Solid Spain lock horns with Croatia in what I call battle of Group D toppers.
Spain sit top of the Group D with 6 points gathered in two games, scoring 4 and conceding nothing in their first two game of the competition. Vicente Del Bosque led side were part of the few teams who booked their place in the round of 16 after first two rounds of the tournament.
Croatia squandered a 2-0 lead in their last group encounter with Czech Republic and missed the chance to book their place in the round of 16 and save themselves little energy that will be used in this clash. Ante Cacic’s men will need at least a point in this clash to ensure a safe passage to the round of 16. Croatia sits 2nd on the log with 4 point gathered in 2 games scoring 3 goals and conceding 2.
Croatia: Predicted line up (4-2-3-1)
Subasic – Srna, Corluka, Vida, Strinic – Badelji, Modric – Perisic, Brozovic, Rakitic – Mandzukic.
Spain: Predicted line-up (4-3-3)
Considering the fact that Spain is through to the next phase of the competition, I expect Vicente to make a little change in is line-up ahead of this clash, giving regular starters time to relax their nerves. He will be keen to give a run out for those bench warmers who could make an impact in the later stages of the tournaments.
Casillas – Ramos, Bartra, Hector, Azpilicueta – Busquets, Koke, Tiago – Morata, Aduriz, Pedro.
Croatia vs Spain: Head to Head stats
On her way to 2012 European championship triumph, Spain faced Croatia in the group stage of the 2012 edition that took place in Poland/Ukraine. The Spanish side defeated the then Croatia side led by Slaven Bilic by a lone goal, the scorer been Jesus Navas. This encounter was the last time both side looked into each other’s eye.
Sequel to that 2012 clash, Croatia and Spain has met twice in 21st century, though this 2 meetings are not competitive as they were international friendly. However, the Spanish side defeated Croatia in one of this 2 friendlies with the last one ending in a barren draw.
Spain gets the last smile most times this two met, defeating Croatia 3 times in their last 5 encounters (both Competitive & Friendlies) and suffering defeat once. That defeat suffered by Spain happened in a 1994 friendly, in the era of Davor Suker playing for Croatia, and Josep Guardiola as Spanish national team players
Croatia vs Spain: Prediction
This is a very difficult clash to predict, as both side are in different sit of want. The Spanish have booked a place in the next round, while the Croatian side is not yet guaranteed a round of 16 ticket, especially with threat from Czech and many other factors that plays for the remaining 4 round of 16 spot.
La Rojas’ performance in the tournament so far as brought nothing but joy, especially with their goal scoring show in the encounter with Turkey. Moreover, if complacency doesn’t set in for Spain, I see the Spanish getting the maximum point, but will give Croatia a slim chance of a possible win against the Spaniards.
Score Prediction: Croatia 0-2 Spain
Spain to win
Spain Clean Sheet
Under 2.5 goals