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Preview: Czech Republic v Croatia

Darijo Srna returns from his father's funeral to captain Croatia as they seek a second win to reach the round of 16 while there "will be changes" for the Czech Republic from their loss to Spain.

Preview: Czech Republic v Croatia
Preview: Czech Republic v Croatia ©Getty Images
  • Group D rivals the Czech Republic and Croatia meet for the first time competitively
  • The Czechs suffered a late 1-0 loss to Spain on Monday; Croatia beat Turkey 1-0
  • Darijo Srna to captain Croatia despite the death of his father after the Turkey game
  • Croatia definitely qualify for the round of 16 with a victory
  • Also in Group D: Spain v Turkey (21.00CET Friday, Nice)

Possible line-ups

Czech Republic: Čech; Kadeřábek, Sivok, Hubník, Gebre Selassie; Darida, Plašil; Dočkal, Rosický, Krejčí; Necid.
Yellow card away from suspension: Limberský

Croatia: Subašić; Srna, Ćorluka, Vida, Strinić; Badelj, Modrić; Brozović, Rakitić, Perišić; Mandžukić.
Yellow card away from suspension: Strinić

Čech: Spain's quality proved too much
Čech: Spain's quality proved too much

Pavel Vrba, Czech Republic coach
Croatia are a little like Spain, because there are players from Real Madrid and Barcelona. Most of the team play abroad, so they will be very strong opponents. I think that our group is probably one of the most difficult in this European Championship.

I have to say that by having [Theodor Gebre Selassie] in defence we have shown that we had to think a lot about our defence for the match against Spain. This time we will think more about forwards, so there will certainly be some changes.

Ante Čačić, Croatia coach
The biggest quality of the Czech Republic is that they are a real team and [Tomáš] Rosický is their most important player. All their opponents need to think about him and it's the same with us.

Darijo Srna is in good condition and he will lead the team tomorrow. All the players who played against Turkey are in excellent condition. Everything that's happened to us recently will only galvanise us, we've already regrouped. Just recently we heard that the husband of our chief accountant suiffered a stroke.

The Czech Republic need points against us, but I expect my players to have the same approach they had against Turkey. The Czech Republic are not weaker than Turkey, they played a decent match against Spain and they are coming into this game in good spirits. But Croatia need to go for a victory in every match and it will be the same tomorrow.

Perišić: This is the best Croatian team in years
Perišić: This is the best Croatian team in years

UEFA.com team reporters
Ondřej Zlámal, Czech Republic (@UEFAcomOndrejZ)
The opening match hurt the Czech team, but Vrba still has a fully fit squad and is going to field a more attacking line-up for this must-win game. Bořek Dočkal is an option on the right wing, while Marek Suchý may play in central defence after serving a suspension. Rosický, meanwhile, will definitely be pushed higher up the pitch.

Elvir Islamović, Croatia (@UEFAcomElvirI)
For Čačić, a repeat of the display against Turkey would be very welcome. Will he choose the same XI? Public opinion would suggest he should, but it may not be Čačić's way; in his eight matches in charge of Croatia – and his 41 at the Dinamo Zagreb helm – he never sent the same XI onto the pitch twice in a row. He may elect to keep the style and formation intact but refresh the personnel.

Form guide (all games, most recent first)
Czech Republic: LLWWDLLWWL

Did you know?
This is Croatia's fifth EURO – they have missed out only once since independence, at UEFA EURO 2000, and this is their fourth successive finals. They have twice reached the last eight and twice bowed out at the group stage. Find out more in our extensive match background.

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