Having both suffered defeat in their Euro 2024 openers, we look ahead to Wednesday’s Group B meeting with our Croatia vs Albania prediction and preview.

Croatia vs Albania Stats: The Key Insights

  • Croatia are big favourites for this one, defeating Albania in 63.2% of the Opta supercomputer pre-match simulations.
  • Albania’s loss against Italy on Matchday 1 was their first competitive defeat since March 2023, ending a seven-game unbeaten run in such fixtures (W4 D3).
  • Croatia have lost three of their last five competitive games, as many defeats as in their previous 29.

After both suffered defeats in their respective Group B openers, Croatia and Albania will be hoping for a response when they meet in Hamburg for Wednesday’s Euro 2024 clash.

Zlatko Dalic’s side were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Spain before Albania fell to a 2-1 loss against Italy later on Saturday, despite Nedim Bajrami’s opener after 23 seconds breaking the record for the fastest goal in European Championship history.

Bajrami has either scored or assisted in each of his last three national team appearances (2 goals, 2 assists), though his record-breaking finish marked Albania’s only shot on target in the narrow defeat to Italy.

Sylvinho’s side saw their early celebrations turn to disappointment as Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolò Barella scored to condemn Albania to their first competitive defeat since March 2023 (1-0 v Poland). That ended a seven-game unbeaten run in such fixtures (W4 D3) for the Group B underdogs.

They have also lost three of their four total matches at the UEFA European Championship, with their sole win coming against Romania in 2016.

It is not all bad news, though, given Albania haven’t lost back-to-back games in competitive action since September 2022, in consecutive UEFA Nations League defeats against Israel.

They have also already scored as many goals (1) at Euro 2024 as they managed in their only previous appearance in the competition in 2016 (1 in 3 games).

Croatia were beaten more convincingly in their opener as Álvaro Morata, Fabián Ruiz and Dani Carvajal did the damage for Spain on MD1, with Bruno Petkovic seeing a late strike ruled out after his penalty was saved by Unai Simón. Ivan Perisic teed up the striker for the rebounded finish but had encroached in the build-up.

Dalic was far from impressed with Petkovic taking the penalty, too, suggesting Perisic or Lovro Majer should have seized responsibility as the striker jumped the hierarchical queue before fluffing his lines.

That Berlin defeat means Croatia have now lost three of their last five competitive matches (W2), going down against Turkey (1-0), Wales (2-1) and Spain (3-0) in this run. This is as many losses as Dalic’s side had suffered across their previous 29 games in competitive action combined (W16 D10).

Yet the underlying numbers and canny experience of their veteran midfield suggest a response may come on Wednesday at Volksparkstadion.

Croatia had 16 shots and posted an expected goals (xG) total of 2.38 against Spain, who capitalised when their chances came despite losing out on the possession front for a rare occasion. Indeed, this was their highest xG in a game at a major tournament (World Cup/Euros) in which they didn’t manage to score.

Spain v Croatia xG race FT

In more positive omens for the 2018 World Cup finalists, Dalic’s team haven’t lost consecutive games at the same major tournament since Euro 1996 (3-0 vs Portugal and 2-1 vs Germany).

Croatia will likely be looking to Marcelo Brozovic and Luka Modric to turn things around against Albania and revive their chances of escaping the ‘Group of Death’.

Despite only playing 65 minutes against Spain, Modric made the most line-breaking passes of any player in the match (13). The Real Madrid midfielder also became the fourth oldest to play in the competition, at 38 years and 280 days old, when starting against La Roja.

Across the last three major tournaments (Euro 2020, World Cup 2022 and Euro 2024), Kovacic has completed more dribbles (26) and created more chances (14) than any other player for Croatia.

Eliminated at the first knockout stage in their last two Euros appearances, Dalic will be desperate for that pair to help to salvage Croatia’s hopes – otherwise another early exit could be on the cards.

Croatia vs Albania Head-to-Head

This will be the first-ever encounter between Croatia and Albania in any competition, though recent history suggests Dalic’s side will celebrate victory come the full-time whistle on Wednesday.

Albania have won just one of their last 10 matches when facing a nation for the very first time (D5 L4), beating Faroe Islands 3-1 in June 2023.

That will be music to the ears of a Croatia side that have four wins from their last six matches in all competitions as Dalic’s team hope to kick-start their Group B hopes.

Croatia vs Albania Prediction

Croatia vs Albania Prediction

Albania are not given much hope by the Opta supercomputer as Sylvinho’s side triumphed in just 15.8% of 10,000 pre-match simulations.

Croatia are the strong favourites in Hamburg, winning a dominant 63.2% of data-led sims to get three points on the board in Group B.

A draw would only further damage Croatia’s top-two hopes, with that result forecast in 21.0% of the supercomputer’s sims.

Croatia vs Albania Squads


Dominik Livakovic, Ivica Ivusic, Nediljko Labrovic, Borna Sosa, Domagoj Vida, Josip Juranovic, Josip Stanisic, Josip Sutalo, Josko Gvardiol, Marin Pongracic, Martin Erlic, Lovro Majer, Luka Ivanusec, Luka Modric, Luka Sucic, Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Pasalic, Martin Baturina, Mateo Kovacic, Nikola Vlasic, Andrej Kramaric, Ante Budimir, Bruno Petkovic, Ivan Perisic, Marco Pasalic, Marko Pjaca.

Head coach: Zlatko Dalic


Elhan Kastrati, Etrit Berisha, Thomas Strakosha, Ardian Ismajli, Arlind Ajeti, Berat Djimsiti, Elseid Hysaj, Enea Mihaj, Iván Balliu, Marash Kumbulla, Mario Mitaj, Naser Aliji, Amir Abrashi, Ernest Muçi, Klaus Gjasula, Kristjan Asllani, Medon Berisha, Nedim Bajrami, Qazim Laçi, Ylber Ramadani, Arbër Hoxha, Armando Broja, Jasir Asani, Mirlind Daku, Rey Manaj, Taulant Seferi.

Head coach: Sylvinho

Croatia vs Albania Predicted Lineups

Croatia Predicted Lineup vs Albania
Albania Predicted Lineup vs Croatia

Croatia vs Albania Key Players

Opta Points is a quantitative player metric for football that scores a player’s contribution at the game and season levels. Based on each sides’ opening fixtures, here are their top-performing players at Euro 2024 so far:

Josip Sutalo (23.8)
Josip Stanisic (19.4)
Marin Pongracic (17.4)

Mario Mitaj (22.6)
Nedim Bajrami (17.4)
Kristjan Asllani (14.2)

With the launch of Opta Max for Euro 2024, you can predict the Player of the Match in four featured games each round and earn points for your predictions. The points can then earn you big cash prizes. Sign up to play for free.

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