a marathon. Inevitably, it was Fábregas who supplied the flick that let in Iniesta who just beat the offside to sqaure back for Navas to score in the 87th minute. I'm normally relatively happy to see Spain do well but must admit to having more than a tinge of disappointment for a battling and not unskillful Croatia side and, more importantly, Super Slav himself; manager Slaven Bilic leading his team out of the tournament in his final game before returning to club management. Terrific player and a good bloke - we'll miss him.
Just a couple of minutes after Navas had scored at the PGE Arena, over in Poznan, Italy went further ahead against Ireland with Mario Balotelli volleying in superbly from another corner. With Andrews having been sent off earlier for dissent, it was a sad end to Ireland's campaign. Main talking point though was what Balotelli was trying to say after he scored that caused his team mate to hold his hand over the Manchester City player's mouth and whisper something in his ear to calm him down.
Just two quarter-final places to settle now. Will England have one of them?