Our prediction for this Euro 2024 match:
Croatia play host to Latvia at Stadion HNK Rijeka in what is expected to be a one-way game. The Vatreni are seen as hot favourites to win this match, but they will have to prove their worth on the field. A man to keep an eye on in the home team will be Man City summer signing Mateo Kovacic, who scored a brace in a 2-0 win over Turkey, while Hajduk Split striker Marko Livaja has been omitted. Both Luka Modric and Marcelo Brozovic made the cut.
The Latvians, on the other hand, are on a four-game losing run in all competitions and given their shaky defence, we predict that the Croats are going to win Friday’s clash without any difficulties. In their last meeting in a competitive match Croatia defeated Latvia 2-0, which is yet another reason why home win should be considered. Latvia midfielder Eduards Emsis is back from suspension.
Highlighted Player (Luka Modric):
Luka Modric is regarded as one of the best central midfielders in world football. The Croatian ace is a product of Dinamo Zagreb’s youth school and it has to be noted that he played 94 league games for the Modri between 2003 and 2008. In 2008 he signed a six-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £16.5 million.
Luka made his Tottenham debut on 16 August, 2008 in a 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough at Riverside Stadium. The Croatian star scored only 13 goals in 127 league appearances for the Spurs, but he is well known for his brilliant passing. In 2012 he signed for Real Madrid for a fee of £30 million and he made his debut against Barcelona in the 2012 Spanish Super Cup, return leg.
Modric quickly established himself as a first-team regular and, no doubt, he helped the capital club win two Champions League trophies (2013/2014, 2015/2016). You should bear in mind that he was named Croatian Footballer of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Highlighted Team (Latvia):
Latvia is yet another former Soviet republic. The Latvian footballers played for the Soviet Union national team until 1992 and they have been playing for Latvia ever since. The Sarkanbaltsarkanie (Red-white-red) did remarkably well to qualify for the Euro 2004 finals, but they failed to impress at the showpiece tournament in Portugal.
Latvia kicked off their Euro 2004 campaign with a 2-1 loss to Czech Republic and they managed to hold Germany to a goalless draw in their second group game. The former Soviet republic suffered a 3-0 loss to Netherlands in their last game in Group D and, as a result, they did not make it to the knockout stages of the European Championship finals.
Latvia suffered their biggest defeat on May 29, 1927 when they were beaten by Sweden 12-0 in Stockholm. Speaking of their biggest victory, the Latvians outclassed Lithuania 5-0 on two occasions. The Latvian national football team play their home games at Skonto stadium in Riga and the capacity of the venues is 9.500.