We look ahead to this Group B clash at Euro 2024 in Berlin with our Spain vs Croatia prediction and preview.

Spain vs Croatia Stats: The Key Insights

  • The Opta supercomputer makes Spain favourites for Saturday’s game, giving them a 50% chance of victory against Croatia.
  • Spain have had the most possession in each of their last 136 competitive games, since beating Germany in the Euro 2008 final.
  • Three of the last five meetings between Spain and Croatia have had at least five goals. The most recent – a 5-3 extra-time win for La Roja at Euro 2020 – is the second-highest scoring game in Euros history, after Yugoslavia 5-4 France in 1960.

No international tournament is complete without a ‘group of death’. Euro 2024 may have two, with France and the Netherlands looking to fend off a challenge from Austria in Group D, while heavyweights Spain, Croatia and Italy battle it out in Group B.

It’s Spain and Croatia who get the latter pool under way on Saturday, facing off in what should be an intriguing tussle at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.

La Roja are the only team to win back-to-back editions of the Euros, achieving that feat in 2008 and 2012, yet they have only won two knockout ties across five major tournaments since.

At Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup, Spain won plenty of admirers for their patient, possession-based style, with the likes of Gavi and Pedri emerging as new and exciting talents.

However, their approach did not win them enough matches. They scraped past Switzerland on penalties in the quarter-finals at Euro 2020 before going out to Italy on spot-kicks in the semis. Bold rearguard action from Morocco dumped them out in the first knockout round in Qatar after a shock defeat to Japan almost sent them packing in the group stage.

Their patient approach is nothing new. Spain have had more possession than their opponents in each of their past 136 competitive games, last seeing less of the ball when they beat Germany with 46% of possession in the Euro 2008 final. One member of their Euro 2024 squad, Lamine Yamal, wasn’t even a year old when that game took place.

Luis de la Fuente will not stray too far from Spain’s identity, despite Gavi missing the tournament due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury. The key to their success will be adding punch to their patient build-up play, and wide duo Yamal and Nico Williams could hold the key in that regard.

Williams (second, 191) and Yamal (fourth, 141) both ranked among the top four players for dribbles attempted in La Liga this season, also ranking third and fifth respectively for carries ending in a take-on (Williams 97, Yamal 82).

Athletic Club’s Williams has six goal involvements (two goals, four assists) in 13 senior appearances for Spain, while Yamal will become the youngest player in Euros history if he features. Few nations boast a pair of wingers as exciting.

Spain did, of course, overcome Croatia both at Euro 2020 and in the final of the 2022-23 Nations League. While they have previous against Saturday’s opponents, they will have to be wary of the threat posed by Zlatko Dalic’s men.

Control is also the name of the game for Croatia, yet many would argue they do it with a level of savviness that deserted La Roja long ago.

At the 2022 World Cup, only Spain (135) recorded more sequences of 10+ passes than Croatia, with Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic pulling the strings in midfield.

It was not everyone’s cup of tea as Croatia relied on the penalty shootout heroics of goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic in their two knockout triumphs over Japan and Brazil.

Despite playing the full seven games, they only ranked seventh in the tournament for expected goals, with their 7.05 xG more than five fewer than Brazil, who managed 12.08 xG in five games.

But it was not simply a case of Croatia playing keep-ball until they could show their nerve from the spot. Dalic’s team led everyone at the tournament for high turnovers (59), shots from high turnovers (10) and pressed sequences (109).

Difficult to beat and comfortable in transition and in possession, Croatia deserve their reputation as tournament specialists. Spain will underestimate them at their peril.

Spain vs Croatia Head-to-Head

There will certainly be plenty of familiarity between these two sides. Indeed, Spain and Croatia are facing each other at a fourth successive edition of the Euros.

That has only previously occurred on one occasion, with Spain and Italy meeting at four straight European Championships between 2008 and 2020. They will, of course, also do battle at a fifth successive tournament when they square off in Gelsenkirchen on 20 June.

Spain have won two of their previous three encounters with Croatia (5-3 at Euro 2020, 1-0 at Euro 2012), while they were beaten 2-1 at Euro 2016.

If recent history is anything to go by, an entertaining affair could be in the offing. 

Three of the last five meetings between Spain and Croatia have contained at least five goals, and the most recent – a 5-3 extra-time win for Spain three years ago – is the second-highest scoring game in Euros history, after France 4-5 Yugoslavia in 1960.

Spain vs Croatia Prediction

The Opta supercomputer makes Spain favourites for this one, but their win percentage of 50% suggests the outcome is far from a foregone conclusion.

Croatia were victorious in 24% of match simulations conducted by the supercomputer, with 26% ending level and potentially handing the initiative in the group to Italy.

The supercomputer makes Spain Group B favourites with a 47.3% chance of finishing top of the pool, to Croatia’s 18%, Italy’s 29% and Albania’s 5.6%.

Spain vs Croatia Squads


Álex Remiro, David Raya, Unai Simón, Álex Grimaldo, Aymeric Laporte, Dani Carvajal, Dani Vivian, Jesús Navas, Marc Cucurella, Nacho, Robin Le Normand, Álex Baena, Fabián Ruiz, Fermín López, Martín Zubimendi, Mikel Merino, Pedri, Rodri, Álvaro Morata, Ayoze Pérez, Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres, Joselu, Lamine Yamal, Mikel Oyarzabal, Nico Williams.

Head coach: Luis de la Fuente


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

Spain vs Croatia Predicted Lineups

Spain Predicted Lineup vs Croatia
Croatia Predicted Lineup vs Spain

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