La Furia Roja is one of the few favourites which did not finish on the top of the table. Yet, unlike Portugal and Germany who were seeded in a tough group, Spain was grouped in a relatively straight forward one. No wonder that the punters are doubtful on their form despite securing a big win in their previous outing. Their next game against Vatreni would be the real test for Luis Enrique’s men to finally prove their status as one of the strong candidate in this tournament. Croatia would be a perfect opposition for such mission.
Both teams’ previous games
Vatreni had to wait for their final game of the group stage to seal one place as the runner up in group D after dismantling Scotland 3-1. Nikola Vlasic gave them the lead. Although the home side could equalise through Callum McGregor’s long range shot before the interval, Luka Modric’s and Ivan Perisic’s goal put them back in front.
Meanwhile, Spain romped over Slovakia 5-0 in the final game of the group stage. They were quite lucky to open the scoring by a unlikely blunder of Slovakia’s goalkeeper, Martin Dubravka which led to his own goal after denying Alvaro Morata’s penalty. Apparently, it was the beginning of Slovakia’s nightmare as they conceded four times afterwards by Aymeric Laporte’s header, Pablo Sarabia’s and Ferran Torres’s goal plus Jurac Kucka’s own goal.
Zlatko Dalic will stick to 4-3-3 formation with the transition to 4-2-3-1. Nikola Vlasic and Bruno Petkovic are likely still included in the starting XI along with Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic. Both of those senior figures will be supported by Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic in the midfield. The only name on the sideline is Borna Barisic.
Luis Enrique has no reason to change his winning team here apart from Morata, perhaps who still fails to convince him to keep his post in the 4-3-3 formation. Gerard Moreno and Pablo Sarabia will get a nod as the front three accompanied by Ferran Torres. In the midfield, Sergio Busquets will still be the anchorman supported by Pedri and Koke.
Players to watch
The skipper and veteran playmaker Luka Modric is still the key man in the midfield, despite being 35-year old. He has notched up one goal and provided one assist in the competition. Another top performer in Vatreni’s squad is Inter Milan man, Ivan Perisic who has scored two goals and made one assist.
In Spain, Villareal main scorer, Gerard Moreno can turn to provider easily instead of being the targetman. He may fail to score but he could provide two assists in the tournament. Another key name to watch here the versatile Pablo Sarabia who has contributed one goal and one assists in EURO.
Croatia vs Spain Prediction
Zlatko Dalic’s side will bring a real threat for Sergio Busquets and Co’s defence, especially with Croatian’s key me, Luka Modric, who has been playing in La Liga for years. The winner of Ballon D’or 2018 knows Spain inside out, which shall give the necessary advantage for Vatreni. Luis Enrique’s men could deploy more creative attacking build up with Busquets and Pedri to break the deadlock. Nevertheless, this clash shall end in penalty.
This clash is meant to be even. Spain’s odds to win are at 33/50. The draw result is at the value of 41/14, whereas Luka Modric and Co are backed to win at 31/5.