EURO 2024 PREVIEW

AUTHOR: William Kedjanyi

EURO 2024 PREVIEW Wed: Croatia v Albania

After losses in their opening Group B games, Croatia and Albania head to Hamburg knowing that three points are a must, writes WILLIAM KEDJANYI.

Croatia were outsiders against leading contenders Spain and went down 3-0 on Saturday, with La Roja’s pace and precision proving too much to handle. Mistakes from Josip Sutalo and Marin Pongracic proved crucial as Spain took control of the game early and Croatia were guilty of leaving far too much space on the flanks, whilst the fact Zlatko Dalić substituted captain Luka Modrić – ? to assist a goal here – and Mateo Kovačić after just 65 minutes spoke volumes.

However, Croatia did some bright spots going forward – they responded well to the quick-fire double, had 16 shots (five on target) and 28 touches in the Spanish box – and will be hoping to impose themselves more on the Albanians this time around.

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Croatia v Albania
UEFA EURO 2024 Group B
14:00 ITV 1 HD / ITV X

HEAD-TO-HEAD
First meeting between teams

CROATIA
JUN 2024 EURO 2024 Spain 3-0 Croatia
JUN 2024 FRIENDLY Portugal 1-2 Croatia
JUN 2024 FRIENDLY Croatia 3-0 North Macedonia
MAR 2024 FRIENDLY Egypt 2-4 Croatia
MAR 2024 FRIENDLY Croatia (p) 1-0 Tunisia

ALBANIA
JUN 2024 EURO 2024 Italy 2-1 Albania
JUN 2024 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Albania 3-1 Azerbaijan
JUN 2024 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Albania 3-0 Liechtenstein
MAR 2024 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Sweden 1-1 Albania
MAR 2024 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Albania 0-3 Chile

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Albania made the perfect start to their campaign when they scored the fastest goal in Euros history thanks to Nedim Bajrami capitalising on a rash throw-in by defender Federico Dimarco, but Italy pulled themselves back into the game quickly and were leading by the 16th minute.

The Azzuri quickly became dominant – by half-time, they had 72.2% of possession, and 13 shots to Albania’s four – and controlled matters in the second half even if they didn’t manage to add another, with goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha making several great saves.

Ylber Ramadani and Kristjan Asllani ( ? to assist anytime) were standouts in midfield, but Italy’s technical superiority pushed them out of the game and that’s a worrying sign given the control that Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić and Marcelo Brozovic are all capable of when on a going day.

Croatia were swept aside by Spain on Saturday but they did have their moments heading forward and could find themselves having more success against Albania, who were passed into submission by an Italy midfield with similar technical skill. The markets have very much anticipated this – Croatia are odds on – and the best value bet might be to back the favourites to win and Over 2.5 goals. Croatia were sometimes all at sea defensively against Spain and it would be no surprise if Albania had success on the break, whilst a tad more luck should see Croatia find the net and get three points on the board.


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BACK Croatia to win and Over 2.5 Goals 1 pt at 7/5 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)


PROFIT/LOSS (EURO 2024): -7.19 POINTS


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