Can Croatia qualify for the quarter-finals of Euro 2012?

Croatia face a crucial Euro 2012 clash with European and world champions Spain this evening.

The Croats are level with their opponents on points in Group C and know that only a victory will guarantee them passage into the quarter-finals of the competition.

Draw

A draw could be enough for both sides to progress depending on the result of Italy’s clash with the Republic of Ireland.

However the Spanish are unlikely to settle for a draw in Gdansk and will be looking to secure a quarter-final place with a victory.

Difficult

It will be difficult for Slaven Bilic’s men to get the victory that they so desperately want. It won’t be impossible for Bilic’s men though. His side has made a really good impression in their first two games of the Euro’s and won’t want their tournament to end here.

Impressed

I have to admit that Croatia is one of sides that have most impressed me at Euro 2012. Their victory over Ireland in the first game was achieved in very comfortable style and a draw with Italy was a decent result.

They were always going to be underdogs to Spain and Italy in the group but I have a feeling they may just go through to the quarter-finals.

Unlikely

If Croatia achieve the unthinkable and defeat the Spanish and Italy beat Ireland Spain could go out. That’s an unlikely scenario but we have seen it before at previous tournament and even at this one with favourites going out at the group stage.

It would be a massive shock if Spain were eliminated from the competition but anything can happen in football. The Croatians are certainly a far better side than the Republic of Ireland and won’t be as easy to beat as Spain’s last opponents.

Quality

Spain and Barcelona midfielder Xavi has revealed that he believes it will be a “beautiful game for the fans and players”. The Croatians definitely have quality players in their ranks such as Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric and Wolfsburg striker Mario Mandzukic.

The striker is joint-top goalscorer at Euro 2012 with three goals so far this tournament and is hoping to move on this summer. His German club is believed to want to sell the striker but might have second thoughts after his performances so far at the Euro’s.

Mandzukic has already been linked with a move to Premier League Everton, where he could link up with international teammate Nikica Jelavic. The striker is likely to be in-demand this summer.

Swansong

Croatian boss Slaven Bilic will be leaving his position at the end of this tournament, with his contract expiring this summer. He won’t want his last game in charge of his national team to be a defeat and I’m sure he will do everything in his power to help his country progress to the knockout stages.

Bilic was heavily criticised in his homeland for the country’s failure to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. There were even calls for his head from some of the media back home but the Croatian FA believed in the former-West Ham defender and refused to sack Bilic.

The Croatian FA don’t want Bilic to leave his position but it seems that he wants a new challenge this summer. It looks like a return to club management could be on the cards for the highly-rated coach. I’m sure he would love to go out on a high as Croatia boss though.

Close

I think this will be a very tight affair and Spain won’t find Croatia an easy opponent. Should Croatia manage a 2-2 draw with the European champions then they would go through at the expense of the Italians.

I wouldn’t put it past Croatia to get the draw they need to progress. They have looked dangerous on the attack but I don’t think their defence is as watertight as Croat teams of the past. I don’t think they will beat Spain but if they do I think it would open the competition right up.

The way they have played so far Croatia don’t deserve to go home and I hope they get a good enough result to go through to the quarter-finals. Whatever happens though they have given a superb account of themselves and Slaven Bilic can be proud of his teams performances at Euro 2012.

Will Croatia progress into the quarter-finals of Euro 2012?

wednesday bet (part I-last round)

Japan – Azerbaijan

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni plans to call up 18 Europe-based players for this month’s World Cup qualifying warm-up at home to Azerbaijan in a bid to arrest a recent slide in form.

The CSKA Moscow attacker’s return (Honda) to international play will be a highlight of Wednesday’s friendly as Alberto Zaccheroni considers his World Cup qualifier options

  Denmark»Superliga, last round  

Tie-breaking procedures

In the event that two (or more) teams have an equal number of points, the following rules break the tie:
1. Goal difference
2. Goals scored

1st place – Champions League
2nd place – 3rd round of qualifications for the Champions League
3rd place – Play off round of qualifications for the Europa League
4th place – 3rd round of qualifications for the Europa League
AGF Aarhus – 2nd round of qualifications for the Europa League

NORDSJÆLLAND VS. HORSENS

Nordsjaelland out: Jensen (gk 2/0), King (df 5/0), Egeris (df 5/0), Rohde (df 5/0)

Horsens out: Jochumsen (gk 18/0), Spelmann (mf 28/8), Hajdarevic (att 14/1) and Absalonsen (att 9/1)

HB KØGE VS. OB

OBout: Toppel (gk 11/0), Cristiansen (gk 1/0), Larsen (df 8/0), Reginiussen (df 21/2), Andersen (mf 25/5)

