Italy vs. Croatia: Preview and Match Analysis

Italy vs. Croatia: Preview and Match Analysis

Italy vs. Croatia: Preview and Match Analysis
By Ashton Grewal
Covers.com

Odds: Italy +125, Draw +230, Croatia +240

Total: Over 2.5 (+140), Under 2.5 (-188)

About Italy:

FIFA world ranking:
No. 12

Recent matches: 2-0 win vs. Poland (11/11/11), 0-1 loss vs. Uruguay (11/15/11), 0-1 loss vs. USA, 0-3 loss to Russia (06/01/12), 1-1 draw vs. Spain (Match Day 1 Group C)

Italy played surprisingly well against Euro Cup fave Spain in its opening match. The Azzurri created numerous, quality scoring chances against the best possession team in the world.

The strong performance came as a big shock for those following Italy’s recent play. The Italians are dealing with another match-fixing scandal in their national club league (Serie A) and many thought Italy would be overcome by Spain’s tactical brilliance.

Striker Mario Balotelli showed flashes but squandered a great scoring chance. Veteran forward Antonio Di Natale potted his first chance as a late substitution but Italy coach Prandelli suggested he’ll most likely give Balotelli another start next to attacker Antonio Cassano.

The Azzurri have, in the past, played a conservative style but seemed comfortable moving forward against Spain. Will they continue playing aggressive or will they revert to old tendencies?

About Croatia:

FIFA world ranking:
No. 8

Recent results: 0-0 draw vs. Turkey (11/15/11), 1-3 loss vs. Sweden (02/29/12), 3-1 win vs. Estonia (03/25/12), 1-1 draw vs. Norway (06/02/12), 3-1 win vs. Ireland (Match Day 1, Group C)

Croatia is coming off an impressive 3-1 win over Ireland thanks in large part to its best player Luka Modric. The playmaking midfielder is a hot topic on the club transfer market, but he appears solely focused on helping his native country advice at the Euro Cup.

Modric has to get the better of Italy’s midfield for Croatia to collect three points in this match. Attackers Mario Mandzukic and Nikica Jelavic rely on Modric to feed them the ball in space.

Tactics and lineups

Italy uses the unconventional three-defender formation with holding midfielder Daniele De Rossi stationed as the center back.

Projected lineup: Buffon, Bonucci, De Rossi, Chiellini, Maggio, Motta, Pirlo, Marchisio, G’rini, Balotelli, Cassano.

Croatia lines up in a 4-4-2 with Rakitic and Perisic playing out wide.

Projected lineup: Pletikosa, Srna, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Strinic, Rakitic, Vukojevic, Modric, Perisic, Jelavic, Mandzukic

Prediction: Croatia 1, Italy 0

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