SPAIN have gone favourites for Euro 2016. Willie Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) takes a look at their Tuesday match with Croatia here.
Spain v Croatia | Tuesday 20:00 | ITV1
Spain were superb on Friday night as they delivered yet another footballing masterclass against Turkey. Vicente Del Bosque’s side are a joy to watch when they are at their very best and, had they not taken the foot off the pedal after opening up a 3-0 lead, things might well have got very ugly for Fatih Terim’s team.
Croatia will have been left scratching their heads as to how they failed to pick up all three points from their last match after settling for a 2-2 draw against Czech Republic.
The Croatians threatened to run riot for the first hour against Pavel Vrba’s men, but two late goals for the Czechs mean that Ante Cacic’s men are not quite assured of a top-two finish in Group D.
Spain have conceded just one goal in their last 11 matches in this competition – in their first group game against Italy four years ago – and if they can maintain that remarkable defensive discipline then, surely, a historic third successive European crown will follow.
Croatia, though, have impressed me throughout this tournament so far and I’ve got a feeling that they won’t just be in Bordeaux to make up the numbers.
If it hadn’t been for the woodwork, they would have thumped Turkey in their first group game and, until it all went horribly wrong for Croatia – on and off the pitch – in the latter stages of their match against the Czechs, they were beginning to look like genuine contenders to claim the silverware.
The late capitulation against the Czechs underlined Croatia’s main weakness – they have a defence that can, at times, be a little creaky, but if you can call upon the likes of Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic, Luca Modric and Mario Mandzukic, then you are capable of causing problems for any team.
Spain are special, but even the best teams in the world have to concede sometime and, with less at stake here, Del Bosque’s men might not reach their usual level of intensity when they line up against Croatia.
For that reason, the even money quote for both teams to score could well provide a path to profit for punters from Tuesday’s Group D tussle.
Spain v Croatia – Both Teams To Score (Evens Netbet)