🏆 Euro 2020 preview: Croatia vs Spain should deliver a midfield battle for the ages
Betting Previews

🏆 Euro 2020 preview: Croatia vs Spain should deliver a midfield battle for the ages

La Roja is bidding to win a fourth European Championship which would make them the most successful team in the history of the tournament. 

Standing in their way of a quarterfinal berth is a determined Croatia side that's starting to look a little like their old selves again. 

📑 Match preview

🌠 Faded superpowers

2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia haven't looked like their dynamic and competitive selves in the last 18 months or so, but a spirited win against Scotland reminded us all of the sheer class that evergreen skipper Luka Modrić still possesses.

Ironically, it's in midfield where Croatia might feel as though they can gain an edge, considering the embarrassment of riches that Spain has enjoyed in the centre of the park in the past decade and more.

33-year-old Sergio Busquets will captain La Roja from the engine room and, although he's probably beyond his peak years, the Barcelona man still has plenty to offer, and is the last remaining relic of Spain's Golden Generation that won Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012.

🤺 A fascinating midfield battle in store

The latest midfield maestro from the Spanish production line, Pedri, is 17 years Luka Modrić's junior and the way he copes with the occasion will be fascinating. The legendary figure of Modrić will turn 36 in September, and Pedri will still be 18 until November. Mind-boggling for many reasons.

Alongside Modrić will be four-time Champions League winner Mateo Kovačić and the outstanding Inter Milan screening midfielder Marcelo Brozović. With Atlético Madrid stalwart Koke alongside the vast experience of Busquets and the precocious talent of Pedri, this midfield contest will be decisive.

🦠 Perišić absence a huge blow

So often the man for the big occasion, Inter Milan star Ivan Perišić has been directly involved in six goals in his last five matches for his country at major tournaments. The 31-year-old has been ruled out after a positive COVID-19 test so AC Milan attacker Ante Rebić will deputise. 

🏔 Spain starting to peak?

La Roja hit five past Slovakia in their final group game and, in truth, it could have been more. The 2010 World Champions might actually be clicking into gear and starting to resemble something of a dark horse and they're doing it just at the right time. 

Much has been made about Alvaro Morata's woes in front of goal, but Ferran Torres and Gerard Moreno are both a regular source of goals for Luis Enrique's men. Man City centre-back Aymeric Laporte came up with his first goal in a Spain jersey last time out too, reinforcing the fact that Spain can hurt you from all sorts of areas.

🔮 Likely XIs

🇭🇷 Croatia

Livaković; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Gvardiol; Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić; Vlasić, Petković, Rebić

🇪🇸 Spain

Simón; Azpilicueta, Laporte, Torres, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, Koke; Sarabia, Morata, G. Moreno

🔑 Key betting stats

  • Croatia has scored at least once in nine of their last ten matches at major tournaments.
  • Croatia has lost each of their last seven match-ups with current top 12 sides in the FIFA World Rankings, five of which arrived by a single-goal margin.
  • Spain is unbeaten in six against teams inside the top 21 of the same metric. 

  • Ferran Torres scored last time out, taking his tally to six goals across his last eight international appearances.
  • Only Switzerland won more corners than Spain (20) in the group stages.

🔮 Prediction: Both teams to score & Spain to advance

💶 Follow Croatia vs Spain live and check out the latest markets on the match. 

  • Croatia - Next Match
  • 22, Sep - 9:45pm
Go to Event