Spain vs Croatia Predictions, Picks | Euro 2024 Match Preview

Spain vs Croatia Predictions, Picks | Euro 2024 Match Preview article feature image

Carsten Harz/Getty. Pictured: Fabian Ruiz

Spain vs Croatia Odds

Saturday, June 15
12 p.m. ET
Spain Odds-112
Croatia Odds+333
Over / Under
 +110 / -138
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Spain and Croatia meet again after Spain beat them in the round of 16 of the previous Euros.

Spain were incredibly dominant during qualifying winning seven of their eight matches and brings one of the most talent squads in Europe to this tournament. They are no longer under the management of Luis Enrique, as Luis de la Fuente has taken over. Spain are naturally one of the favorites with the amount of elite talent littered all over the squad, but it's been a while since they won a major international trophy.

Croatia have been one of the most difficult teams to play over the past three international tournaments. They made it all the way to the final of the 2018 World Cup, took Spain to extra time at the last Euros, and by sheer will made it the semifinals of the World Cup in 2022. The core though is getting old and this seemingly, their last chance at deep run, so they'll need a result here against Spain to give them a good shot at getting out of this difficult group.

Here is my Spain vs Croatia preview.


Spain are the most possession-dominant team in this entire tournament. They never held under 67% possession in all of their eight qualifying matches and that is not going to change here. Luis Enrique has moved on to manage PSG, which made way for Luis de la Fuente who has been managing Spain’s youth teams for over a decade, so the style of play from Spain is not going to change one bit.

While Spain are really good at controlling the ball, they really aren’t that good against solid defensive blocks. Against Scotland in qualifying, they kept trying to overload the middle of the pitch, but it didn’t work. The ball kept circulating side to side to try and create an opening, but the first meeting ended with them creating only 1.37 xG and taking only nine shots. Then they started to overload the wide areas in the second meeting and create chances via crosses, but they weren’t really successful at doing that either because they are 17th in the Euro field in cross completion rate.

Spain are a really good defensive team with their ability to counter-press opponents and win the ball back. They had the best PPDA in Euro qualifying, while also having the second-most high recoveries. They also are really good at defending crosses in their own end of the pitch. Even if Croatia is able to attacking them transitionally out wide, Spain allowed the fifth-lowest cross completion rate in qualifying.


Croatia are about as solid of a defensive team as there is in this tournament. They were incredibly difficult to play through in qualifying, allowing only 0.58 xG per 90 minutes. Really the only time teams had success with them is when they got into transition. Croatia’s midfield of Brozovic, Kovacic and Modric will all zonal mark while the rest of the defense goes man to man. That is incredibly difficult to play through because it’s almost impossible to pull them out of position centrally and create overloads anywhere on the pitch.

Spain will counter-press and leave themselves vulnerable in transition moments, but Croatia have one of the lowest direct speeds in this tournament. They are incredibly ineffective in the final third against good defensive teams. They averaged well over two expected goals per 90 minutes throughout qualifying, but that was mainly because of the 10.9 expected goals they created in their four matches against Armenia and Latvia.

Spain vs Croatia


The pace of this match is going to be incredibly slow, which is going to lead to a low-event type of match.

Spain are going to control a large share of the possession, but that doesn't mean they are going to be effective with it. As was the case against Scotland in qualifying, they struggle to build up through good solid compact defensive blocks, which is exactly what Croatia are. Since Spain simply does not play in transition at all and strictly builds up, they cannot exploit Croatia’s main weakness.

The flip side though is to beat Spain, you have to be able to attacking them in transition with a lot of pace, which is exactly what Croatia don't have. Plus, all of their issues in the final third and building through pressure make it really hard to see how they are going to create high quality chances against Spain.

I only have 1.92 goals projected for this match, so I like the value on the under.

Pick: Under 2.5 (-135 via BetMGM)

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