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Spain vs Croatia Tips

Spain vs Croatia Predictions and Betting Tips: Cagey clash in prospect

Three-time European champions Spain begin their quest for glory against the team they knocked out at the last-16 stage three years ago.

Spain vs Croatia Betting Tips

  • Draw @ 12/5 with bet365
  • Under 2.5 Goals @ 8/11 with bet365
  • Under 4.5 Match Offsides @ 8/13 with bet365

All odds are courtesy of bet365, correct at the time of publishing and subject to change.

Nations League rematch could be another cagey affair

Spain should have learned not to peak too early in tournaments after what happened at the last World Cup following their 7-0 win over Costa Rica in their opening game.

La Roja famously won the World Cup after losing their first match in 2010 and their victory in this event two years later began with a 1-1 draw against Italy.

Luis de la Fuente’s side are brimming with confidence after a Nations League triumph last summer, a smooth qualifying campaign and a run of recent friendly wins.

They pipped the Croats to that Nations League title, winning 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in Rotterdam and another close game will probably ensue here.

Of the 33 total attempts on goal the teams shared in the 120 minutes, only six were on target and Croatia produced five of those, so it may be best to swerve the Spanish to win this group clash.

The Croats are on a six-match unbeaten run and have lost only one of their last five meetings with Spain in 90 minutes, which suggests a draw might be the likeliest outcome again.

Spain vs Croatia Tip 1: Draw @ 12/5 with bet365

Croatian defence improved after reshuffle

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has moved with the times and switched Josko Gvardiol, the team’s best central defender at the last World Cup, to play at left-back.

He could go with the more experienced Domogoj Vida alongside Josip Sutalo, but Marin Pongracic did well there in last week’s 2-1 friendly win over Portugal and deserves to keep his place.

Croatia’s defenders are much better at beating their opponents’ press now and that could cause Spain to retreat into midfield here, also lessening the chances that Dalic’s side will be caught on the counter-attack.

Croatia are still not the sort of team that are going to tear anyone apart with an avalanche of goals because they lack a world-class centre-forward.

But they know it and are set up to stay in matches and nick goals where they can through a bit of Luka Modric magic or a set-piece.

Fewer than three goals were scored in six of Croatia’s eight qualifiers and that trend looks likely to continue in this clash against a side who were not able to find a way past their defence in 120 minutes around one year ago.

Spain vs Croatia Tip 2: Under 2.5 Goals @ 8/11 with bet365

Offsides are on the slide

One interesting stat to come out of the last European Championship finals was the general decrease in offside calls, particularly in the group stages.

There was an average of 3.1 offsides per game recorded at Euro 2020, which was an 18% drop from the previous tournament in France and followed a general declining trend since 2004.

One theory went that the introduction of Video Assistant Referee technology has stopped attackers, some of whom made a career of operating inches offside, from trying to gain an advantage because it is now pointless.

When these sides met in 2023 there were only four offsides recorded in 120 minutes, so there is a decent chance that there will be fewer than five when they play half an hour less on Saturday evening.

Spain vs Croatia Tip 3: Under 4.5 Match Offsides @ 8/13 with bet365