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Spain vs Croatia Euro 2024 prediction, team news + predicted XIs: Chance for Nations League revenge?

Spain and Croatia, 2023 UEFA Nations League finalists, renew their rivalry to kick-start their respective Euro 2024 campaigns.

Spain vs Croatia Latest Prediction

Since Vicente del Bosque’s tenure as coach of the Spanish national team concluded, the team has undergone a series of difficult tournament campaigns. While Luis Enrique, his eventual successor, led the team to a semi-final appearance in the previous Euros tournament, their exit from the Qatar 2022 tournament was swift and underwhelming. However, current coach Luis de la Fuente has breathed new life into Spanish football by securing a victory in the Nations League.

Despite this, the draw for this summer’s tournament has presented a challenging road ahead, with strong competitors like Croatia, whom Spain defeated to win the missing Uefa prize from their collection, and Italy, who eliminated them from Euro 2020 on their way to winning the tournament. Zlatko Dalić has successfully transformed Croatia into a credible tournament challenger. In that aforementioned Nations League final, Croatia were able to frustrate Spain, ultimately losing in a penalty shootout.

Putting any recent struggles aside, Spain’s attacking prowess, led by a resurgent Alvaro Morata and a team of clever playmakers, is still formidable. A narrow scoreline of 2-1 in favour of Spain seems likely, demonstrating their dominance as a pre-tournament favourite and highlighting the need to improve as a complete defensive unit.

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The showdown between Spain and Croatia takes place on June 15 at Olympiastadion, Berlin.

Spain topped Group A in the qualifying campaign with one loss. The only frustrating result they faced was on matchday two when Scotland won 2-0. However, Spain got their revenge when they recorded a 2-0 victory in the reverse.

The current Spanish team is not as experienced as their previous ones, with only Jesús Navas and Morata having more than 50 caps. However, they have an exciting crop of young players, including Lamine Yamal, who could make a difference in the upcoming matches (and will likely become the youngest player to ever feature at the European Championships).

Croatia finished second in Group D, one point behind eventual winners Turkey. They suffered two losses, one at home and one on the road in Wales. However, they did have the group’s leading scorer, Andrej Kramarić, who netted four goals.

Both teams know that the best third-placed teams advance to the knockout stages. If there is to be a losing team, they will remain optimistic, as there’s still a chance to advance.

Spain Latest Team News

As mentioned, the Spanish national team has had some setbacks in recent outings. They recently went on a two-game streak without a win before registering back-to-back heavy wins over Andorra and Northern Ireland (five goes in each match while conceding once).

Earlier this year, Spain lost to Colombia at West Ham’s stadium before playing out an exciting 3-3 draw against Brazil in Madrid. During their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, Gavi, a highly promising player, suffered an ACL injury while playing against Georgia and now misses this summer’s finals.

Despite this, Manchester City’s Rodri remains Spain’s most valuable player. Dani Carvajal and Aymeric Laporte are valuable assets in defence, and Unai Simón is expected to remain Spain’s number-one goalkeeper. Spain’s success in their opening match could depend on how well they control the midfield, as Croatia boasts strong players here.

De la Fuente’s starting XI seemed settled ahead of this game, but Spain’s two recent friendlies have raised some questions. Olmo didn’t play. Will he be ready on Saturday? And if so, who will he replace? Laporte played only a few minutes, so might Nacho start instead? Lastly, could Ruíz be a surprise choice over Merino?

Croatia Latest Team News

By contrast, Croatia’s expected squad includes several experienced players. In their most recent outing, seven had more than 50 caps. Among those players are midfielders Luka Modrić, Marcelo Brozović and Mateo Kovačić with Kramarić, expected to lead their line, another notable name. Modrić, who turns 39 later this year, will again be tasked with dictating Croatia’s game. He should receive plenty of help, and with the likes of Joško Gvardiol backing him up, they should give Spain a formidable contest.

Dalić is expected to choose the same starting lineup as the friendly against Portugal for the match against Spain. Perišić has not fully recovered from knee surgery, so Kramarić will likely play on the left wing and Majer on the right. We can expect Pongračić to partner with Šutalo in central defence and Budimir as the centre forward for the first match.

Spain vs Croatia Head-to-Head

This will be the 11th meeting and third at the European Championship between these nations, with Spain holding a 6-3 head-to-head record. That most recent contest ended goalless in Rotterdam with the Nations League title on the line. Spain went near perfect in the penalty shootout, with Aymeric Laporte missing his attempt. However, Lovro Majer and Bruno Petković couldn’t shoot theirs past Unai Simón, who saved on both occasions.

Spain vs Croatia H2H
Date Score Ground
18/06/2023 Croatia 0-0 Spain De Kuip
28/06/2021 Croatia 3-5 Spain Parken Stadion
15/11/2018 Croatia 3-2 Spain Stadion Maksimir
11/09/2018 Spain 6-0 Croatia Estadio Martínez Valero
21/06/2016 Croatia 2-1 Spain Stade Matmut Atlantique
18/06/2012 Croatia 0-1 Spain PGE Arena

How to watch Spain vs Croatia Live

This showdown will be live on ITV1 or STV, as well as online on ITVX or STV Player. 

Every Euro 2024 game will be shown live on either BBC or ITV, with the two platforms sharing the broadcast rights.