Croatia vs.Denmark Preview

Group D winners, Croatia, take on Denmark, the runners-up of Group C, in what promises to be an exciting last 16 tie

Image: Pixabay
Croatia will be heading into this game as unanimous favourites. Unsurprisingly so, when considering they won all of their group games, finishing on top with 9 points, They were initially marked as 'outsiders' before the start of the World Cup but have increased and earned their status as 'the dark horses' of the competition. From dominating in their 2-0 win against Nigeria to producing an absolute masterclass in their emphatic 3-0 win over Argentina and then finishing the first round of fixtures by beating Iceland 2-1, Croatia are a serious force to be reckoned with.

What is most encouraging about the performance of the Croatians over the duration of these three games has been their game management. The strength in-depth and qualify of their squad was on display for all to see. Their opening fixture, against Nigeria, started tentatively as expected though Croatia grew into the game once they went a goal up following the Nigerian own goal. Relying on your so-called 'bigger players' has been an important facet of this World Cup; which is why Modric's 71st minute penalty was exemplary of Croatia's most pivotal player stepping up. As captain, he marshalled his fellow players to victory.

Winning the first game is always important for momentum. Croatia, having done so, could afford to slip up against one of the tournament favourites, Argentina, in their second game. Luka Modric carried his form from the previous game into this, scoring an absolutely superb strike in the 80th minute to make it 2-0 after Rebic capitalised on Willy Caballero's mistakes and scored in the 53rd minute. Modric, who was named 'Man of the Match', alongside his Real Madrid compatriots, Kroos (Germany), Isco (Spain) and Ronaldo (Portugal), all produced top performances for their countries thus proving why Madrid won the Champions League this year. A dominant Croatian display or a simply catastrophic Argentinian team? Either way, this 3-0 result, with Ivan Rakitic scoring the third, allowed Croatia to qualify for the last 16.


Image: Sporting News

Having already secured qualification, Croatia were in a comfortable position whereby they could rest the majority of their first team players and give others the chance to stake a claim for the next round. A dominant and game managed display against Nigeria was matched by a resounding victory against Argentina. Croatia took the lead against Iceland in the 53rd minute and seemed to be cruising. However, they were pegged back courtesy of a Gylfi Sigurðsson penalty in the 76th minute. Therefore, Croatia needed to be resilient and find a way to win. They could have settled for a draw as they were already through, but their winning mentality was on full display. In the 90th minute, Ivan Perisic found the winner and Croatia finished as Group D winners on top with 9 points.

Denmark on the other hand have not endured as smooth a journey. In Group C, they were drawn alongside one of the tournament favourites, France. Also in the group were Peru and Australia.




TEAM SELECTION

Croatia are likely to bring back their core players: Lovren, Rakitic and Mandzukic, all of whom were rested against Iceland.

Goal
Subasic

Defence
Lovren
Vida
Strinic

Midfield
Brozovic
Rakitic
Rebic
Modric

Forward
Perisic
Mandzukic



Goal
Schmeichel

Defence
Kjaer
Jorgensen
Christensen
Dalsgaard

Midfield
Kvist
Delaney
Eriksen
Braithwaite

Forward
Poulsen
Sisto



PREDICTION

Croatia vs. Denmark promises to be an exciting encounter whereby the teams are not overwhelmingly unbalanced. However, Croatia's performances thus far and their current form should see them safely through to the quarter-finals. We're going for a 2-0 win to Croatia!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Manchester United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Preview

Young Boys vs Manchester United Preview

Man United v Sheffield United: Match Preview

Young Boys vs Manchester United Player Ratings

Young Boys vs Manchester United Match Analysis

Manchester United vs Derby County Preview

Manchester United vs Wolves Match Analysis and Player ratings

Watford vs Manchester United Player Ratings

Watford vs Manchester United Preview

Diogo Dalot, the right man to replace Luke Shaw against Watford