Croatia, the runner-ups of the World Cup 2018 start their Nations League campaign with a game against Spain. Both teams have plenty of top-class players in their squads, so we’re guaranteed to watch a big battle at the Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero in Elche on Tuesday evening. After all, that’s the whole point of this new format – best European teams take on the best. And this means that this game is very attractive to bettors. If you need any help with choosing the right betting tip, make sure to read this Spain vs Croatia match preview!
It’s fair to say that Spain were kinda disappointing at the World Cup 2018 earlier this summer. They got kicked out by the host team, Russia, after losing on penalties in the Round of 16. Some may say that penalties are always a lottery, but Spain are to be blamed for not turning their chances into goals in the regular time. The score in the 90 minutes was 1:1, but the goal for Spain was an own-goal of Russia’s Ignashevic.
That said, if they failed to score against Russia, imagine how difficult it’s gonna be to score against Croatia. The only good thing about this is that this match is played in Spain. But, on the other hand, the venue is the Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero, a 36k-seater in Elche. So, the support from the stands may not be too extreme.
Of course, all of this doesn’t mean that Spain don’t have a good squad. They have some really fantastic players in their team. Perhaps the only thing they were lacking was proper leadership. Many believe that the reason why they failed to go far at the World Cup was the turmoil that happened a few days before the tournament, when Lopetegui got sacked.
But now, everything seems to be in order. Their new manager is Luis Enrique, who used to be in charge of Barcelona.
There’s no doubt that Croatia are a fantastic team, but to be completely frank, they had a lot of luck to get to the final of the World Cup. A relatively easy road to the final plus the enthusiasm of their players resulted in Croatia winning the silver.
But, I doubt they will remain at the top for too long. Their key men are getting older. For example, Luka Modric, the best player of the World Cup 2018, has just turned 33. But, he’s still in the team and has no plans to retire. And the same goes for a few other 30+ players.
However, some key Croatia men will miss this match, most notably Mario Mandzukic. The reason why he’s not in the team is that he wanted to stay with his Juventus teammates, particularly Ronaldo, to practice attacking moves.
Kepa – Ramos, Alcantara, Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso – Busquets, Isco, Asensio, Saul – Aspas, Morata
Kalinic – Lovren, Vida, Vrsaljko, Pivaric – Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric – Perisic, Rebic, Santini
Spain vs Croatia Match Prediction
Spain are favorites in this game for a reason – they’re a better team. This may sound strange, considering Croatia’s World Cup performance, but I think Spain will beat them. Of course, it’s not going to be easy. We’re going to see a big battle in the midfield, but I’m certain Spain will come out as the winners.
Spain vs Croatia Betting Tips
- Spain @1.72 (Unibet)