Croatia v Spain Betting Tips & Predictions – Thursday 15th November 2018

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Previous Match Tips

Spain will be declared winners of their Nations League group if they are able to get past Croatia this Thursday. Their reward will be a place in the semi-finals of this new competition, where they will take on one of the other League A champions. Although it’s not the most prestigious tournament around, Luis Enrique won’t pass up the chance for some early silverware in charge of La Roja.

England fans will be keeping a keen eye on this clash, hoping that Croatia can do them a favour despite being hammered by Spain last time they met. If the Balkans nations can avoid defeat this time, the Three Lions will be perfectly poised to go top of the table after Sunday’s group finale. Spain are the clear favourites both on the night and to win the group but can the World Cup finalists upset the odds and help the Three Lions out?

Top Tips

Spain to win @ 21/20

Spain to win with -1 handicap @ 11/4

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

Croatia News: Dalic rushes to Modric defence

Stadion Maksimir in Croatia
Suradnik13, Wikimedia Commons

It’s fair to say that Luka Modric has not hit the ground running following his exhausting World Cup experience. He’s regularly been the metronome of the Real Madrid midfield but this season his shortcomings have partly been responsible for the demise of former boss Julen Lopetegui.

Aware that one of his star midfielders has been under fire from all angles, Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic stepped in to come to the 33-year-old’s defence. He said that the midfielder remains the best player in the world and that Real Madrid always points the blame at foreign players during defeat.

Spain News: Enrique gives Alba a chance

Spanish Football Fans at Match
Antonio Zugaldia, flickr

Despite being a highly regard left back, Jordi Alba has found himself left out of the Spain squad during the last two international breaks. Luis Enrique, his former club manager, had insisted he had no issues with the Barcelona defender and instead cited ‘sporting reasons’ for his absence.

Having had a change of heart since and not, according to Enrique, due to public pressure, Alba is back among the squad. The news was been met with delight among the La Roja faithful who will be hopeful that he can claim his 67th cap this Thursday.

Midfield duo out injured

Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara and Atletico Madrid’s Koke have both been omitted from the Spain squad due to injuries. Thiago has featured in all three Nations League matches so far and was handed a starting role during La Roja’s last game. It’s expected the midfielder will be out for several weeks with an ankle ligament tear sustained in the DFB Pokal. As for his compatriot, Koke, the Atletico midfielder is still struggling with a muscular issue that developed late last month.

Analysis: Spain set to wrap up Group 4 title

Due to their inferior away goal record versus England, a draw is not enough for Spain to clinch a group title on Thursday night. Enrique and his men must instead secure all three points but they will be confident of doing so after hammering Croatia last time they met. La Roja only have a couple of absences so expect them to be strong in Zagreb against a nation that has not shone since the end of the Wold Cup and is probably still suffering something of a hangover following their defeat to France in the final.

Croatia lacking form men

For such a small country, Croatia has plenty of talented players to choose from. Some of their most influential men however have been unable to impress at club level this season for a variety of reasons.

Dejan Lovren’s campaign has been plagued by injuries, Luka Modric has struggled for form and Ivan Perisic is over two months without a goal. It should come as no surprise that the Vatreni have been unable to reach their World Cup level in more recent matches. Their goalless draw with England and slender win over Jordan, a nation ranked 112th in the world, do little to suggest they can stop Spain winning this match and at odds the right side of evens (21/20) we think the away team are top value here.

Spain better than England defeat suggests

During the last international break, Spain lost their first match on home soil in 15 years. A poor opening half an hour was their undoing as England’s rapid attack ruthlessly punished them. Having had 73% possession and 24 shots on goal though, La Roja can consider themselves unlucky to have been on the losing end of the 3-2 scoreline. Aside from this game, Spain have impressed under Luis Enrique, convincingly dispatching both Wales and Croatia, rekindling some of their old magic in the process. Another convincing display from them would be no surprise so a -1 handicap win is worth a pop at an 11/4 price.

Recent Matches

Croatia may have reached the World Cup final just two months earlier but that didn’t stop them being absolutely humiliated by Spain when the two nations last met. Contests between the two nations are not usually this one-sided however so expect a more competitive affair on Thursday night.

12th Jun 2010: Spain 6 – 0 Croatia

A truly stunning display from Spain saw them crush a Croatian side who barely knew what hit them. La Roja played with flair and confidence as they recorded their biggest win since the 8-0 thrashing of Liechtenstein a year earlier. It was the perfect message for Luis Enrique’s men to send out after an underwhelming World Cup campaign, a declaration that Spain were back in business.

21st June 2016: Croatia 2 – 1 Spain

The battle for top spot in Group D of Euro 2016 went the way of Croatia in what was an enthralling encounter. Spain took the lead when Alvaro Morata tapped in but Croatia responded strongly, exposing some weaknesses in the Spanish rearguard. Ivan Perisic set up Nikola Kalinic to equalise and the creator turned scorer with three minutes left to play, lashing in past David de Gea.

18th Jun 2012: Croatia 0 – 1 Spain

A win for Croatia would have seen them reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 at the expense of Spain who just needed a draw to progress. The Vatreni threatened just that for much of the game, coming close to scoring the opening goal on several occasions. Cesc Fabregas was brought on to try shift the momentum and the Barcelona midfielder’s introduction proved vital. His precise passing exposed tiring Croatian legs and played a huge part in the goal three minutes from time that put the game to bed.

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