Euro 2024 Betting Preview: Spain vs. Croatia Odds, Props & Analysis

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Spain vs. Croatia Euro Odds, Props & Expert Analysis

Confident Spain aims to outclass talented Croatian team

Spain will look to capture an opening win against Croatia when these two European heavyweights face off at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on June 15. La Roja produced a stirring performance to beat Croatia in the Round of 16 at the last European Championship. That game finished 3-3 after 90 minutes, but goals from Álvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal in extra time powered Spain to victory.

The teams renewed hostilities in the 2023 UEFA Nations League final. Once again, they could not be separated in 90 minutes, but Spain won the subsequent penalty shootout and lifted the trophy. Croatia’s players will have a chance for revenge when they meet on Matchday 1 at Euro 2024, but Spain heads into this game as the clear favorite in Euro betting lines.

Spain might have to keep Modric quiet to win this game

Spain’s Euro squad boasts arguably the best midfield in world soccer, featuring Manchester City superstar Rodri and Barcelona playmaker Pedri. However, they could have their work cut out against Croatia’s Luka Modrić, Marcelo Brozović, and Mateo Kovačić.

Modrić is the beating heart of this Croatian team. He has the quality to unlock most defenses in the world, and Spain will not want to give him too much space in which to wreak havoc. If Rodri can get the better of Modrić in the midfield battle, Spain will likely have a greater chance of winning this game.

Croatia could rely on rapid counterattacks 

Spain is likely to dominate possession in this game. Croatia’s players may be content to sit back, soak up pressure, and spring rapid counterattacks whenever they turn over the ball. That proved to be a winning formula when Croatia defied the 2022 World Cup odds to clinch a third-place finish.

Modrić has the ability to play inch-perfect through balls, and it will then be down to the forwards to be incisive in possession and efficient in front of goal. Ivan Perišić is back from injury, which should provide the team with penetration on the left flank, and Bruno Petković is a decent striker, so Croatia has the necessary ingredients to hurt Spain on the counterattack.

Spain vs. Croatia odds & lines

Spain vs. Croatia player props

Spain expected starting 11

Unai Simón could start in goal for Spain in this game, although he faces competition from Arsenal’s David Raya. Robin Le Normand could partner Aymeric Laporte at the heart of the defense, with Dani Carvajal at right-back. José Gaya is injured, so Álex Grimaldo could fill in at left-back. Pau Cubarsí was a contender for the starting XI, but he was surprisingly cut from the roster when the manager unveiled his final 26-man Spain squad on June 7.

Rodri will anchor the team at midfield. Pedri is also likely to start, leaving Martín Zubimendi, Mikel Merino, and Fabián Ruiz to fight for the other place. Captain Álvaro Morata will spearhead the attack. Sixteen-year-old sensation Lamine Yamal is also likely to feature in the starting lineup, so Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal, and Ferran Torres may be fighting for the remaining spot in the attacking triumvirate.

Croatia expected starting 11

Dominik Livaković will start in goal. Josko Gvardiol has often played at center-back for Croatia, but he has excelled at left-back for Manchester City, so he may end up in that role at the Euros. Bayer Leverkusen’s Josip Stanišić is a strong right-back, and we could see Josip Šutalo partner either Martin Erlić or Domagoj Vida in the center.

Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, and Marcelo Brožović will form a world-class midfield for Croatia. Bruno Petković is likely to start up front, with Andrej Kramarić on the right and Ivan Perišić on the left.

Photo by Associated Press