Euro 2012PreviewSchedule

Euro 2012 Matchday 11: Will Croatia Send the Azzurri Back to Italy (and/or La Furia Roja Back to Spain)?

June 18, 2012 — by Suman2


Euro 2012PreviewSchedule

Euro 2012 Matchday 11: Will Croatia Send the Azzurri Back to Italy (and/or La Furia Roja Back to Spain)?

June 18, 2012 — by Suman2

Though yesterday’s Group of Death final day had the potential to surprise like Group A’s did on Saturday, it ultimately worked out according to form. Germany finished off the group with 3 victories, while Portugal showed how pathetic this edition of the Oranje were–sending them to their third straight defeat, and back to a very unhappy Holland.

On to Group C. Ireland is out of contention, but any two of out of Spain, Italy, and Croatia could advance.  Remarkably, Croatia advances with a win or a scored draw–and a Croatia win combined with an Italy win would send defending World Cup and Euro 2008 champions back to Spain.

Here are today’s fixtures, current group standings, the scenario matrix, and some preview notes:

18 June 2012
Croatia Croatia Spain Spain
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (GER) – Stadium: Arena Gdansk, Gdansk (POL)
Italy Italy Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR) – Stadium: Municipal Stadium Poznan, Poznan (POL)


Group C

Teams P W D L F A +/- Pts
Spain Spain 2 1 1 0 5 1 4 4
Croatia Croatia 2 1 1 0 4 2 2 4
Italy Italy 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland 2 0 0 2 1 7 -6 0
Scenario matrix via wikipedia:

Republic of Ireland has been eliminated.

On the next match day (18 June), the teams advancing from this group (winner; runner-up) will be:[1][2]

If: Croatia win draw Spain win
Italy win Croatia; Italy Spain, and Croatia or Italy1 Spain; Italy
draw Croatia; Spain Spain; Croatia Spain; Croatia
Ireland win Croatia; Spain Spain; Croatia Spain; Croatia
  1. Positions determined by game scores:
  • if Croatia-Spain draw 0–0, Italy; Spain
  • if Croatia-Spain draw 1–1
    • AND if Italy wins by one goal or 2–0, Spain; Croatia
    • OR if Italy wins by two goals and scores at least three goals, Spain; Italy
    • OR if Italy wins by three goals or 4–0, Spain; Italy
    • OR if Italy wins by four or more goals and scores at least five goals, Italy; Spain
  • if Croatia-Spain draw 2–2 or higher, Spain; Croatia

The match to watch is Croatia-Spain. It will be a huge surprise if Italy doesn’t beat an Ireland squad that doesn’t have anything to play for (and hasn’t played well at all in their first two matches).

For Spain, it looks like Fernando Torres has solidified a spot as striker in Spain’s starting XI.  Here’s how Vincente del Bosque lined them up (and the subs he used) in their 4-0 roll over Ireland:

Iker Casillas, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio Ramos, Álvaro Arbeloa, David Silva, Xavi, Xabi Alonso (Javi Martínez, 65), Andrés Iniesta (Santiago Cazorla, 80), Sergio Busquets, Fernando Torres (Francesc Fábregas, 74)

We were heartened to see Javi Martínez and Santi Cazorla get some minutes. The next generation of Spanish football, and playing outside the Madrid-Barcelona hegemony (Javi Martínez at Athletic Bilbao, Santi Cazorla at Málaga; read this piece in Run of Play comparing Martínez to the incomparable Redondo). We’d also like to see Fernando Llorentealso of Athletic Bilbao, get in the game and lead the line. See below for video of El Rey León.

For Croatia, we wrote up the following sketch of their squad prior to their 1-1 draw against Italy last week:

For Croatia, most of the focus is on Tottenham Hotspurs midfield playmaker Luka Modrić. But their squad is peppered with players who have made names for themselves at relatively “big” clubs abroad: strikers Nikica Jelavić (Everton), Mario Mandžukić (Wolfsburg), and Eduardo (now Shakhtar Donetsk, previously Arsenal); midfielder Niko Kranjčar (also Spurs), Ivan Perišić (Borussia Dortmund), Ivan Rakitić (Sevilla), and Danijel Pranjić (Bayern Munich); and defenders Darijo Srna (also Shakhtar) and Vedran Ćorluka (Bayer Leverkeusen).

The standout performer has been Mandžukić, with three goals in the first two games. Cf. “Mario Mandzukic masks madness to strike right for Croatia.”


  • Suman

    June 18, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Via Rob Smyth on the Guardian mbm:

    Team news Spain are unchanged after reluctantly accepting that playing a striker increases your chances of scoring goals, even when that striker is Fernando Torres. Croatia have left out a striker: Everton’s Nikica Jelavic is replaced by who-cares-who-he-plays-for-he’s-not-English-based’s Domagoj Vida in a reshuffled side, with Slaven Bilic presumably wanting to keep the 4-2-3-1 that worked so well in the second half against Italy. Danijel Pranjic also comes in for Ivan Perisic on the left of the attacking midfield triumvirate. midfield triumvirate.

    Croatia (4-2-3-1) Pletikosa; Vida, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Strinic; Vukojevic, Rakitic; Srna, Modric, Pranjic; Mandzukic.

    The Spanish Art Project 2.0 (4-3-3) Casillas; Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Alonso; Silva, Torres, Iniesta.

  • Suman

    June 18, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Just tuned in for 2nd time to see this (again via Rob Smyth’s mbm):

    59 min Rakitic forces a flying save from Casillas! It was created thrillingly by Modric, who ran down the right wing and then, with Spain’s defenders all drawn towards the near post, played a brilliant deep cross with the outside of his right foot. It was straight onto the head of Rakitic, 10 yards from goal, and his firm header was beaten away by Casillas as he dived to his right. I think Rakitic might have done better there, although we haven’t seen a replay.

    …followed by:

    60 min Spain replace the ineffectual Fernando Torres with the right-winger Jesus Navas. Presumably Silva will play as a false nine now.

    Huge save, as Italy is leading Ireland 1-0. As detailed above, Italy win + Croatia win -> Spain eliminated

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