Croatia v Spain preview

Preview for Monday evening's Euro 2012 Group C clash between Croatia and Spain in Gdansk (kick-off 7.45pm BST).

Last Updated: 18/06/12 at 22:47

Xavi: Wary of Croatia

Xavi: Wary of Croatia

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

Spain midfielder Xavi expects a very open game of football when the defending champions take on Croatia in Gdansk in a pivotal Group C game.

Both sides are two points clear of Italy, who face the Republic of Ireland in the other pool game.

The Irish have already been eliminated after two defeats.

"I think it is going to be a beautiful game for the fans and for the players," the Barcelona midfielder said.

"They will have to go all out and so will we.

"We depend on ourselves to qualify and we will try to win and be first of our group.

"However, Croatia are very good, they have a fantastic team, with great individual talent.

"I don't expect an easy game."

There are fears amongst Italian fans that the encounter could end in a 2-2 draw, a result that would see Croatia join Spain in the next round at the expense of the Azzurri.

"Absolutely not," Xavi said.

"We only know how to play attacking football so a draw would not suit us.

"We will go out determined to hold possession, to move the ball and to go forward.

"This is our style of game and the one that made us European and world champions.

"Our aim is always to go out for victory and against Croatia it will be no exception.

"We will play to get three points from the first minute until the last."

Spain, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Italy in their group opener, already displayed that attacking flair in a 4-0 triumph over Ireland on Thursday.

"We have the same hunger that we had in Euro 2008 and at the 2010 World Cup," Xavi said.

"We are among the favourites and we have the possibility to make history and win another Euro title.

"But we know that only through hard work and humility that will be possible."

Fernando Torres is set to lead Spain's attack for the second consecutive game with the Chelsea striker having scored twice against Ireland.

Rivals Croatia face Spain for the first time in a major competition and coach Slaven Bilic knows his side will have to step up their game.

The Croats beat Ireland before holding Italy to a 1-1 draw on Thursday.

"We will need to play the best game of our lives," said Bilic, whose side hope to reach the quarter-finals of the competition for the second straight time.

"We must be concentrated for 90 minutes.

"We have to work as a team and we are going to have to take our chances."

Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric will play in support of striker Mario Mandzukic, who is the joint-top scorer of the competition with three goals.

Spain will be at full strength with midfielder Sergio Busquets having recovered from a minor foot injury.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Fixtures

There are no fixtures at present.

European Championships

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Czech Rep 3 -1 6
2 Greece 3 0 4
3 Russia 3 2 4
4 Poland 3 -1 2

Updated Wed, 20 Jun 2012

Footer 365

Government reveal plans aimed at making it easier for fans to run football clubs

The Government has revealed plans to establish a group of experts aimed at making it easier for fans to run football clubs.

Louis van Gaal felt individual errors spoiled a good display from Manchester United in draw at West Brom

Louis van Gaal felt that Manchester United produced their 'best match of the season', despite the 2-2 draw at West Brom.

Premier League: QPR forward Adel Taarabt criticises Harry Redknapp over claims he is unfit

QPR forward Adel Taarabt has hit back at manager Harry Redknapp over claims that he is overweight and unfit to play.

Mail Box

Reimbursing Fans? How Patronising...

It's something of a return to form for the mailbox with mails on Southampton (Liverpool fans are cynical), the gorgeous Graziano Pelle, Arsenal, Spurs and more...

Let's Face It, Liverpool Were Utter Dross

It's a reactive Monday morning Mailbox. Liverpool fans are getting pretty sodding worried, whilst we have the latest on the Southampton CRISIS. Plus, well done Michael Oliver...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property