Croatia will look to continue their strong form at the 2018 World Cup when they face Denmark in a last 16 clash at the Nizhnu Novgorod Stadium on Sunday, July 1, kick-off at 20h00 CAT.
Croatia has been one of the tournament’s best teams thus far, topping Group D with a full house of three wins and nine points. ‘The Blazers’ opened with a 2-0 victory over Nigeria, sent a true warning of their abilities by thrashing Argentina 3-0 and then ensured they topped the ‘group of death’ by beating Iceland 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Coach Zlatko Dalic will hope his team has not peaked too early in the tournament, though the fact that this generation is the first from Croatia to get out of the group stages since their incredible 1998 team (which eventually finished with the bronze medals) means they have already achieved something remarkable.
Croatia’s key players are to be found in their midfield, where Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic have dominated the engine room, laying the platform for hard-working forwards Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic to thrive.
Denmark, despite scoring just two goals, were relatively comfortable qualifiers as the runners-up in Group C behind France. They edged Peru 1-0 in their opener, before playing to draws with Australia (1-1) and the French (0-0).
The ‘Danish Dynamite’ have shown the benefits of a sound defence and coach Age Hareide will continue to emphasise their solidity, organisation and discipline as they enter knockout football at the World Cup for the first time since 2002.
Denmark’s Christian Eriksen will have to be on top of his game if he is to be influential, while the hard-running Yussuf Poulsen is a fine attacking outlet. Yet perhaps the most important figure for the Danes will be goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who has enjoyed a terrific tournament thus far.
Croatia VS Denmark
In head-to-head terms, Croatia and Denmark have met in five matches, according to FIFA’s statistics database. Both ‘The Blazers’ and the ‘Danish Dynamite’ have claimed two wins, with one game ending in a draw.
This will be the teams’ first meeting at the World Cup finals, while their most recent clash was a friendly in Copenhagen in June 2004 which was won 2-1 by Croatia.
Croatia v Denmark – head-to-head
Matches played 5
Croatia wins 2
Denmark wins 2
Croatia goals 7
Denmark goals 6