At the Croatia hotel in Rovinj, the small fishing town where they are concentrated, the news that they will face Spain in the round of 16 fell like a bomb. Poland’s draw, with two goals from Lewandowski in just 20 minutes, gave them hope. Sweden happened to be his rival. However, Claesson’s goal in discount once again changed the picture for the Croats: they face La Roja next Monday in Copenhagen.
Zlatko Dalic, the Croatian coach, was very sincere in assessing the pairing: “We have the toughest opponent in this part of the competition. It was much easier to face Sweden, but that’s what it is … Spain showed its quality against Slovakia. It is a young, fast, energetic team. They base their game on high pressure, a lot of combination and finding free spaces to exploit their speed. We have to be at a very good level, although we have our qualities and it won’t be easy for them. “
The coach knows this Spain of Luis Enrique, because they met twice in the League of Nations. In the first match, in September 2018, Spain achieved a 6-0 with an exhibition, but in the second it was the Croats who prevailed (3-2) just two months later. “We can play against them, we showed it in the second game of the Nations League, although now it is a completely different team, full of young players.”
Dalic analyzed the role of Spain so far in the tournament: “In the first two games they tied, although they were better than their rivals and created many chances. We will have to be very attentive to the high pressure they carry out. We want to have the ball, because it will be very complicated if we only defend ourselves. We must attack them and impose our style of play. “