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Croatia v Spain Euro 2012 Preview & Tips
Croatia meets Spain on Monday, June 18, for their last Euro 2012 group stage match. The game starts at 19:45 GMT.
Croatia is in a precarious second spot with a game to go in the group stage. Drawing against Italy in their last match, the good news is that Slaven Bilic and his men will need only point to ensure safe passage to the knockout phase. The not-so-good news is that they will need to do so against Spain, the group’s strongest team and the tournament’s top contender. That or they can endlessly wish that Italy drop points against Ireland – an eventuality which is out of their hands that they might as well play their game well, earn a point, and hope to catch a good break come Monday.
Mario Mandzukic scored against Italy in their last outing; the 26-year-old Wolfsburg forward is the group’s top scorer with three goals to date, and is one of three players leading the Euro 2012 golden boot parade. Scoring a 72nd right footed shot that shook the Italians, Mandzukic was stretchered off the pitch due to an injury in the dying moments of the game. Luckily, the Croatian was alright after the match and should be able to start this game against Spain.
Spain demolished the Republic of Ireland to register the biggest win of the Euro 2012 since the tournament started. The Spaniards went goal-crazy with Fernando Torres, David Silva, and Cesc Fabregas scoring goals – three of which came in the second half with Fernando Torres completing a brace in the 70th minute mark. If for anything, the Red Fury looked menacing with an out-and-out striker leading the lines as opposed to an extra playmaker in a ‘false 9’ role.
Vicente del Bosque will look to close the group stages with another win; a loss here would definitely cause commotion as Italy is still in contention for a knockout stage spot. Although the team still lacks incisiveness when compared to the ideal Spanish side that has won the last Euro as well as the 2010 World Cup, the team is still in a very good position to impose themselves on the match and win it comfortably. They should be wary of the opposition though, Croatia is no pushover and a flailing defense will surely make Spain pay the price.
Croatia v Spain Betting Preview
Spain look dangerous as always even when they are not at their best so Croatia will need to find way to stifle the Red Fury and perhaps improve on – not just replicate – their performance in the Italy match. They look capable too, when it comes to winning games. Spain doesn’t look like it’s going to change styles anytime soon and the Croatians can capitalize on this; many teams have become familiar with the tiki-taka that you can only imagine how much Slaven Bilic has obsessed over beating it. At the end of the day though, talent on the pitch matters and at the moment, Croatia trail Spain by a mile in that department.
Verdict: Spain 2, Croatia 0.
Tip: A 2-2 draw in this match will secure both teams to the next round of the tournament irrespective of Italy’s result against Ireland; the odds of such happening is at 5.00 but don’t count much on it since Spain looks very likely to take this game at 1.80. Many will be looking at Spain to have goals galore in this match but Croatia do play good defense and the game could go under 2.5 goals here at 2.10. A final scoreline at 2-0 in favour of Spain is also a good punt at 9.00.
Fernando Torres looked lively with a brace against Ireland in the last match. He is at 2.37 to score in this one anytime, 8.50 to score two or more goals. Cesc Fabregas has been a revelation too in the last two games with as many goals. The former Arsenal captain is at 2.50 to score anytime.
All odds are from Bet365.com (£200 FREE BET!).