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Preview: Croatia v Spain

Croatia require a draw in Bordeaux to be certain of joining Spain in the last 16, but must overcome the setback of Friday's dropped points as well as a Spanish team with a winning habit.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque addresses the media on Monday
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque addresses the media on Monday ©Getty Images
  • Croatia, on four points, need a draw to be sure of joining Spain, on six, in the last 16
  • If defeated, Croatia can still be overtaken by the Czech Republic for second place
  • Spain will win the group with a draw; Croatia would overtake them with victory
  • The holders edged a 1-0 group stage success over Croatia at UEFA EURO 2012
  • Croatia's sole win against Spain was a 2-0 friendly triumph in 1994
  • Luka Modrić is ruled out for Croatia

Possible line-ups
Croatia: Subašić; Srna, Ćorluka, Vida, Strinić; Brozović, Badelj; Pjaca, Rakitić, Perišić; Mandžukić.
Doubtful: Mandžukić
Modrić (thigh) 
Misses next match if booked: Badelj, Brozović, Strinić, Vida

Spain: De Gea; Bellerín, Piqué, San José, Alba; Busquets; Pedro, Thiago, Iniesta, Nolito; Morata.
Misses next match if booked: Ramos

Coach quotes
Ante Čačić, Croatia
This is the game that decides who will be first in our group. We are up against a quality side, the double European champions, a team full of quality, of players from Barcelona and Real Madrid. A team that know the game and take their chances. They have been playing big games like these for years.

In some ways we have to have an eye on what is coming up in the knockout stage, so we will use this game as preparation for that. We deserve to get to the next round, as do Spain. The group was really tough. We threw away victory against the Czech Republic, but this match now will help define how Croatia do from here onwards.

Del Bosque says we're playing the best football in the group? I haven't heard that but it's a big compliment coming from one of the best coaches of one of the best national teams.

Vicente del Bosque, Spain
I don't know if it's ideal to rest players right now. The players have got some rhythm going and it could be counterproductive to change things. Andrés Iniesta is doing great work going forward. He is in great shape and doing really well.

EURO 2012 highlights: Croatia 0-1 Spain
EURO 2012 highlights: Croatia 0-1 Spain

Luka Modrić is one of Croatia's best players and has been excellent for Real Madrid. Generallly speaking, though, Croatia are a really well-organised outfit. We are going to try to beat them and we will pick what we think are the 11 best players at this moment in time. Bear in mind that Croatia are possibly one of the best teams we have seen at the tournament so far.

UEFA.com team reporters
Elvir Islamović, Croatia (@UEFAcomElvirI)
It will not be easy for Croatia's players to recover after the shocking ending against the Czech Republic. The players have to forget all that before they kick off against Spain and try to regain the level they had in the first 70 minutes on Friday. It was really great to watch. However, it could turn out to be a very difficult task and they will need to do it without their injured leader Modrić. They are all dreaming about victory but would be delighted with a draw.

Morata on Spain reaching last 16
Morata on Spain reaching last 16

Graham Hunter, Spain (@BumperGraham)
Spain could only be in better shape if they had a scintilla more sunshine on their often breezy and chilly Atlantic island retreat. Otherwise it's all smiles in the Casa de Champions – everyone's fit and a handful of players are going to get their best game time of the tournament. Del Bosque has that much-loved dilemma that he really could play an alternative XI and be confident of them being fully competitive. Media claims that it would be nice to give Iker Casillas a final tournament appearance and his 168th cap seem wishful. NB: To anyone unclear on the matter, Spain absolutely want to win this match.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)

Did you know?
In the countries' only previous competitive fixture, Spain overcame Croatia 1-0 in their final group game at UEFA EURO 2012 through Jesús Navas's 88th-minute strike, the holders advancing at their opponents' expense. All four of the teams' previous meetings had been friendlies. Find out more in our extensive match background.

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