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Croatia Euro 2024 squad, predicted line-up versus Spain, latest odds and star players

THE usual suspects remain the key men for Croatia… as they have been over a decade.

A clutch of players have either more or close to 100 caps for the Balkan side.

Croatia have a very experienced squad[/caption]

Those include defender Domagoj Vida, midfielders Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic, former Leicester striker Andrej Kramaric and, of course, captain Luka Modric.

Another, Ivan Perisic, is doing his best to be fit after suffering a complex anterior cruciate ligament injury at his former club Tottenham in September.

Impressive boss Zlatko Dalic has been along for most of the ride too, having taken them to a World Cup final and third-placed finish since taking over in 2017.

A lack of young blood – barring Manchester City defender Josko Gvardiol – could cost them though.

Manager: Zlatko Dalic

Considered a national treasure for his brilliant tournament performances, he spent much of his club career in Croatia, Albania and the Middle East.

Dalic finished second to England in the Euro 2020 group stage but lost to Spain in the last 16.

Performances on the biggest stage have kept Dalic in the job but a tricky group means he has his work cut out this time.

Zlatko Dalic has been manager of Croatia since 2017[/caption]

Key man: Luka Modric

The 2018 Ballon D’Or winner may no longer be an automatic starter for Real Madrid, but he is for his country and is on 174 caps.

Just don’t tell the 38-year-old it’s coming home.

Luka Modric gets involved all over the field

Likely line-up

Croatia have an extremely settled line-up with plenty of tournament experience.

The midfield three bring bags of quality and creative spark.

A solid – if unspectacular back four – is not blessed with pace, meaning Josip Stanisic and Josip Juranovic will be tasked with not leaving the centre-backs exposed.

Kramaric will lead the line and look to get on the end of crosses from Perisic – if fit – and Mario Pasalic.

How Croatia could line up at the Euros

How they attack

While Croatia have been fantastic in recent World Cups, they have been less impressive in the Euros.

They come into this tournament playing 4-3-3 and their midfield of Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic is one of the most experienced and technically gifted in the world.

In the attacking phase of the game, at least two of those players sit deep to help Croatia to progress the ball through pressure.

Against Wales, Modric and Kovacic dropped into deeper positions to form a two at the base of the midfield

As they move the ball into the opposition half, the three central midfielders help Croatia attack with the two wide forwards making movements into the channels or even into the central areas.

This will then, in turn, create space wide that they can play into and exploit.

Against Armenia, Croatia have narrowed the pitch and can spread to a full-back overlapping

With a quick switch of play into the wide areas, they are then able to attack into space.

As the Croats attack to the last line and look for ways to break into the opposition penalty area, the midfield is again key.

Croatia will play with a target man looking to receive the ball and link play with the midfielders.

As striker Bruno Petkovic takes a pass, Lovro Majer’s run from deep allows Croatia to break through the last line and into the penalty area

How they defend

Although Croatia will play in a 4-3-3 this summer, the way that they press sees them move into more of a 4-4-2 with one of the midfielders or wide attackers typically released to work higher along with the striker.

They will then be positioned in two lines of four behind this initial press and will be difficult to play around or through.

A second player joins the striker in the press with two banks of four behind them

Dalic’s side can be extremely aggressive against the ball but they tend to only react in this manner when the opposition are in possession when there has been a clear trigger.

If an opponent takes a poor touch or plays a poor pass then the Croatians, led again by the midfield, will counter press and be aggressive.

Here, the Welsh player has taken a poor touch and immediately we see the Croatian press collapse around the ball as they look for an opportunity to quickly regain possession

This fluid approach out of possession for Croatia will translate to a higher press if the opposition take a poor touch or make a mistake when they are building the attack.

The game intelligence and experience throughout the Croatian squad is key in these situations as they understand when to hold a deeper block and when to jump and press high.

As the Turkish player takes a poor touch in build-up, we immediately see Croatia squeeze the opposition in and look to regain possession


Croatia find themselves in the group of death – with Spain, Italy and Albania.

If they can come out on top, they would face one of the best third-place teams in the last 16 and likely have to go through Germany in the quarter-finals.

Spain and the Netherlands are also in that half of the draw, while England could lie in wait in the final – a repeat of the 2018 World Cup semi.

If they finish second, Hungary and Switzerland are potential last-16 draws, with England, France and Belgium all littering a tough route to the final.


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Latest odds

There are a group of six teams being favoured by the bookies, including England, Spain and Belgium.

Croatia are just outside that core with odds of 40/1 at William Hill.


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