Spain v Croatia: line-ups, coaches' views, form guide
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
The World Cup runners-up start League A against the three-time European champions.
Article top media content
- Spain defeated England 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday
- Croatia drew 1-1 in friendly v Portugal on Thursday
- Croatia's first competitive game since World Cup final
- UEFA Nations League: all you need to know
- UEFA Nations League calendar: all the fixtures
Spain: De Gea; Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Alonso; Busquets, Saúl, Alcántara; Isco, Rodrigo, Asensio
Croatia: Kalinić; Vrsaljko, Mitrović, Vida, Pivarić; Modrić, Brozović, Rakitić; Pjaca, Livaja, Perišić
Reporter's view: Graham Hunter (@BumperGraham)
What an entirely different proposition this test is for Luis Enrique' fledgling Spain era than England at Wembley. His mantra is that his teams must press, win possession, dominate the ball and attack fluently – all far more difficult against a technically gifted, confident side like the World Cup finalists. It will be interesting to see whether a coach who rotated his Barça side for 19 consecutive Liga matches in his debut seasons freshens this XI with possible starts for Sergi Roberto and Álvaro Morata.
Luis Enrique, Spain coach
We will attack from the start. We'll try to have the ball, generate more chances than our opponents, press as high as possible. We need to dominate the important phases of play, that's our plan. We will be aggressive in that sense. We have the power to evolve our model, I am convinced we will do it. We will see how effective we are, but the objective is to evolve and stop being predictable.
Zlatko Dalić, Croatia coach
This is not a must-win match for us, but a good result would keep our mood positive and it's much nicer when you win. That's why we want to win every match, but we are playing against a Spain team which didn't meet their expectations at the World Cup and are highly motivated now. It will be a tough match, so I think a draw would be good for us as well. Croatia are the World Cup runners-up and all teams will be motivated against us – and we have to be aware of that.
2018 World Cup
Qualifying – 1st in Group G (W9 D1 L0)
Final tournament – round of 16 (W1 D3 L0)
Last five matches (most recent first): WDDWD
2018 World Cup
Qualifying – 2nd in Group I (W6 D2 L2), beat Greece 4-1agg in play-offs
Final tournament – runners-up (W4 D2 L1)
Last five matches (most recent first): DLWDD