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Jun 17, 2012
Euro 2012 Predictions and Preview: Croatia vs Spain

Group Elimination C: Monday, 18 June 2012 - Gdansk - PGE Arena

Spain the defending champions take on Croatia in Gdansk in a pivotal Group C game.
Both sides are two points clear of Italy, who face the Republic of Ireland in the other pool game.
The Irish have already been eliminated after two defeats.
"I think it is going to be a beautiful game for the fans and for the players," the Barcelona midfielder said.
"They will have to go all out and so will we.
"We depend on ourselves to qualify and we will try to win and be first of our group.
"However, Croatia are very good, they have a fantastic team, with great individual talent.
"I don't expect an easy game."
There are fears amongst Italian fans that the encounter could end in a 2-2 draw, a result that would see Croatia join Spain in the next round at the expense of the Azzurri.
"Absolutely not," Xavi said.
"We only know how to play attacking football so a draw would not suit us.
"We will go out determined to hold possession, to move the ball and to go forward.
"This is our style of game and the one that made us European and world champions.
"Our aim is always to go out for victory and against Croatia it will be no exception.
"We will play to get three points from the first minute until the last."
Spain, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Italy in their group opener, already displayed that attacking flair in a 4-0 triumph over Ireland on Thursday.
"We have the same hunger that we had in Euro 2008 and at the 2010 World Cup," Xavi said.
"We are among the favourites and we have the possibility to make history and win another Euro title.
"But we know that only through hard work and humility that will be possible."
Fernando Torres is set to lead Spain's attack for the second consecutive game with the Chelsea striker having scored twice against Ireland.
Rivals Croatia face Spain for the first time in a major competition and coach Slaven Bilic knows his side will have to step up their game.
The Croats beat Ireland before holding Italy to a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
"We will need to play the best game of our lives," said Bilic, whose side hope to reach the quarter-finals of the competition for the second straight time.
"We must be concentrated for 90 minutes.
"We have to work as a team and we are going to have to take our chances."
Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric will play in support of striker Mario Mandzukic, who is the joint-top scorer of the competition with three goals.
Spain will be at full strength with midfielder Sergio Busquets having recovered from a minor foot injury.

Predictions: Spain 3-0 Croatia

Still needing a win to guarantee their own progress, Spain the defending champions will be at their exquisite best, and Croatia will be praying for a miracle from Ireland to progress.


Euro 2012 Predictions and Preview: Italy vs Ireland

Group Elimination C: Monday, 18 June 2012 - Poznan - Municipal Stadium

Italian media is obsessed with fears Spain and Croatia will play out a 2-2 draw in the other Group C game and knock out the Azzurri even if they beat the Irish in Poznan. Such is 73-year-old Trapattoni's standing in the game, though, that no one is questioning his loyalties. Ireland have been eliminated after two heavy Group C defeats and Monday's swansong in the final group match could be the last major tournament appearance for the likes of 31-year-old Robbie Keane who will not want to bow out with a whimper.

Trapattoni, who managed Italy at Euro 2004 when they suspected a never-proved fix when Denmark and Sweden drew 2-2 to eliminate them, will make sure his troops are motivated despite only having pride to play for.
"It would not be fair to the other countries in the group if I did not select my best team," said Trapattoni. "With this team, and these players, I am proud." Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is sure Ireland and Spain will be totally professional. "I know we have to believe right until the end. I don't believe in any suspect goings on," Prandelli said. "It all depends on us, we need to deserve the win, it won't be easy."
A victory would be enough for Italy to reach the quarter-finals in second place if Spain or Croatia win the other match. However, an Italy win and a draw in the Spain game makes the situation complicated because all three teams would then be level on five points and head-to-head results come into play. A 'mini-league' between the three would be the deciding factor, with Italy having drawn 1-1 with both.
A 0-0 draw between Spain and Croatia means Italy would go through with a win while a 1-1 draw would bring group goal difference into play. A scoring draw of 2-2 or higher between Spain and Croatia, though, and Italy are out whatever they do against the Irish. Prandelli is set to make changes with forward Mario Balotelli possibly being replaced by Antonio Di Natale and Alessandro Diamanti in the running for a spot in midfield or as a second striker after impressive form in training. Defender Andrea Barzagli is almost fit after a calf problem.
The Italy coach was annoyed that the players sat on their 1-0 halftime lead over Croatia last time out only for Mario Mandzukic to equalise. "It's not a matter of fitness, it's more a mental thing," Prandelli said. "This is the mentality we have to change. We are a good team, we've got to believe it a bit more."

Prediction Italy 2-0 over Ireland

Ireland winger Damien Duff may wear the captain's armband to mark his 100th cap for his country while normal skipper Keane said the squad were determined to put on a show. "The mindset is we are not going home without any points," Keane told reporters.

Check this thread again for my daily update prediction for the upcoming game of euro 2012

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