Gdansk, Poland (Sporting Alert) — World champion Spain will look to cement it’s place in the quarter-finals of the European Championship with a win over Croatia tonight at Arena Gdansk.
Three of the four teams in action tonight in Group C still have a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals and will be going all out to earn those slots.
Italy will be facing Republic of Ireland in the next game, with the Irish already knocked out of the tournament after losing the opening games to Croatia and Spain.
For Ireland, Damien Duff is set to make his 100th appearance this evening.
Croatia played to a 1-1 draw with Italy in it’s last encounter which puts them in second place on goal-difference with six points and the players know what they have to do against a very tough Spanish side.
“My players know what they must do and their levels of determination are sufficiently high,” said Croatia coach, Slaven Bilić.
“This is the most important game of their generation.”
Spain’s experienced coach Vicente del Bosque is also preparing for what he believes will be a tricky game.
He said: “Anything can happen, we must be aware of that and of the fact that being overconfident in this sport can make things very tricky.”
Fernando Torres, who scored twice in his last outing against Ireland and the winner with Spain last played Croatia is again in the starting line-up.
Meanwhile Mario Balotelli starts on the bench for Italy.
Spain v Croatia Team
Spain: Casillas, Piqué, Ramos, Arbeloa, Alba, Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso, Busquets, Silva, Torres
Subs: Valdés, Reina, Albiol, Martínez, Juanfran, Fàbregas, Cazorla, Navas, Rodríguez, Negredo, Mata, Llorente.
Croatia: Pletikosa, Strinić, Ćorluka, Schildenfeld, Vida, Pranjić, Rakitić, Vukojević, Modrić, Srna, Mandžukić
Subs: Kelava, Subašić, Šimunić, Buljat, Vrsaljko, Badelj, Dujmović, Kranjčar, Perišić, Jelavić, Kalinić, Eduardo.
Italy v Republic of Ireland Teams
Italy: Buffon, Chiellini, Balzaretti, Abate, Barzagli, Motta, Marchisio, De Rossi, Pirlo, Cassano, Di Natale
Subs: Sirigu, De Sanctis, Maggio, Ogbonna, Bonucci, Giaccherini, Montolivo, Diamanti, Nocerino, Balotelli, Borini, Giovinco.
Ireland: Given, St Ledger, Ward, O’Shea, Dunne, Whelan, McGeady, Andrews, Duff, Doyle, Keane
Subs: Westwood, Forde, Kelly, McShane, O’Dea, Gibson, Hunt, Green, McClean, Walters, Long, Cox.