Spain and Croatia will clash against each other in Parken Stadium on June 28 to fight for a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020
Spain will face Croatia for the third consecutive time in the European Championship, having lost the last match in 2016. The Spanish were considered as one of the heavy favorites going into Euro 2020, especially since their 6-0 thrashing of Germany in the latter parts of 2020. But their lackluster performances against Sweden and Poland put a damper on their title hopes. However, their 5-0 victory over Slovakia in the final match of the group stage will massively boost their confidence going into this match.
Unlike Spain, Croatia has had a rough time of it recently with results not going their way recently. The 2018 World Cup sweethearts, who surprisingly went all the way to the final only to lose to France, have an aging squad but is led by one of the best midfielders in the world, Luka Modric. The Chequered Ones are the outsiders to win this match, but you never bet against Luka Modric and Co. considering their track record!
Will Enrique’s men finally step up to the occasion and show why they were considered as one of the top contenders of Euro 2020 or will Croatia once again surprise us all by taking out one of the best teams in international competitions?! We’ll have to wait and see but first let’s see how these teams got into Euro 2020 in the first place:
Spain was in Group F in the qualifying stages for Euro 2020, with the likes of Sweden, Norway and Romania, and finished first by winning 8 and drawing 2 of their 10 matches, scoring 31 and conceding only 5.
Croatia finished as the group winners in the qualifying stages of Euro 2020 in a group that interestingly had 4 of its 5 teams present in the Euro 2020. Croatia finished above Wales, Slovakia and Hungary as well as Azerbaijan.
Bruno Petkovic was their top goal scorer with 4 goals followed by Ivan Perisic and Nikola Vlasic both of whom scored 3 goals for the Chequered Ones.
Now let’s move onto the Croatia and Spain’s current form and their squad situation:
Spain’s form in the past year and a half has been a mixed bag despite them losing only once in that period. Mainly because they have drawn 8 and only won 6 of their last 15 matches. But there was much hope in Enrique’s side going into the Euro 2020, especially considering their 6-0 win over Germany.
However, they didn’t start the Euros on a high note since they failed to get a win in their first 2 matches against Sweden and Poland, in both of which they controlled the majority of the game and had numerous chances. But they finally managed to show their quality in the final match of the group stage as they beat Slovakia 5-0. Enrique will be hoping to get that momentum going and finally string together a winning streak after so many draws.
Since their glorious 2018 World Cup campaign,Croatia
has been having a tough time. They have failed to impress in the Nations League, being outmatched by most of their opponents and they have had an abysmal record in post-pandemic matches, losing 8 and winning only 5 of their last 16 matches.
In Euro 2020, they were in the same group as of England, Scotland and Slovakia and despite their loss in the first match against England, they managed to salvage a draw and a win against Slovakia and Scotland respectively to make it into the round of 16.Modric
’s form and his knowledge of Spanish players will prove vital to Croatia, going into this match.
The two teams have faced each other a total of 8 times prior to this clash, with Spain winning 4, Croatia winning 3 and a match ending in draw. Interestingly enough, the two teams have played each other in the last two European Champions, both times at the group stage with Spain winning in 2012 and Croatia winning in 2016.
The last two times that Spain and Croatia have faced off however, was in the UEFA Nations League A, where both teams have managed to get a win. Although Spain’s 6-0 thrashing of Croatia stands out a bit more than Croatia’s 3-2 victory over Spain.
Spain will be playing a 4-3-3 formation. They’re finally at full strength but Alba, Pau Torres, Bosquets and Rodri could all lose the next match if they’re booked and if Spain makes it to the next stage, which isn’t ideal. their possible starting line-up however will consist of: Unai Simón; Azpilicueta, Eric García, Laporte, Jordi Alba; Koke, Busquets, Pedri; Gerard Moreno, Morata, Sarabia.
Zlatko Dalic’s team on the other will almost certainly be in a 4-3-3 formation. They have suffered a big blow after Ivan Perisic got Covid and is likely to lose the rest of tournament as well as Dejan Lovren who is suspended, both of whom are two of their top performers. Without them Croatia’s possible starting line-up will consist of: Livaković; Juranović; Vida, Ćaleta-Car, Gvardiol; Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić; Vlašić; Rebić, Petković
Spain will look to PSG’s Pablo Sarabia to carry them in attack since he did such a good job of it in the last match of the group stage by scoring one goal and assisting another as well as hitting the bar. They’ll also have the extra fire power of Ferran Torres who could come from the bench to cause Croatia problems, like he has done in the previous matches for Spain.
Croatia is led by their Ballon d’Or winning captain, Luka Modric, who rolled back the years against Scotland by scoring a goal and assisting another to drag his team to the knockout stages in the last minute. The loss of Perisic, who also scored and assisted a goal in that match, will be a huge blow for them and Dalic has to find a solution to make up for Perisic’s absence.
This match could go either way, especially since both teams have been inconsistent in the group stages. But with the amount of talent that the Spain squad has as well as the absence of Perisic and Lovren for Croatia, it seems that Spain will edge out Croatia in the end and progress to the next stage, barring any potential world-class performance by Luka Modric. We’re going with a 2-0 victory for Spain!
The Turkish referee, Cuneyt Cakır will officiate the clash between Spain and Croatia. Cakir is one of UEFA and FIFA’s most distinguished referees who has had experience officiating semi-finals in the past 2 World Cups as well as several semi-finals in Champions League and the 2015 Champions League final.
Cakir is accompanied by his team countrymen, Bahattin Duran and Tarık Ongun, as assistant referees on the pitch with the fourth and fifth officials, Andreas Ekberg and Mehmet Culum, both being from Sweden. Bastian Dankert from Germany will be serving as the match’s Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and he is helped by Christian Dingert (GER), Christian Gittelmann (GER) and Pawel Gil (POL).
Date: Monday, June 28
Kick off Time: 18 GMT
Location: Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark
TV: BBC One, ESPN
Live stream: fuboTV (free)
Odds: Spain -175; Draw +280; Croatia +575 (Draft Kings)