Croatia, the only team in Group C to win their opening game, will try to clinch a place in the knockout phase when they take on Italy tonight, who drew with Spain in their first game of Euro 2012.
In their opening group C game, the Croats were dominant and took full advantage of the weak Ireland defence and won the match at the European Championship, getting two goals from Mario Mandzukic in a 3-1 victory on Sunday night.
Despite some of its key players were suffering from injuries such as defender Dejan Lovren and striker Ivica Olic before the tournament, they kept their pace and momentum in their opener with the midfielders and strikers performing their duties brilliantly well.
Croatia is sitting pretty at the top of the Group C table with three points, while Spain and Italy each have one point after their 1-1 draw in Gdansk.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has been warning his boys for months that the toughest match of the European Championship is the one against Croatia, because Croatia is an unpredictable opponent that has always created trouble for Italy.
In the world FIFA rankings, Croatia is four places above Italy which means that tonight’s game will be, between the World’s No. 8 and No. 12 ranked teams.
Croatia Coach Slaven Bilic said, “You know how Spain are going to play but Italy are so unpredictable. They can pass the ball. They can play the short balls. They can play through the middle. They can play counterattack, with long ball from (Andrea) Pirlo to the strikers. They can play down the flanks. They are for me one of the biggest favorites in this tournament.”
The match will kick off at 9:30pm IST.