World Cup runners-up Croatia might have managed to battle their way into the last 16 of Euro 2020 but now they have a meeting with Spain on Monday.
Monday’s fixture at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen kicks off at 6pm with plenty on the line.
Neither side coped well in the group phase needing a win in their final game to get through. Croatia escaped Group D after downing Scotland while Spain thumped Slovakia 5-0 to revive some hope.
Misfiring striker Alvaro Morata remains a concern up front for Luis Enrique’s side while midfielder Sergio Busquets, who recovered from his coronavirus spell to face Slovakia, may miss this contest through injury after limping out of win.
Defender Dejan Lovren is suspended for the Croats while teammate Josko Gvardiol was injured in the win over Scotland and is now a serious injury concern.
The last meeting between Croatia and Spain will have the Spaniards eager to start well. During the 2018 Nations League campaign, they routed Croatia 6-0 in the first leg before losing 3-2 in the second.
For Croatia, much of their strength lies in the amount of time and space afforded to ageing but still brilliant midfielder Luka Modric, who showed his full array of passing skills in the victory over Scotland. Should Spain opt to man mark the Real Madrid lynchpin, they might find more attacking opportunities.
A tie against France or Switzerland in Saint Petersburg on 2 July awaits the victors.
While Croatia beat Scotland, they remain woefully out of form with just five wins from 16 in the past nine months.
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