Friday, July 12, 2024

Prediction: Croatia vs Italy

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 11/5

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

With all eyes falling on the Red Bull Arena on Monday night, Italy will travel to Leipzig when they meet Croatia.

Croatia

Starting with Croatia, while the Blazers might have sprung an almighty World Cup upset out in Qatar 18 months ago as they clinched a famous bronze medal finish, Zlatko Dalic’s camp have drastically struggled to find any kind of stability this time around. Suffering last-gasp heartbreak at the hands on Albania on Wednesday afternoon as they eventually had to settle for a 2-2 stalemate in Hamburg, Croatia know that nothing less than three points will be enough to keep their fading knockout stage dreams alive. Opening their EURO 24 adventure with a nightmare performance on June 15th as they slumped to a 3-0 drumming at the hands of Spain, Dalic’s side have shown some recent defensive issues. Shipping five goals in their first two Group B appearances, the Blazers have mustered just a single clean sheet from any of their last five matchups across all competitions.

Team News

While veteran midfielder Luka Modric might now be 38 years old and featured in both of Croatia’s first two Group B appearances, the former Ballon d’Or winner will lead out the Blazers on Monday night and earn a 178th international cap in Leipzig. Crowned Europa League champions with Atalanta last month, 29-year-old Mario Pasalic could be handed a full recall.

Opening his EURO 24 account against Albania and recording 15 goals with German outfit Hoffenheim last season, one-time Leicester misfit Andrej Kramaric will spearhead Croatia’s charge in the final third.

Italy

As for Italy, although the Azzurri might have opened their EURO 24 adventure with a crucial 2-1 victory against Albania, the defending European champions would have been frustrated by a toothless performance last time out. Eventually falling to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Spain at the Veltins Arena, Luciano Spalletti’s men will know the importance of making an immediate response here. However, still sat firmly in the driving seat to follow La Roja out of Group B this summer, the former Napoli boss could have a minor headache over his side’s recent attacking issues. Failing to make any kind of dent in Spain’s defence last week, Italy have failed to notch more than a single strike in three of their previous four appearances across all competitions. It should also be highlighted, the Azzurri have remarkably failed to win any of their eight historic showdowns against Croatia.

Team News

While Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori might have unfortunately turned into his own net against Spain on Thursday night, the 22-year-old will once again partner Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni at the back. Linked with a potential big-money move to Premier League giants Liverpool this summer, Juventus star Federico Chiesa will join Gianluca Scamacca in the final third.

Although Roma’s Bryan Cristante might have not featured from the start in either of Italy’s first two Group B appearances, the 29-year-old could replace Jorginho at the heart of the Azzurri’s midfield and join Nicolo Barella.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When Croatia and Italy last met back in June 2015 while in European Championship qualifying action, Monday’s opponents played out a 1-1 stalemate.
    • In fact, all of the last three meetings between Croatia and Italy have finished with a 1-1 scoreline.
    • Including shipping five goals in their first two EURO 24 appearances, the Blazers have managed to muster just a single clean sheet in any of their last six outings.
    • Italy have managed to record more than a single strike in just one of their previous four appearances across all competitions.
    • Six of the previous seven meetings between Croatia and Italy have finished with under 2.5 goals.

    Conclusion

    In what is a major must-win showdown on Monday night, we could be treated to a nail-biting affair from the Red Bull Arena. With Croatia and Italy playing out a 1-1 stalemate when they last met back in June 2015 while in European qualifying action, both camps face what is a sumo-defining showdown in Leipzig. However, it should be noted, with all of the previous three historic meetings between the two Group B rivals finishing in a 1-1 draw, we are expecting a similar outcome here.

    Verdict: Draw 

    Best Odds: 11/5

    Bookmaker: Olympusbet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
    Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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