|The 2018 World Cup Round of 16 has produced a couple of all-European ties and one of them sees Croatia play Denmark.
Croatia are looking to recreate their special moment in France 1998, when they went all the way to the semi-final only to lose to the hosts and eventual winners, France.
Denmark have twice been to the Round of 16 at the World Cup but have never been beyond the quarter-final stage. This match presents a decent opportunity for Denmark to progress in the tournament.
Having been drawn in a group with Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland, Group D looked very tough for Croatia. However, they made light work of the opposition and comfortably defeated Nigeria 2-0 in their opening match of the tournament.
What followed was an excellent performance against Argentina to defeat the South Americans 3-0 and keep Croatia at the top of the group. Although Argentina were poor, it was a great result for Croatia and made the other teams in Russia take note.
The final match of the group saw Croatia rest many players but they still came out on top against Iceland, winning the match 2-1 and securing top spot in the group with maximum points.
Denmark also had a difficult group to contend with but got off to the best possible start by defeating Peru 1-0. The Danes were on the back foot for long periods and conceded a penalty but somehow managed to come through to win the game.
Having taken the lead early against Australia, the Danes were expected to win that match with ease but allowed Australia back into the game via the penalty spot. Denmark failed to break through a second time and were forced to settle for a point.
The final match of the group, against France, was going to be their toughest test. However, with the French already through and the other game going their way, Denmark played out a boring 0-0 draw to seal qualification.
Looking ahead to the team news and Croatia will welcome back several players who were rested against Iceland. Ivan Strinic, Dejan Lovren, Ivan Rakitic, Domagoj Vida and Mario Mandzukic are among those to come back into the team.
Denmark are unlikely to make many changes from the 0-0 draw against France. Christian Eriksen will play in midfield alongside Thomas Delaney and Mathias Jorgensen with Simon Kjaer captaining the team in defence. The main consideration will be who to play up-front and out wide for Denmark.
Croatia have been scoring goals for fun in this tournament and have netted 2 or more goals in each of their three matches. This suggests they are clicking as an attacking unit and they will hope that continues in this match. Denmark will make it difficult for their opponents but it’s Croatia who have the better quality in attacking areas and they should come through this match, scoring a couple of goals in the process.