Spain U21 vs Croatia U21 Predictions & Match Preview
Soccer Euro Under 21 Championship - Group Stage
⚽ 24 June 2023 - 18:45 GMT +0
Tournament favourites Spain lived up to their billing in the opening game of their UEFA European Under-21 Championship campaign as they cruised to a 3-0 win over co-hosts Romania. Santi Denia’s men bossed that contest, facing just one shot on target while enjoying 79% possession in a hugely impressive performance that sets them up to qualify for the quarter-finals should they beat Croatia here.
La Rojita will take some stopping in this competition, as they’ve lost just one of their last 35 matches (W29, D5), with the most recent 15 games in that sequence seeing them go unbeaten (W13, D2). The sole defeat came in the semi-finals of the 2021 Euros against Portugal, so Spain will be determined to go one better on this occasion and then lift the trophy for the fourth time in the last seven editions of this competition.
There’ll be much less positivity in the Croatian ranks, as a 2-0 defeat to Ukraine on matchday one left them facing an uphill battle to progress from the group stage. The Young Blazers fired 22 shots in that loss, but only hit three on target as their Euros campaign got off to a dire start and left them staring down the barrel of a second elimination at this phase in three such tournaments.
Croatia will be on their way home if they lose here and Ukraine avoid defeat against Romania, and recent history is hardly in their favour given that Spain knocked them out of the 2021 Euros in the quarter-finals. Dragan Skočić’s side do at least have some encouraging pre-tournament form to fall back on having avoided defeat in four matches prior to their Ukraine loss (W2, D2), but the odds are stacked against them recovering here.
📋 Players to watch: Manchester City full-back Sergio Gómez enjoys more attacking freedom for the Spain under-21 side, scoring and assisting in their 3-0 win over Romania after netting six times in seven qualifiers. Croatia needs to find their creative spark, and attacking midfielder Martin Baturina could hold the key following a stellar season for Dinamo Zagreb that saw him assist 12 goals.
⚡ Hot stat: Spain has lost just one group game at the under-21 Euros since their 2009 defeat to England (W14, D2).
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