Spain vs Croatia – Match preview and team news

The final Group C games throw up a number of qualifying possibilities, and Spain vs Croatia offers both teams the chance to qualify, though Spain will look to secure the top spot in the group.

If the game was won on momentum then Spain would certainly win, coming off the back of a resounding 4-0 win over the Republic of Ireland they have all but assured qualification. With a draw seeing Vicente del Bosque’s side safely through, a draw would also see Croatia progress.

Conspiracy theorists are salivating over the potential outcomes in the match – with a 2-2 draw seeing both teams progress there have been rumours in the Italian media of this being agreed beforehand, albeit without basis. That talk has been rightly denied by both parties with Croatia coach Slaven Bilic, who insists: “Croatians are fiercely nationalistic and proud.”

Spain have no fresh injury concerns after midfielder Sergio Busquets recovered from the foot injury he suffered against Ireland last week – with Vicente del Bosque having one eye on the quarter-finals he could rest Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa and Fernando Torres, who are all one yellow card away from a match ban.

Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic missed his side’s training session on Saturday following a fever though he is expected to lead the attack once again after his impressive showing in this year’s tournament. Slaven Bilic’s only decision is whether to stick with his favoured midfield diamond or switch to the 4-2-3-1 formation that led to his side claiming a point against Italy.

Both teams have an impressive record in the European Championships, with Spain unbeaten in their last eight outings and Croatia unbeaten in six.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Spain v Croatia

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