Croatia and Spain will clash on Monday, June 28, at Parken Stadium in their opening bout of the EURO 2020 knockout stage. These two sides last met in November 2018, when Croatia won 3-2, just two months after Spain claimed a commanding 6-0 victory, to improve their head-to-head record with Croatia to 3-2 in their last five outings.
Croatia vs Spain
When: Monday, June 28 – 18:00 CEST
Where: Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark
Weather: Sunny, 22°C
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
Croatia made it to the EURO 2020 knockout stage as the second-placed team in Group D, where they managed a 1-1-1 record and 4-3 goal difference. On the other side, Spain demolished Slovakia 5-0 in their final fixture of the group stage to end their group stage campaign with five points, which was good for a second-place finish.
Neither side dominated their groups, which was arguably more shocking for Spain, who were expected to finish above Sweden, Slovakia and Poland, albeit failed to do so after managing only draws in their two openers.
Croatia without Perisic and Lovren
Croatia will enter this match without Ivan Perisic and Dejan Lovren. Inter Milan’s midfielder is out with COVID-19, while Lovern needs to serve a one-game suspension he picked up in Croatia’s 3-1 victory against Scotland.
We don’t expect Zlatko Dalic to make many changes to his starting XI outside of these two absentees. However, Nikola Vlašić is likely to get a nod after his solid showings against Scotland.
Croatia enter this bout with a somewhat underwhelming 3-2-5 record in their last 10 outings. That includes losses to Sweden (1-2), Portugal (2-3), Slovenia (0-1), Belgium (0-1) and England (0-1). On a more positive note, Vatreni took points from Cyprus (1-0), Malta (3-0), Armenia (1-1), Czech Republic (1-1), and Scotland (3-1).
There’s not hiding Croatia aren’t playing as well as they did in Russia three years back, but it’s hard to point out any massive flaws. They might lack the talent, but Croatia more than makes up for that with experience.
Spain Not Looking Very Sharp
Spain finished Group E in second, with a 1-2-0 record and five points. They started their EURO 2020 campaign with two draws against Sweden (0-0) and Poland (1-1), to which they added a commanding 5-0 victory against Slovakia.
It’s easy to point towards Spain’s stomping of Slovakia, but it wasn’t a particularly impressive showing from La Roja. At least not as remarkable as the final score would suggest.
Not only has Alvaro Morata missed a penalty in 12′, but Spain were also handed two own-goals. They played decently well, but it was easy to spot Spain’s biggest weakness – lack of scoring threat.
As talented as La Roja are, they seem a bit underwhelming in the final third. They realistically only scored three goals against Slovakia, which isn’t very convincing both due to the quality of the team Spain faced and the game state in which they scored goals.
On a more positive note, Spain are without a loss in their last 10 outings, which includes five victories. That said, since their 6-0 stomping of Germany in November 2020, Spain scored more than a goal only against Georgia (1-2), Kosovo (3-1), Lithuania (4-0), and most recently Slovakia (5-0).
La Roja were kept at a goal or less against Poland (1-1), Sweden (0-0), Portugal (0-0), and Greece (0-0).
Croatia vs Spain Betting Picks
Spain might be the more talented side here, but they have yet to show that. With the players Luis Enrique has at his disposal, his side should be playing much better, and while you can’t really criticise their work in defence and in the midfield, the offence seems to be lacking.
Croatia are experienced enough to take advantage of that and keep Spain at bay today. Vatreni might not close out the deal in 90 minutes, but with how underwhelming Spain have been in the final third, Croatia should at least force overtime.
Prediction: Croatia +1.00 Asian Handicap
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