Croatia vs Spain
Euro 2020, Round of 16
Date: Monday, 28 June 2021
Kick-off at 17:00 UK/ 18:00 CET
Venue: Parken Stadium.
Both teams started their campaigns on a dull note, but got back into track towards the end of the group stage. La Roja had finished second in Group E, while the Croatians had secured the second spot in Group D.
Either of these teams have dominated the football scene at one point or another in the past decade or so. The Spaniards were back-to-back continental champions in 2008, and 2012. On top of that they had also won the 2012 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Zlatko Dalic’s men were finalists in the 2018 World Cup Final, where they fell against France.
For the Croatians, their golden generation of players have all entered the wrong side of thirties, and if they need something great to be made of this team, the time is now. There’s no saying how the 2022 World Cup might turn out to be in Qatar, which is still 18 months away.
On the other hand, La Roja have had no problem in doling out impressive talents year after year, and for the Euros, they even had the luxury to not pick a single Real Madrid player. Such was their squad depth.
Judging the talent on either side, the h2h history, and the ability of Luis Enrique’s men to rise to the occasion – expect a Spanish victory this Monday.
Croatia: Team News
The Croatians have a tendency to overwork their players, which has often resulted in fatigue in tournaments – especially towards the end. Just imagine – Luka Modric, who will turn 36 in two months’ time, is still the engine of this squad.
As has been always – it’s anticipated that the team will try the same line-up that got them so far. Moreover, it’s really not wise to experiment with your squad against La Roja.
Croatia: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Livakovic – Juranovic, Lovren, Vida, Gvardiol – Kovacic, Brozovic – Perisic, Modric, Vlasic – Petkovic.
Spain: Team News
It’s doubtful if Enrique would still trust the wasteful Alvaro Morata in front of the goal – especially in the knockouts. There’s only so many chances a player can get in the Spanish squad.
Likely, the gaffer should be starting with Ferran Torres, who immediately repaid the faith placed on him the last match-day. The forward slotted in a goal a minute after coming on the pitch.
The rest of the line-up would probably stay same as the one in the Slovakia fixture, which the 2010 World Champions won 5-0.
Spain: Predicted Line-up (4-3-3)
Simon – Azpilicueta, Garcia, Laporte, Alba – Koke, Busquets, Pedri – Sarabia, Torres, Moreno.
Croatia vs Spain Head-to-head (h2h)
- Enrique’s men had won three of the past five meetings.
- In the 2018 edition of the Nations League, they had defeated this opponent with a 6-0 scorecard.
- Four of the last five encounters had three or more goals.
- The latest clash had ended in a 3-2 win for Croatia.
Croatia vs Spain Prediction
Before their victory over Scotland, the Croatians were on a four-game winless run, and it also deserves to be mentioned that they have a total of three wins from their preceding twelve fixtures.
And note that none of these three wins had come against a world-class team.
On the other hand, their counterparts have lost just one of their preceding 27 games and have conceded a single goal from the former five match-ups.
Do also take into account the fact that they have a great h2h record against this rival over the years.
On top of that, fitness will play a good role in determining the outcome of this clash. While Enrique has a young, well-rested squad with good depth at his disposal, Dalic have to make do with an aging and tired crop of players, who overly relies on Modric.
By the looks of things, expect a Spanish win this Monday.