Croatia and Spain had to wait for the final rounds of their groups before booking their place in the knockouts. Both sides started the tournament slowly, but improved as the games went on, so their Round of 16 clash promises to be a mouth-watering one.
Where and when: Parken Stadium – 28 June, kick-off 17:00
Where you can see Croatia vs. Spain: ITV
Last time: Those countries shared the same Nations League group back in 2018. Spain thrashed Croatia by 6-0 in the first game, but the Vatreni took their revenge by earning a 3-2 victory in Zagreb in the return.
Croatia v Spain Predictions and Preview
Croatia will face Spain on Monday for their Round of 16 clash at Parken in Copenhagen in a game between two sides in very similar situations. Both sides were tipped as candidates for a deep run in the competition, but their start has been far from smooth.
Zlatko Dalic’s men were outplayed and lost 1-0 against England in their opener, while they only managed a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic in their next game. A 3-1 victory against Scotland saw them finish second, but further improvements will be needed for the Spain claish.
Dalic made some changes to his starting XI, as the Vatreni looked toothless in their first two games. Bruno Petkovic and Nikola Vlasic replaced Ante Rebic and Andrej Kramaric, but the Croats just don’t have the attacking quality they had in 2018.
35-year-old captain Luka Modric is still the go-to man, as the Real Madrid playmaker is pulling the strings in the middle and even scored a stunning strike with the outside of his boot against the Scots.
Ivan Perisic also turned up with a goal in that game, but other big names like Ante Rebic, Marcelo Brozovic and Matteo Kovacic are yet to make a significant contribution.
The defense is another underperforming unit, as Croatia are yet to keep a clean sheet in the tournament. Dejan Lovren received his second yellow card against Scotland and will miss the clash against Spain, while Josko Gvardiol picked up an injury and is a doubt.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
Spain to win
Over 2.5 goals
Spain to win 2-1
Spain, meanwhile, didn’t start much better as Luis Enrique’s side scored only one goal in their first two games. La Furia Roja managed 17 shots in the 0-0 draw against Sweden, while they needed 12 more to score once in the 1-1 draw against Poland.
La Roja qualified thanks to a 5-0 beating over Slovakia, but similarly to their next opponent, Spain is missing a prolific goalscorer up front. Gerard Moreno and Alvaro Morata have been heavily criticized recently, as both of them missed penalties against Poland and Slovakia.
Sergio Busquets’ return was a huge boast, but the holding midfielder picked up a knock and remains a doubt. Thiago Alcantara might step in, but Spain have looked rather flat in midfield without Busquets and this might be a problem.
Both teams built up their form as the tournament went on, so the game in Copenhagen promises to be a well-balanced one. Croatia defeated Spain, the last time these countries met, so you can bet on a repeat of that scenario at 11/2.
The draw is rated at 5/2 , while if you think that the Spanish strikers will have their scoring boots on and La Roja will win, you can place a bet at 13/20.
One to watch for Croatia: Despite his 35 years, Luka Modric is still one of the finest players in the world. The Real Madrid playmaker scored an absolute screamer against Scotland and will once again be under the spotlight against Spain. If you think Modric will break the deadlock against La Furia Roja, you can place a bet at 18/1.
One to watch for Spain: Prior to the Slovakia game, Alvaro Morata had scored four out of Spain’s last five goals at European Championships. The Juventus forward opened the score against Croatia in the 2-1 defeat at Euro 2016, but he missed a penalty against Slovakia and seems short of confidence. Nevertheless, Luis Enrique seems to trust him, so you can back Morata to open the score against Croatia once again at 7/2.
Long shot: Despite their 5-0 trashing over Slovakia, Spain have been very unconvincing in front of goal. On the other hand, Croatia finally impressed against Scotland, but are yet to keep a clean sheet. With both teams finally finding their form, goals can be expected, so in case you are looking for big odds, you can bet on Spain to win by 2-1 at 8/1 with William Hill.