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Spain vs Croatia Euro 2024 Predictions, Stats & News

In what is a repeat of the Euro 2020 round of 16 tie, Spain and Croatia get their Group B campaign underway at the Olympiastadion in Berlin and it is unlikely to live up to the free-flowing expectations of that knockout encounter.

Spain edged past Croatia 5-3 after extra-time in Copenhagen three years ago but, in a Euro 2024 group also featuring Italy, losing this curtain-raiser could do significant damage to their qualification aspirations.

The pair also locked horns in the 2022-23 Nations League final, with Spain prevailing on penalties after a goalless draw, and this opening salvo may follow a similar narrative, with the game kicking off at 5pm on Saturday and live on ITV1.

Champions in 2008 and 2012, Spain will be looking to make their return to the big time while Croatia are bidding to go beyond the quarter-final of the European Championship for the first time.

Draw – 12/5

This is expected to be a cagey opener between two sides that both like to dominate the midfield battle and, therefore, may cancel one another out.

Spain are not the force of old but a midfield featuring Manchester City’s Rodri, Barcelona pass-master Pedri and Fabian Ruiz of Paris St-Germain is one that oozes quality and would normally allow them to dictate the tempo of the game.

The problem is that Croatia are also blessed in that department with Real Madrid veteran Luka Modric, Rodri’s club team-mate Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic and that experience should ensure they are not overrun in the centre of the park.

Spain’s struggles of late have been up front, with Alvaro Morata often criticised for his wastefulness in front of goal, while Croatia are also missing a prolific marksman who could take them to the next level.

With nobody wanting to lose their opening game, the goals may be in short supply and a low-scoring encounter enhances the chances of a draw.

Both competitive meetings in the last three years have ended level after 90 minutes and Spain’s run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals saw five of their six games finish as draws at the end of regulation time.

Despite finishing third at the World Cup two years ago, Croatia were held to draws in 90 minutes in four of their seven outings.

Rodri to score at anytime – 7/1

Rodri will know his importance to this Spain side and the Man City midfielder may feel that he has to live up to the reputation of being the main man.

In the injury absence of Kevin De Bruyne, the 27-year-old did that on countless occasions for the Citizens this season and, despite being deployed as a defensive protector, still chipped in with eight goals and nine assists from his 34 Premier League appearances.

Rodri may look to get a little further forward for La Roja and he looks set to be on penalty duty after bagging a brace from the spot in a 3-3 draw in a friendly with Brazil in March.

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