All the talk of Croatia at the moment is not to do with the impressive play on the pitch it’s the unimpressive sights we had to witness during their game against Czech Republic last Friday. The bizarre scenes we witnessed with a flurry of flares thrown to the pitch and infighting between their own fans saw as an indirect result Croatia go on to drop two points and miss their opportunity to go joint top of the group with Spain and also book their place in the Round of 16.
After a comfortable win over Turkey in their opening encounter they were cruising against the Czech Republic after going 2-0 up and even with Milan Skoda clawing one back you felt they had enough to see the game out. Then the carnage unfolded and Croatia were counting themselves lucky that they came away with a point
The game was also turned by the fact that Luka Modric was subbed off after an hour, once he had been replaced Croatia lost their rhythm in midfield and that was arguably the first in a chain of events which saw Croatia stumble to the final whistle of a game that saw it suspended for 10 minutes grateful after Mark Clattenburg called the players into the centre circle so as to remove them from any imminent danger
As you can see there are countless column inches for Croatia with most of it being to do with matters off the pitch, they will now be walking a very tight line in terms of discipline and they as everyone else will be hoping that their isn’t a repeat of those scenes in the game against holders Spain
Spain left it late to beat the Czech Republic in their opening group game thanks to Gerard Pique’s late header and people were wondering as to where the goals would come from well they certainly need not worry after witnessing their demolition of Turkey last Friday night
They were the first side to register 3 goals in a single game in Euro 2016 as Alvaro Morata bagged a brace and Celta Vigo’s Nolito grabbed the other, not only that but Spain looked the Spain of old as Andres Iniesta pulled the strings in Midfield. The highlight of the game was the 22 pass move that lead to Spain’s 3rd. Vintage Spain with a modern twist
The key battle in Midfield will be Modric vs Iniesta, a repeat of the El Clasico rivalry but battled on international fault lines, Whoever can get the better of that one will give their side the edge in this final Group D encounter. Iniesta seems to be finding his groove while Modric will be itching to get back out on the pitch after not playing the full 90 minutes last Saturday
It will also be a battle between two teammates in attack. Mandzukic vs Morata, they are usually competing to see who will start for Juventus and it’s usually Mandzukic who wins that one so Morata will love nothing more than getting one over his goalscoring rival and added to the two goals he has already scored in the tournament.
I think with all the goings on with Croatia at the moment their focus is somewhat going to be elsewhere and this means that they will be their for the taking by Spain. I think Spain will go three for three from the group stages while Croatia will then have to hope that the Czech Republic don’t beat the hapless Turkey in the race for second place. A Spain win for me.