European Championships : Spain – Croatia

The first clash in the group of death where Spain and Croatia clash. An interesting contest between the current #8 and #10 of the fifa ranking. The 2 sides have a history of meeting in the Euro´s with at each of the last 3 euro´s since 2012 both sides have met. Add 2 of the 3 nations league editions in there as well and you can see there is a lot of recent history in this clash. The most recent tie was the one in the Nation´s League Final in 2023 where Spain clinched a 1-0 victory in extra time. Spain have won the last meeting in the Euro´s after knocking out Croatia after extra time, while Croatia edged Spain in the group stage in 2016, taking top spot in the group over favourites Spain. 

Spain Team News

Spain have nearly a fully fit squad ahead of the game, with only Aymeric Laporte set to miss the tie with Croatia with a muscle injury. Of  course, the absence of Gavi in the tournament will be felt as the Barcelona starlet is instrumental in midfield for Spain. Spain seem to have decent quality at the back and midfield to make life difficult for any team at the Euro´s. However, up front there might be a lack of firepower that could hurt their chances of progressing far in the tournament. Spain will hope that generational talent Lamine Yamal continues his impressive form of the last season to provide a spark upfront. In that case, who knows how far they could reach. 

Croatia Team News

Croatia have a fully fit squad ahead of the clash. All key players are fit and in form and looking fired up to battle. Most likely the last chance for Luka Modric to win a major trophy with his country after coming close at the last 2 world championships and last year´s nations league. Despite extending his contract at Madrid until 2025, it is unlikely that the veteran will feature at the 2026 world cup as Modric will almost be 41 at that time. However, who knows, it looks certainly like a trend for many players to keep continuing playing far longer than deemed common. 

Spain Form

After a good end of the year 2023 with comfortable victories in qualification Spain did not win any of their first 2 friendlies of 2024.  A draw against Brazil and defeat against Colombia meant confidence took a slight blow ahead of the Euro 2024 preparation. With 2 easy friendlies as warm up games against Northern Ireland and Andorra it was primarily task to get the scoring boots on and come in a positive flow. That certainly worked as a 5-1 and 5-0 victory mean that Spain are fully prepared for their tough group B task coming up. 

Croatia Form

After losing their final 2 games of qualification having been already qualified Croatia have picked up their form, winning each of their last 6 matches. A 3-0 victory against Macedonia last week was followed by a very impressive display against Portugal which resulted in a strong 2-1 victory against one of the favourites for the title in the upcoming tournament. An early Luka Modric penalty gave croatia the lead whereafter Diogo Jota equalised for Portugal just after half time. However, Budimir´s goal 10 minutes later turned out to be decisive and handed Croatia a very well earned victory. The result will definitely be another confirmation to the side that they can compete with the top sides out there and have a shot at the title as always.  

What do the stats say?

  • This is the 4th European Championship in a row that these sides meet
  • Apart from a 6-0 trashing in the Nations League in 2018, the contests between these sides never saw a victory margin larger than 1 in the last 15 years. 
  • Croatia have won 8 out of their last 10 games

Our verdict

A very tight clash that could go either way. Both on the rankings as in previous encounters do these 2 teams balance eachother out. Croatia will be determined to give Modric his sought after trophy while Spain are looking to bounce back after a few disappointing tournament exits. We expect a draw or a very close result for sure with Spain dominating possession but having trouble to break the well organised Croatian unit with fighting spirit. 

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