Preview: Croatia v Denmark
30 Jun 2018
- Croatia have made a better start than at France 1998, when they finished third
- Denmark have made the most of their few chances in front of goal
- Latest news: #CRODEN LIVE BLOG updating now
The second of the three all-European ties in the Round of 16 at Russia 2018 is a first in the history of the FIFA World Cup™. In their five previous meetings in friendlies and qualifiers, both sides have won two and drawn one.
The Vatreni have been one of the sensations of the tournament to date. Victorious in all three of their group games, they are the fourth highest-scoring side in the competition and have played some vibrant football at times, not least in the heavy defeat of Argentina. Expectations are running so high, in fact, that Luka Modric and Co are fancied to equal or even better the third place Croatia achieved at France 1998.
Denmark also have happy memories of that World Cup, where they reached the quarter-finals, the nation’s best ever performance. Though the Scandinavians will not start as favourites, they have shown an ability to make the absolute most of the few chances that come their way. Their tally of two goals is the lowest of the 16 teams left in the competition, while only three sides of the 32 that started Russia 2018 had fewer shots on goal in the group phase. They remain unbeaten, however, and are determined to cause an upset.
Team reporter analysis
Vjekoslav Paun with Croatia [Follow on Twitter | Facebook]
Zlatko Dalic sees this match as a genuine test of Croatia’s golden generation, who are full of belief after the defeat of Argentina. Dalic may well decide to go with the XI that started that match, which would indicate how pleased he was with that performance. The Vatreni always look to dictate the pace, with their front men quick to press opposition defenders. Following his impressive performance against Iceland, Milan Badelj could force his way into the starting line-up.
Svend Frandsen with Denmark [Follow on Twitter | Facebook]
While the Croats have been outstanding so far, the Danes have struggled to get their gameplan going. Yet with the odds solidly in Croatia’s favour, the Scandinavians – now unbeaten in 18 matches – are relishing their status as underdogs and are confident they can spring a surprise, especially with striker Yussuf Poulsen back from suspension.
Did you know?
It is no secret that Christian Eriksen is Denmark’s chief attacking threat. As well as providing the assist for his side’s goal in the 1-0 defeat of Peru, he also got on the scoresheet in the 1-1 draw with Australia. Just for good measure, he also covered 36 kilometres in the group phase matches, more than any other player in the competition.
Croatia: Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Ivan Rakitic, Milan Badelj; Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic; Mario Mandzukic
Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel; Jens Stryger Larsen, Andreas Christensen, Simon Kjaer, Henrik Dalsgaard; Lasse Schone, Thomas Delaney; Pione Sisto, Christian Eriksen, Yussuf Yurary Poulsen; Nicolai Jorgensen
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