The third round of fixtures marks this game for Croatia and Scotland do or die. Group D is still wide open with each team having qualification in the palms of their hands. Croatia managed to register a point after Ivan Perisic drew the Croats level through an absolute stunner. On the flipside of this fixture, Scotland have yet to register a goal, but have looked threatening in both of their previous outings. Let’s delve deeper into this all-important Euro 2020 Group D clash.
Euro 2020: Group D
Tuesday 22 June
Croatia pieced together a better performance in their last fixture. Yet again, in the first half the eagerness and confidence of the opposition seemed to get the better of the Croats.
However, an intelligent quickly taken free kick saw Perisic in on goal with a little bit of work to do before hitting the back of the net with a shot fired by fury. A single goal coupled with a single point sees Croatia very much in the running for a round of 16 qualification.
Zlatco Dalic made sure to make some rotations in the squad to avoid any suspensions, bringing in the experienced Dejan Lovren, and the Wolfsburg winger, Josip Brekalo, on for Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic in a formation change.
The swap from 4-3-3 in the England fixture to 4-2-3-1 in the last game saw Croatia creating more opportunities as well as having a freer flowing look in the final third.
The Scottish are a team of sheer determination and true grit, and they have put together two performances deserving of a result. Steve Clarke has rotated players and formation to leave no stone unturned in pursuit of a victory.
The addition of Kieran Tierney at left centre back and Billy Gilmour in the engine room saw an improved team overall. Clarke will be focusing on his forwards with Scotland being the only nation to not score, but his team sit fifth in attempts on goal overall.
Scotland are technically the away team, but play at Hampden Park in Scotland, where fans will be roaring on as the nation seeks their first ever qualification should they collect all three points.
Prediction: Scotland (19/10)
The business end of group stages are upon us, but do not rule out the passion that is rife in the camps of these nations. Croatia drew level to gain a point against the Czech’s and have improved ever so slightly from their first encounter.
We could argue the experience of the Croatians, but for me the legs of these individuals do not stand up to the ‘full steam ahead’ style of play the Scottish are bringing to the table.
The sturdiness in the midfield, plus a little more creativity with John McGinn further up, and the overlapping plays ever present from the full backs Scotland have looked good but lacked the finish touch.
The only other trick up Steve’s sleeve would have to be Newcastle United’s Ryan Fraser, who sits at 52/10 for those who have faith in the speed and clinical finishing of the winger.
Written by Joshua Gaillard