Italy v Croatia Match Preview & Betting Tips

As the Euro 2024 group stages draw to a close, all eyes are on the highly anticipated clash between Italy and Croatia. This encounter not only promises to be a thrilling contest but also carries significant implications for both teams’ ambitions in the tournament. Let’s dive into the key aspects of this matchup, analyzing team form, key players, historical context, tactical considerations, and what we can expect on the day.


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Team Form and Recent Performances

Italy: Italy, under the management of Luciano Spalletti, entered Euro 2024 with high expectations. After securing a narrow 1-0 victory against Albania in their opening match, the Azzurri faced a stern test against Spain. Despite a strong defensive performance, Italy fell to a 1-0 defeat, leaving them with three points from their first two games. This result underscores Italy’s need to secure at least a draw against Croatia to ensure progression from the group stages.

Key players for Italy include Alessandro Bastoni, who has been a rock at the back, and Nicolò Barella, whose midfield dynamism has been crucial. Federico Chiesa and Gianluca Scamacca have also shown glimpses of brilliance in the attack, although consistency has been an issue.

Croatia: Croatia, managed by Zlatko Dalić, has had a more turbulent journey in Euro 2024 so far. After a hard-fought draw against a resilient Austria side, they suffered a setback against Albania, losing 2-1. This leaves Croatia in a precarious position, needing a win against Italy to avoid an early exit from the tournament.

Croatia’s squad, though aging, is filled with experience and talent. Luka Modric remains the linchpin in midfield, while Josko Gvardiol and Dominik Livakovic provide solidity at the back. In attack, Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric are expected to shoulder the responsibility of breaking down the Italian defense.

Historical Context and Head-to-Head

The historical context of Italy vs. Croatia adds an intriguing layer to this matchup. Croatia has had the upper hand in recent encounters, remaining unbeaten in their last eight meetings with Italy since gaining independence. This psychological edge could play a role, as Croatia will look to draw on past successes to inspire a crucial victory.

However, Italy’s overall record in European Championship group stage finales is more favorable. The Azzurri have only lost their final group game once since 1980, suggesting a level of resilience and experience in navigating high-pressure situations.

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Tactical Analysis

Italy’s Approach: Luciano Spalletti is known for his tactical acumen, often deploying a 4-3-3 formation that emphasizes defensive solidity and quick transitions. Italy’s defense, marshaled by Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal and Alessandro Bastoni in central defense, will be key in nullifying Croatia’s attacking threats.

In midfield, Nicolò Barella’s energy and creativity will be vital in linking play between defense and attack. Italy’s front three, likely to feature Federico Chiesa, Gianluca Scamacca, and possibly Domenico Berardi, will need to be clinical in front of goal, capitalizing on any defensive lapses from Croatia.

Croatia’s Approach: Zlatko Dalić’s Croatia typically lines up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, designed to maximize the strengths of their experienced midfield. Luka Modric, even at 38, remains a pivotal figure, orchestrating play and providing a calming influence.

Croatia’s defensive strategy will revolve around the young and talented Josko Gvardiol, whose partnership with veteran Domagoj Vida could be crucial in keeping Italy’s attackers at bay. Offensively, Ivan Perisic’s direct running and Andrej Kramaric’s finishing ability will be central to Croatia’s hopes of breaking down a disciplined Italian defense.

Key Players to Watch


  • Gianluigi Donnarumma: The PSG goalkeeper will need to be at his best, especially given Croatia’s attacking prowess.
  • Alessandro Bastoni: A rock at the back, Bastoni’s defensive capabilities will be tested against Croatia’s forward line.
  • Nicolò Barella: His box-to-box energy and creativity will be vital in both defensive duties and launching attacks.


  • Luka Modric: The experienced playmaker will be the heartbeat of Croatia’s midfield, dictating the tempo and creating chances.
  • Josko Gvardiol: A rising star in defense, Gvardiol’s performance will be crucial in keeping Italy’s forwards quiet.
  • Ivan Perisic: His experience and ability to score crucial goals make him a key player in Croatia’s attack.

Predicted Lineups


  • Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Donnarumma
  • Defenders: Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Alessandro Bastoni, Francesco Acerbi, Leonardo Spinazzola
  • Midfielders: Nicolò Barella, Jorginho, Marco Verratti
  • Forwards: Federico Chiesa, Gianluca Scamacca, Domenico Berardi


  • Goalkeeper: Dominik Livakovic
  • Defenders: Josip Juranovic, Josko Gvardiol, Domagoj Vida, Borna Sosa
  • Midfielders: Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic
  • Forwards: Andrej Kramaric, Ivan Perisic, Mislav Orsic

Betting Insights and Odds

The betting landscape for this match suggests a slight edge for Italy, given their recent form and historical resilience in final group games. However, Croatia’s unbeaten streak against Italy cannot be overlooked.

  • Italy Win: 50.6%
  • Croatia Win: 25.7%
  • Draw: 23.7%

These odds reflect the balanced nature of this encounter, with Italy favored but Croatia certainly capable of pulling off a win if they play to their potential.

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Match Prediction

Predicting the outcome of such a finely balanced match is challenging. Italy’s structured defense and tactical discipline give them an edge, but Croatia’s experience and attacking talent mean they cannot be underestimated.

Considering Italy’s form and Croatia’s desperation for a win, the match is likely to be closely contested. A draw seems a plausible outcome, which would suit Italy but leave Croatia hoping for favorable results elsewhere in the group.


The Italy vs. Croatia clash at Euro 2024 is set to be a captivating encounter, blending tactical nous, individual brilliance, and historical rivalry. Both teams have much at stake, with Italy seeking to secure their progression and Croatia fighting to avoid an early exit. As fans eagerly await kickoff, the stage is set for a memorable match that could shape the destinies of both teams in this prestigious tournament.

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