For many people Croatia go into this tournament as dark horses but I think that’s unfair on this Croatian side and a win this afternoon could give some real credence to the possibility that they could go all the way and create an upset this Summer
This fixture will no doubt evoke memories of the frankly absurd encounter between these two sides back in Euro 2008. With Croatia scoring in the 119th minute only for Turkey to dramatically equalise a minute later and then win the game on Penalties
Many felt that Croatia were the best team of the tournament 8 years ago, but as nice as those accolades maybe it’s the winning of trophies that really count as Croatia still look to find their first major honour in 20 years of trying
With Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic pulling the strings in midfield and supplying the ammunition for Mario Mandzukic in attack the certainly have the talent to make progress in this tournament but can they go all the way
That remains to be seen but first they must overcome the challenge of Turkey. Turkey don’t qualifying for tournaments with as much regularity as the larger nations but when they do they always have a tendency to excite
They were unlucky to lose at The Etihad when they faced England last month, it took a late Jamie Vardy goal to separate the two sides and that afternoon Hakan Calhanoglu was a constant threat. Manager Fatih Terim will be hoping for more of the same
Also this time around he will have Arda Turan at his disposal, he was unavailable due to his Spanish Cup winning exploits with Barcelona. It should be an interesting battle to see him go up against his club team-mate Rakitic in Midfield
Whoever comes out on top of that battle will have a bearing on the result but more importantly I think Croatia will have the better firepower at their disposal and for that reason I think Croatia will get off to the perfect start later today and secure all three points.