UEFA Nations League Group A4 preview: Croatia v Spain – Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb – November 15, 2018 – 19:45 BST
Croatia v Spain Tips:
5 or More Goals in the Game Now 7/1 from 13/2 at 10bet odds
Bookmaker odds correct as of 05/11/2018 and subject to change.
Stunned by a magnificent performance from England back at home in Sevilla a month ago, a circumspect Spanish side visit Zagreb for a Group 4 UEFA Nations League outing against Croatia on Thursday.
Despite being stung by the 2-3 October defeat to the Three Lions, the Spaniards have been dominant in the Group 4 with 6 points to their name and an almost assured progress to the next stage of the UNL. They have 2 wins out of their 3 Group games that include a win against England at the Wembley in September followed by a 6-0 thrashing of Croatia that same month.
La Roja coach Luis Enrique, for starters, has called up Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba apart from newbies Pablo Fornals, Brais Mendez and Mario Hermoso.
Real Madrid right back Dani Carvajal, central mid-fielder Thiago Alcantara and striker Diego Costa have been ruled out owing to injuries.
Other major omissions for the November 15 Zagreb showdown are Nacho Fernandez, Raul Albiol, Marc Bartra, Marcos Alonso, Koke and Paco Alcacer.
Returning from injuries will be Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez, Real Sociedad's Diego Llorente, Real Madrid and Barcelona mid-fielders Isco and Sergi Roberto.
Iago Aspas of Celta Vigo and Rodrigo of Valencia will land with the strikers' roles and backed-up by a powerhouse mid-field that has names like Sergio Busquets, Marco Asensio and Isco in it.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Sergio Ramos, Inigo Martinez and Mario Hermoso should bring up the rear with David De Gea as the No.1 goalkeeping choice.
For Croatia, it's a must win situation having garnered just a solitary point form their three Group games so far.
The 2018 World Cup runners-up, still licking the wounds of 0-6 drubbing at the hands of their forthcoming opponents have a impressive side line-up for Thursday's clash and riding on a home turf advantage, will be expected to put up a much improved performance.
Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic will probably include almost all the names that featured in the World Cup finals and go for a 4-3-3 formation with Marko Pjaca, Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric forming the attacking trio upfront.
Usual suspects Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Rakitic will marshall a mid-field considered to be among the strongest in the game while the defense will comprise of Sime Vrsaljko, DejanLovren, Domagoj Vida and Josip Pivaric.
One could expect the hosts to be belligerent and attack from the word go given that they are staring at a potential relegation and have no option left.
Only goals will help Croatia's cause. The one thing that may work in their favour, apart from partisan crowd, will be that the visitors might take it a bit easy having being almost assured of a berth in the next stage of the competition.
Bookmakers though are wagering on an easy win for the Spaniards at 10/11 (William Hill), 5/2 for a draw (Betfair) and 27/10 for a Croatia win (Bet365). Odds correct as of 13/11/2018 and are subject to change.
A bet on a drawn game could be worth taking.