Our match prediction:
All eyes will be on Stade Matmut-Atlantique in Bordeaux when Croatia and Spain take on each other in the Group D derby. The Croats were on the verge of beating Czech Republic in their second group game, but they eventually dropped a two-goal advantage and shared the spoils with Pavel Vrba’s troops. Croatia need one point from their final group game in order to clinch their spot in the knockout stages and considering that La Roja will cement top position in Group D with one point from Tuesday’s football match, share of spoils appears on the horizon. Vicente Del Bosque’s men have already booked their place in the last 16 and we would not be surprised if the experienced tactician decides to rest his key players against Croatia. Anyhow, both teams will be happy with one point from the game and we predict that they will play out a low-scoring draw in Bordeaux.
Highligted Player (Mandzukic):
Mario Mandzukic is one of Croatia’s most famous footballers, who was born in Slavonski Brod on 21 May 1986. The striker arrived to Dinamo Zagreb in 2007 via Marsonia and NK Zagreb, and that was when his meteoric rise began. After proving his worth on domestic stage, Mandzukic secured a move to VFL Wolfsburg, with three years in Bundesliga proving enough to get a call from European powerhouses Bayern Munich. The experienced striker won back to back Bundesliga titles at Allianz Arena, scoring 33 goals in 54 league outings, before he was sold to Atletico Madrid. The Croatia hotshot had mixed success in Spanish La Liga and eventually decided to join Juventus, where he also failed to impress during his debut season, but scored some important goals as the Bianconeri won fifth straight league trophy. Mandzukic has been a member of the Croatia national team since 2007 and he represented the country at the Euro 2012, 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 finals. Usually operating as a target man, the striker boasts a very good goalscoring record, but he does not always take his chances.
Highlighted Team (Spain):
Historically, Spain have been regarded as one of top sides on international stage, but they often struggled to live up to the billing. After reaching the semi-finals at the 1950 World Cup, La Furia Roja won the European Championship trophy on home soil in 1964, but little did they know that it would remain their only trophy for another 44 years. Following some disappointing showings, Spain finally returned to the biggest stage under Vicente Del Bosque, winning three straight trophies between 2008 and 2012, before crashing out in the group stage at the 2014 World Cup. La Furia Roja enjoyed plenty of success with their tiki-taka style of play, originally designed by Barcelona, with Vicente Del Bosque’s side packed with technically skilled players such as Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and David Silva. Strikers Fernando Torres and David Villa also had a major role to play in those successes, but when it comes to their famous predecessors, the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano, Michel, Emilio Butrageno, Raul Gonzalez, Fernando Morientes and Fernando Hierro should not be forgotten.