KATHMANDU, July 1: Croatia and Denmark will fight for their spot in the next round as they come against one another at 11:45 PM Nepali Time. The game will be played at Nizhny Novgorod-Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Here's our match preview.
Croatia are one of the three teams to finish the group stages with all three wins. Uruguay did so in Group A and Belgium did so in Group G. Croatia, however, were not favourites to win their group, but they did so emphatically. First, they breezed past a slow Nigeria side, before thrashing Argentina in big style. A 3-0 win really brought all the best from this Croatia team, with Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic especially enjoying their fine performances that night. The last match in the group was just a confirmation of the first place, with Zlatko Dalic’s side beating Iceland with a rotated squad. Their team is now well and rested, with sky high confidence and will be going into this match as favourites. With Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Perisic as well in the side – and the up and coming Ante Rebic – Croatia’s fans will be expecting a victory and everything other than that would be a huge disappointment for them.
Denmark were one of the sides that came through the group stages but did not inspire anyone with their performances. That is not a too big of a surprise, as Denmark seem as one of those limited sides that simply know what they can and what they cannot do and stick with that. They were uninspiring in qualifiers and they were especially uninspiring in the group stages. They scored just two goals and also conceded only one in the three group games, in one of the weakest groups of this tournament. Peru were a better side and should have won at least won a point in the match where they did not get anything from their big number of chances. Against Australia, Denmark were very shaky. They started impressively in the first 20 minutes, but then wandered off and Australia actually had decent chances to win the game. The match against France could be described as a friendly, as both teams earned a point with a 0-0 draw – France to stay atop and Denmark to keep their second place safe. Against Croatia, they will have to do much more if they are to progress.