It was a score from another age and a match for the ages, a wild, thunderous and implausible afternoon that went from ridiculous to sublime and back again. It left the people here as exhausted as the players were there, struggling to remember everything that had happened but certain that they would never forget how it made them feel. The kind of game that left a lot of questions, including: how do you explain it? Where to start with that?
With the score: 5-3? With the 35 blows? With the fact that Spain won, to secure a place in the quarter-finals? Or the fact that they had to win twice? With the incredible revival of Croatia? With the noise, the occasion, the nerves? With quality, and there were plenty? With the heart, of which there was still more? With stupidity, because there was some too? What about the goal that ultimately ended this perhaps, finally carrying Spain through a storm?
Only then – when, with the clock at 99 minutes, everyone’s Álvaro Morata knocked the ball down with his right foot and smashed a sensational shot into the net with his left to send beer flying in the air and his teammates and staff sprinting off the bench running in ever-growing circles of delirium – no one in this place would allow themselves to believe that it was really over.