The Spanish side once had a team boasting a wealth of pedigree and talent coming from the biggest clubs during their golden era from 2008- 2012 having managed to win the euros and the WC. The Spanish side has more developing players and a few players with experience at the international level, which makes it a bit more challenging for them to adapt. However, their brand of football under Luis Enrique remains fairly the same as the golden era.
As for Croatia aka the Blazers, ever since they had that unexpected run to the WC final they have become a team to be feared. This time around they have the same squad to work with as in recent tournaments which means that the cohesion, the drive, etc. will be similar under Zlakto Dalic. This is one of the youngest national teams to reach the knockout stages in a tournament as well as the youngest team to occupy the top 10 in the FIFA World Rankings.
Why Should You be Watching?
The Spanish side has so many talents which have yet to make their impacts like the likes of Adama Traore and Pedri which can be a nightmare for any side in the world with their flair and range of passing that is mostly thought only at the Spanish level. They have been wasteful, but better tactical approaches can easily change this trend.
On the other hand, Croatians have the stubbornness to match the flair, but the only question is for how long can they carry on with the stubbornness. All they need is their star man Modric to be a leader as he did against the scots as this is a tough opposition.
Spain has had a mixed bag of results in which they faced the only one big team during qualifiers in Portugal and yet failed to misfire any goals as they did in most of the games in the run-up to this crucial knockout stage. However, in their last match, they did manage to score 5 goals and not concede, similar to the results in this entire run which might give them confidence. What this side need is accuracy as they tend to dominate possession for long periods.
Croatia is more than capable of making this a very difficult match for Spain, and we are expecting a close contest. Aside from the Scotland clash, though, Croatia has struggled to perform this summer. On a side note their height for set pieces could be pivotal to them creating big chances.
Spain form: DWDDW
Croatia form: DLLLWW
Head to Head
Croatia last faced Spain in any European Competition during the UEFA Nations League. While the Croatians won the most recent of those meetings, they lost 6-0 which till today remains their heaviest defeat at any international competition. This will be the third meeting of the two teams in the Euros as in previous tournaments they had clashed during the group stages. Both sides had beaten each other in that tournament.
Simon, Azpilicueta, Laporte, Torres, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, Koke; Sarabia, Morata, G Moreno
Livakovic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Gvardiol; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Vlasic, Petkovic, Rebic
Injured: Ivan Perisic will not play due to being tested positive for COVID
Doubtful: Borna Barisic
Players to Watch Out For
His Calm and Elegance as a Passer is perhaps the greatest attribute about Sergio Busquets is his grace and elegance of his passes. His best plays are the skillful passes he delivers to his teammates.
These are some of the key attributes koke brings-Long Shots, Aggression, Movement, Leadership, and Work Rate.
Luka Modric is so magical and special because he influences more of the pitch than anyone else. That’s the reason you remember him because in every minute and every phase of the game he is on your screen, either carving open a defense, attempting a shot from range, or breaking up play with a well-timed interception.
Vlašić outgrew the Russian Premier League and given his great performances for both club and country it is a matter of time till a bigger club makes a move for him. analysis on his defensive qualities has not shown much, but given his work rate, intensity and stamina he can adapt to any defensive tactic.
Will the Spanish try to re-assert their dominance in this match and as they do progress? only time will tell but one thing for sure is they are taking the right steps and one thing to be remembered is that this Luis Enrique’s first-ever major tournament, he has had his critics for not selecting star names like Ramos. However, he might have a master plan as he did with Barca to guide La Roja through this transitional phase in which they had the chop and changed many managers.
Croatia will always remain one of the best there is at making progress through the rankings despite being a small team. They fully deserve the tag of an underdog for fans, “We do not expect the result, but if we take it, we will get it”.
All in all get ready for mouthwatering clash between these 2 Nations which can also termed as Battle of Midfield. Whoever wins it will progress to semis.
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