Our match prediction:
Czech Republic were on the verge of sharing the spoils with Spain in the opening match of their Euro 2016 campaign, but Barcelona defender Gerard Pique eventually scored the winner for La Roja in the Stadium Municipal clash. As a result, The Czechs need to grab something from Friday’s football game against Croatia if they are to keep their hopes of making it to the last 16 alive, but beating Ante Cacic’s troops is easier said than done. The Vatreni recorded a routine 1-0 win over Turkey in their opener and you should bear in mind that the Croats missed several clear-cut chances to double their lead. Luka Modric scored a wonder goal against Turkey and we predict that the Real Madrid ace is going to make life difficult for the opposition defenders on Friday. Taking everything into account, Croatia should record yet another hard-fought win in the Euro 2016 group stages.
Highligted Player (Gebre Selassie):
Born to Ethiopian father and Czech mother, Theodor Gebre Selassie was the first ever player of African descent to represent the Czech Republic national team when he was handed his debut back in 2011. The right-sided defender has since done well to nail down a regular starting berth and went on to play at the Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 finals. Gebre Selassie represented the likes of Vysocina Jihlava, Velke Mezirici, Slavia Prague and Slovan Liberec, before the solid showing at the 2012 European Championship helped him earn a move to Werder Bremen. The right back has performed well at the Weserstadion, but he eventually lost his place in the Czech Republic starting XI, making just three appearances during the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. However, having amassed over 30 appearances for the national team with a proud history, he can be quite satisfied with how his international career has panned out so far, while there is still time to further raise his stock.
Highlighted Team (Croatia):
While the national football team of Croatia also played international matches between 1940 and 1944, they only resumed their duties in 1990 after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia. Vatreni enjoyed a remarkable start on the international stage, winning the third place on their first ever World Cup appearance in France in 1998, while crashing out in the group stage at the 2002, 2006 and 2014 tournaments. Croatia also reached the quarter-finals at the 1996 and 2008 European Championships, proving they are rightly considered one of Europe’s top sides at the start of the 21st century. Long-serving captain Darijo Srna is their most capped player with over 130 appearances for the national team, whereas former Real Madrid striker Davor Suker is one of their most famous players and top scorer with 45 goals. Other notable footballers to have played for Croatia include Luka Modric, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic. Miroslav Blazevic and Slaven Bilic are the coaches that have been behind team’s biggest success stories up to date.