PHOTO: ANTE ČIZMIĆ Cropix

CROATIA IS IN THE GROUP WITH ANCIENT EXPERTS

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The group draw for EURO 2024 was held in Hamburg from 18:00

A year ago we were singing the praises of Joško Gvardiol defensive interventions, and Croatia again booked its place in one of the big competitions. In Hamburg, Croatia found out about their opponents at EURO 2024. By the way, Hamburg, along with nine other German cities, will host the national teams that have secured an appearance at the European championship.

The upcoming tournament will host 24 national teams, just like in 2016 and 2021. All the national teams were divided into four “pots”, and from there they were placed in six groups. Croatia started from the third “pot”, with Holland, Scotland, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Croatia was threatened by many strong teams from other “pots”.

We put together the ideal group for Croatia, but also the most difficult one, and we also put into the game a group in which they would be with national teams with which it has a rivalry. In the end, Croatia got the group it belongs to. The Croatian national team can play with anyone, including those teams that are the main favorites to win EURO 2024.

The playoff winners will also come to EURO 2024. Poland, Wales, Finland, and Estonia are in Playoff A. Playoff B features Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, and Iceland, while Playoff C features Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan, and Luxembourg.

Croatia has a group with difficult opponents

Croatia won one of the toughest groups, as well as opponents from EURO 2012. Spain and Italy are the toughest opponents for Croatia to play. For the first time, they will play with Albania. Only they are unknown, but we know Italy and Spain. Italy has never beaten Croatia, and we are playing hot-cold with Spain. Croatia will play against Spain in Berlin on June 15, after that they will play in Hamburg against Albania on June 19, while the third match will be played in Leipzig against Italy on June 24.

Croatia has already opened the championship in Berlin, admittedly the World Championship, and then the opponent was Brazil, who won 1:0. Now the hope remains that it will be different against Spain and that Croatia will register a victory and points against one of the strongest national teams you can meet. Croatia has a great chance to progress to the next stage of the competition. Croatia showed that it can play with the Spaniards and the Italians. And you have to be careful about Albania, which can be a landmine for all national teams.

Italy is the fifth European champion that Croatia will play against. Even though Italy was not at the last World Cup, Italy is an opponent that can defend the title. But let time show. I guess other national teams besides Spain and Italy are wondering about something. The latter teams played in the group in 2012, and at the end, they also played in the final of the same European Championship. Then Spain won 4:0.

Admittedly, Croatia got the group to which it belongs. In 2018, Croatia was the second national team in the world, in 2022 they were third in the world, and in June 2023 they played in the UEFA Nations League final. Croatia played in the latter competition against Spain. Spain wasn’t better, Croatia was much better in some parts of the match. Now you have to let time take its course.

Good luck to Croatia at the upcoming EURO 2024. And let health serve the Croatian players and let some players get back on the field and in shape, and then Croatia is dangerous. Then everyone should be shaking against Croatia.

ILLUSTRATION: Bracopone

EURO 2024 GROUPS:
GROUP A:
Germany, Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland
GROUP B: Spain, CROATIA, Italy, Albania
GROUP C: Slovenia, Danska, Serbia, England
GROUP D: Playoff A winner, Netherlands, Austria, France
GROUP E: Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, Playoff B winner
GROUP F: Turkey, Playoff C winner, Portugal, Czech Republic.

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