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Preview: Croatia v Belgium, Germany v Spain

Belgium will try to end Croatia's run of 524 minutes without conceding a goal in the first of Friday's quarter-finals, before Spain play a Germany team "getting stronger and stronger".

Croatia's Branimir Kalaica tussles with Spain midfielder Carles Pérez during their Group A meeting
Croatia's Branimir Kalaica tussles with Spain midfielder Carles Pérez during their Group A meeting ©LAP.bg


Croatia v Belgium (15.00CET, Burgas)
• Dario Bašić rested four first-choice players for already-qualified Croatia's 0-0 draw with Spain on Tuesday, when they kept their sixth successive clean sheet in the 2014/15 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. With everyone fit and available, he is looking forward to pitting his wits against Bob Browaeys's "wonderful" Belgium side. "The higher the level of your opponents the more you raise your game, so these matches are great to play in – they make players and coaches better," he told UEFA.com.

Highlights: Croatia 0-0 Spain

"I've seen all of Belgium's three games and in the first half against Germany [a 2-0 defeat] they were the better team; they would have beaten them if they'd taken their chances. Belgium have some excellent players, such as Ismail Azzaoui and the two lads in midfield, Alper Ademoglu and Orel Mangala."

• By reaching the quarter-finals, Browaeys says Belgium have realised their initial goal. "That was the target for us: to play at least five games in the tournament. We're very happy. It's very important for the development of the team. We want to go to the [FIFA U-17] World Cup or to the semi-finals, but the team needs these high-level games because they can learn a lot of things." Croatia, he believes, are the favourites for the tie. "They are a very strong team," he said. "It will be a tough battle, but you never know how it will go. We will be fighting to achieve our next objective."

Germany v Spain (18.00, Stara Zagora)
• Christian Wück hopes it is a case of third-time lucky against Spain this season. "We played them in October and lost twice [1-0 and 2-0], so we're very happy to face them again because we want to right the wrongs from those matches," said the Germany coach.

Highlights: Germany 4-0 Czech Republic

Germany did not concede a goal in a perfect group stage. Gökhan Gül was part of that stoic defence, though he will miss out after injuring his left ankle against the Czech Republic on Tuesday. At the other end, captain Felix Passlack has impressively led the way, scoring three times. "It is not only Felix's goals," explained Wück. "As captain, he is very important for the team, both on the field and in the hotel. His will to win is excellent and for the other players that is so important."

• Germany have "got stronger and stronger" since those October friendlies in Nerja and Ronda, according to Spain coach Santi Denia. "They have got players in every position who are impressive, but if I had to highlight somebody then it would be their captain and the No10 [Niklas Schmidt]. In general terms they have a complete team. Germany have been getting better defensively, but we will be staying true to our style and will be looking to cause them problems, find their weak spots and create opportunities."

England v Russia (16.00, Burgas) – Eurosport 2
France v Italy (19.00, Stara Zagora) – Eurosport 1