Croatia vs Spain predictions for Sunday’s Nations League final at De Kuip in Rotterdam. Can the Croats make history by winning their first-ever international title? Read on for all our free predictions and betting tips.
Match Live Sunday, 18th June at 7:45 pm In:
Croatia vs Spain Predictions
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– Spain’s ball possession is significantly higher at 69.7% compared to Croatia’s 52%.
– Andrej Kramaric, with his five goals in the last three games, has emerged as Croatia’s go-to striker, while Gavi’s impressive form for Spain, contributing four assists and two goals, promises to be pivotal in the finale.
The finale of the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League is poised to be a fascinating showdown in Rotterdam, as Croatia and Spain, two teams with significant reputations, go head to head. Croatia, an ambitious side yet to clinch an international accolade, will take on the Spanish, a team yearning to resurrect their former glory days.
Croatia: The Quest for International Honour
In their semi-final, the Croatians spectacularly crushed the Netherlands 4-2, even while playing on their rival’s home turf at De Kuip. Despite the Dutch opening the scoreline with Donyell Malen’s strike, they could not resist Croatia’s onslaught led by Andrej Kramaric and Mario Pasalic. Croatia then delivered a decisive performance in the extra-time, outclassing their opponents with goals from Bruno Petkovic and Luka Modric.
Croatia’s golden generation, under the experienced leadership of Luka Modric, has shown immense resilience and strength. From scoring at least twice in their last three Nations League games to winning their last three games that went into extra time or penalties, their fighting spirit has been commendable.
However, Croatia’s defensive line hasn’t been flawless, as evident from their inability to keep a clean sheet. A matter of concern could be their dependency on finding a second wind past the 90-minute mark, which could turn costly if Spain manages to maintain their initial pressure.
Spain: The Pursuit of Former Glories
The Spanish side, on the other hand, narrowly clinched a victory over Italy in their semi-final fixture. Head coach Luis de la Fuente was elated with his team’s performance. His recently revamped team had managed to pressure Italy, forcing Leonardo Bonucci to make a fatal mistake, providing Yeremy Pino with an opportunity to score. Though Italy managed to equalise, Spain showed their resilience in the dying minutes, with Joselu securing the ticket to the final.
Spain, however, have seen a rough patch in recent times. They’ve been inconsistent, as shown by their surprising defeat to Scotland in the Euro 2024 qualifying. But despite the transition phase, Spain have demonstrated impressive determination. De la Fuente, with his success record at the U19 and U21 levels, will look to replicate similar results in this tournament.
Their attacking style, combined with Croatia’s potentially porous defence, could see both teams scoring, adding to the anticipated drama of the showdown.
Key Players to Watch
Luka Modric (Croatia): The 37-year-old midfielder has remained Croatia’s key player despite his age. Modric’s vision, passing, and clutch factor could make him the game-changer, particularly in the final third, where his creativity will be needed to break Spain’s possession-focused play.
Gavi (Spain): The young Barcelona midfielder has been a revelation in this tournament. His passing, agility, and goal-scoring prowess have been vital for Spain. His performance in the final could be the key determinant in Spain’s quest for victory.
Croatia: They will need to maintain a solid defensive line and look to exploit Spain’s relatively inexperienced backline with swift counter-attacks. Utilising the scoring prowess of Andrej Kramaric will be essential.
Spain: They need to leverage their superior ball possession to create significant scoring chances. Spain will also look to apply high pressure to exploit Croatia’s somewhat fragile defence. Gavi’s role will be crucial in setting the tempo and creating opportunities.
The Final Showdown
The stage is set for a titanic clash between Croatia’s resilient spirit and Spain’s search for a new golden era. Both teams have been tested and have shown grit, promising a tantalising final match. However, based on the recent performances and historical data, we predict Gavi to play a significant role in Spain’s strategy, aiding Spain to secure a victory in the 90 minutes.
Gavi, Spain’s young midfield sensation, has been making waves in the tournament with his exceptional playmaking skills and technical brilliance. His vision on the field and ability to make precise passes could be crucial in breaking down Croatia’s defence. If this prediction comes true, it will mean Gavi has delivered a decisive pass leading to a goal.
Spain’s victory in this prediction will likely be driven by their potent attacking force. Their strikers and wingers have displayed lethal finishing skills throughout the tournament. With the service from midfield maestros like Gavi, the forwards should be able to capitalise on the chances created. Additionally, Spain’s high-pressing game and aggressive possession-based football style may keep Croatia pinned back, limiting their attacking opportunities.
When it comes to predicting the correct score, I suggest to back Spain to narrowly edge this final for 2-1.
Spain are likely to concede at some point to Croatia’s counter-attacks and set pieces, which have been dangerous throughout the tournament. But, on the other hand, they do have what it takes to score at least twice with their potent combination play in the final third. The Spanish team is known for their intricate passing and movement off the ball, which often unlock stubborn defences.
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