Domagoj Bosnjak topped scoring for Croatia with 26 points
Croatia claimed a must-win 92-78 victory over Italy to advance to the U18 European Championship quarter-finals.
As a result of Spain and Latvia winning the day's earlier games in Liepaja, the mathematics were simple for Italy and Croatia: win and take on Russia in the quarter finals; lose and join the fight for elimination.
A 9-2 run to close the second quarter saw Croatia take a 10-point lead into the major break. The advantage grew to as much as 18 in the third frame but it was twice shrunk to 10 points in the final quarter, the last coming with an uneasy two minutes to go, before they ran out 14-point winners.
Croatia shot 47% from the field to Italy's 34%, but still managed to win despite committing twice as many turnovers (18) and losing the bench scoring count 15-26.
Small forward Domagoj Bosnjak scored a game-high 26 points and collected six rebounds for Croatia. Tomislav Gabric added 17 and nine rebounds.