After the painful eliminations in the major activities, Spain has the opportunity to get back on track, as it will measure its strength in the 1/8 phase with the representative of Croatia.
The two countries have suffered setbacks and are certainly not experiencing their best moments, however it is clear that a move to the quarterfinals would improve the situation, restoring confidence in the team that would deserve qualification among the top eight representatives in this 16th edition of the European Championship.
In the last European, Vicente del Bosque’s Spain was eliminated in the 1/8 stage by Antonio Conte’s Italy, while Croatia on the other hand was defeated in the opening round of the “knock out” stage by Portugal of Cristiano Ronaldo, namely the country that won the title, thanks to a goal scored in 117 ‘by Ricardo Quaresma.
Times have passed quickly and the lost final in Moscow with France in the World Cup three years ago is a thing of the past, as in Croatia generations are changing and now it is really very difficult to claim immediate results from such a selection.
Important names have left the team, some of them have even left football, however coach Zlatko Dalic has not yet found a replacement for players like Mario Mandzukic or Ivan Rakitic.
Croatia has slipped out of the top ten of FIFA and currently this representative is positioned in 14th place in the world rankings, however it is clear that most likely this will be the last European for names such as Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Luka Modric, Milan Badelj and Ivan Perisic.
Croatia has gathered at home in Rovinj, however this time will travel to the north of the continent to play for the first time in Denmark, while Spain is training all the time in the capital, given that the group matches “La Roja” played at home, in the south of the country in the Autonomous Province of Andalusia.
Croatia secured qualification only in the final challenge against Scotland at Hampden Park. CSKA Moscow 23-year-old Nikola Vlasic was named the “star” of the match and together with veteran Luka Modric took the team by the hand, winning 3-1 inside Glasgow.
Earlier, the Croatians lost a more or less equal challenge at Wembley with England, while with the Czech Republic Ivan Perisic equalized the figures from the beginning of the second half. As a result, the team led by coach Zlatko Dalic took second place in Group D and now Croatia will face Spain, which also guaranteed the passage to the “knock out” phase in the final meeting with Slovakia.
In Group E “La Furia Roja” had some good opportunities in the first match against Sweden, which were not used, while in the next duel at the stadium “La Cartuja” in Seville the locals could not keep the lead during, after Robert Lewandowski equalized figures after a very nice header.
Luis Enrique’s team has abused two 11-meter throws in this European by strikers Gerard Moreno and Alvaro Morata, however in the last duel with Slovakia the locals significantly improved the game and benefited to the maximum from the blunder mistakes of Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka , to win spectacularly with the score 5-0.
With a little more luck Spain could have avoided traffic at the top of the draw and faced Ukraine in Glasgow at the bottom, but a goal in extra time by Viktor Claesson gave Sweden the chance to triumph over Poland, thus bringing the Spain-Croatia confrontation.
Zlatko Dalic will not have at his disposal a very important footballer like Ivan Perisic, while Luis Enrique on the other side has everyone on appeal. Croatia has won 2 of the last 3 challenges between them, however just two months after being declared world runners-up the players led by Zlatko Dalic suffered a 6-0 loss in tennis figures in the town of Elche.
The balance in the 4 competitive challenges is equal 2-2, while Spain leads the overall statistics 4-3 with victories in 8 matches between them. The Croatia-Spain match will be played at 18:00 at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen and will be led by the Turkish leader Cuneyt Cakir.