Croatia will be looking to maintain their impressive run at the World Cup when they take on Denmark in the round of 16 on Sunday.
2018 FIFA World Cup
Date: 01 July 2018
Round of 16
Kick-off: 20H00 (GMT+2)
Venue: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Croatia 2-1 Denmark 05/06/2004 (friendly)
Croatia goalscorers: T Sokota (27), I Olic (41)
Denmark goal scorer: Ebbe Sand (56)
Players to watch:
Luka Modric has led by example as Croatia won their group ahead of favourites Argentina to reach the round 16 at the World Cup in Russia having won all their three matches.
The Real Madrid midfielder was very impressive as Croatia ran riots against Argentina scoring the second goal in a 3-0 win that is without a doubt one of the country’s best performances at the World Cup stage.
Christian Eriksen has also played a huge role for Denmark as they finished their group stage campaign unbeaten having netted the opener in the draw against Australia that boosted his country’s chances of making it to the knockout stage.
The Tottenham midfielder gives his country a spark of creativity and a lot will be expected from him against the hardworking and talented Croatian side.
Team form and manager quotes:
Croatia has been outstanding so far in the tournament winning all their matches in the group stage.
They started the World Cup campaign with a victory over Nigeria and were more impressive against Argentina clinching a 3-0 win over Lionel Messi’s led South Americans with Modric and Ivan Rakitic all coming to the party by each scoring a goal.
They maintained their good run in the last match against Iceland despite resting a number of their key players with qualification already sealed.
The Vatreni coach Zlatko Dalic stated that their impressive ran in the group stages which included a 3-0 dismantling of Argentina is all in the past and they have a new challenge against Denmark.
“What is gone is gone now. We have to put those three group matches behind us. Keep them in the archive somewhere,” Dalic told journalists.
“This is the moment of the truth.”
Though Denmark has not been as impressive as Croatia, they finished their group stage matches unbeaten to qualify to the knockout stage as runners-up behind France.
The Danes started it with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Peru and played draws against Australia and France in their next two matches to secure a place in the round of 16 of the 2018 tournament in Russia.
Denmark coach Age Hareide admitted that they have a difficult task to stop the impressive Croatian side on Sunday.
“I think Croatia could surprise many. You have seen them play these games at the beginning of the tournament. They look strong,” Hareide told a press conference.
“They are a very good team, very good.”
Croatia rested a number of their key players in the final group match against Iceland and will surely be recalled to the starting line-up as they look to continue with their impressive performances at the World cup.
Midfielder William Kvist, who punctured a lung and broke two ribs in Denmark’s opening game against Peru, could make a return to the line-up against Croatia.
The defensive midfielder has re-joined the squad after undergoing treatment in his country.