Spain vs Croatia betting preview: Back Spaniards to ease past Croats and on road to Euro 2016 triumphPublished June 20, 2016
In their exciting dispatch of Turkey 3-0 in their last game, Spain started to look like the team that pushed the rest of the world aside as it marched to World Cup and European Championships earlier in the century. The crisp midfield passing was there, much of it through Andreas Iniesta, but there was also a finished product, which has let them down in the intervening years.
Nolito and Alvaro Morata have people talking about the Spaniards as favourites once again to retain their crown. In their first match, against the Czech Republic, they needed defender Gerard Pique to grab a late winner. Many thought it was to be the same stuttering Spain we saw in recent years, but manager Vicente del Bosque kept faith with the same team and they repaid their boss.
The midfield of Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets and Iniesta, just behind David Silva should make most teams have nightmares and if they play like they did against Turkey then most games should be relatively comfortable.
Croatia have made more headlines off the field than on it. In their last game against the Czech Republic, they were leading 2-0 before the Czechs grabbed one back. However, crowd disturbances, which included a large amount of flares sent on the pitch meant the game was temporarily suspended.
When the game was resumed, the Czech Republic equalized deep into injury time to grab an unexpected draw. Many, including Croatian officials felt that the troublesome fans had cost their national team two points. The game was dominated by the Croats and goals from Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic had given Croatia the 2-0 lead.
Perhaps most worrying for Croatia is the loss of Luka Modric who left the field in the 62nd minute due to an injury, and is a major doubt for the game against Spain where he would have faced Real Madrid teammates and opponents against whom he plays regularly.