SØNDERJYSKE VS. AAB

AAB out: Ahlmann (df 17/0), Petersen (df 28/1), Andersen (mf 22/1), Thomsen (mf 6/0), Wurtz (mf 27/2)

KØBENHAVN VS. SILKEBORG

Copenhagen out: Larsson (df 4/0), Sigurdsson (df 24/1), Ottesen (df 24/5), Kristiansen (mf 25/1) and Delaney (mf 19/1)

AGF VS. MIDTJYLLAND   dnb2 (midtjylland ah0)

AGF out: Howard (df 3/0), Kirkeskov (df 16/0), Eckersley (df 27/1), Haland (df 30/0), Devdariani (mf 4/0), Johannsson (att 30/7), Larsen (att 28/8) and Graulund (att 21/8)

Midtjylland out: Ipsa (df 9/0), Uzochuwku (mf 30/0), Collins (att 8/0), Igboun (att 31/8)

Suspensions >> Danmark, Betsafe Ligaen

Malthe Nygaard, Blokhus FC
Yakuba Abubakar Akilu, FC Fredericia
Martin Mikkelsen, FC Fredericia
Dennis Ramonn Olsen, FC Hjørring
Ruben Nygaard, Hobro
Mustafa Ahmed Hassan, Næstved
Nicolaj Mikkelsen, FC Roskilde

Suspensions >> Danmark, 2. division vest

Rasmus Mariager, Otterup
Sigurd Jeppsson, Skjold
Casper Petersen, Skjold
Lasse Nørdam, Skovbakken
Andreas Rolskov, FC Svendborg
Rasmus Jessen, Varde

Suspensions >> Danmark, 2. division øst

Morten Sischlau-Pedersen, B 1908
Jamal Bhayan, BGA
Lasse Juul Jensen, BGA
Morten Edvold, SC Egedal
Jamil Fearrington, Fremad A.
Jon Andersen, HIK
Niclas Tüchsen, Hvidovre
Morten Damborg, Rishøj
Mads Villadsen, Rishøj
Kim Have, Svebølle

   Bulgaria»A PFG, last round  

Tie-breaking procedures

In the event that two teams finish with an equal number of points, the following system will be applied to break the tie:

1. Head-to-head

  • Lokomotiv Sofia playing their home matches at Vasil Levski National Stadium as their stadiums does not meet the criteria for hosting 1st level matches.

1st place – 2nd round of qualifications for the Champions League
Cup winner, 2nd and 3rd place – 2nd round of qualifications for the Europa League

Minyor Pernik Beroe 1 @ 1,75

Huge problems for Beroe. Even ten guests players will miss last round due injuries, suspensions, etc. Beroe can’t count on Dzhaferovich, Dyudone, da Silva, Ivanov, Iliev, Livramento, Kayado, Abushev, Velev and Angelov, and two teenagers (’94) are called up in team. Hosts will miss only Chvorovich and Stoychev. http://www.beroe.eu/article/22052012_1

 

   Switzerland » Super League, last round   

Neuchatel Xamax FC expelled from Super League after round 18 due to financial issues
Sion – 36 points deducted due to fielding ineligible players
Tie-breaking procedures
In the event that two (or more) teams have an equal number of points, the following rules break the tie:
1. Number of matches played
2. Goal difference
3. Goals scored
Basel – UEFA Champions League Second qualifying round
2nd place – UEFA Europa League Play off round
3rd and 4th place – UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round

BASEL VS. YOUNG BOYS

Basel out: Genseric Kusunga (df 6/0), Kay Voser (df 6/0), Massimo Colomba (gk 2/0)
YB Bern out: Christoph Spycher (df 31/5), Michael Silberbauer (mf 28/1), Michael Frey (mf 2/1)
Doubtful are: Alain Nef (df 30/4), Pascal Doubai (mf 15/0), Raul Marcelo Bobadilla (att 13/7)

SION VS. LUZERN

Luzern out: no missings

LAUSANNE SPORTS VS. GRASSHOPPER

Lausanne out:  Jerome Sonnerat (df 28/0), Ibrahim Tall (df 12/0), Fabio Coltorti (gk 24/0)

Doubtful: Matt Moussilou (att 26/7)

Grasshopper out:  Ricardo Cabanas (mf 0/0), Endogan Adili (mf 5/0), Mohamed Coulibaly (mf 5/0), Daniel Pavlovic (df 14/1), Boris Smiljanic (df 19/0), Gianluca Hossmann (df 0/0)

Doubtful: Daniel deRidder (mf 21/3)

VIP pick sent but i expect there will be later one more (coming with reserves) and on site some other leagues and cups