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Preview: Croatia vs. Scotland - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's European Championship clash between Croatia and Scotland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two sides locked on a point apiece in Euro 2020 Group D prepare for battle at Hampden Park on Tuesday as Croatia face off against Scotland.

The Chequered Ones were held to a 1-1 draw by the Czech Republic last time out, while Scotland's goalless stalemate with England felt more like a win for the Tartan Army.


Match preview

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic on June 13, 2021© Reuters

For a side that only fell at the final hurdle at the World Cup three years ago, Croatia's Euro 2020 campaign has been a truly miserable affair by comparison, as Zlatko Dalic's men could not recover from their 1-0 loss to England against the Czech Republic.

Dejan Lovren's expression said it all as his flailing elbow on Patrik Schick was deemed worthy of a penalty by VAR on matchday two, and the Czech hotshot converted to put his side 1-0 to the good, but a well-taken equaliser from major tournament veteran Ivan Perisic ensured that Croatia would not start their Euro 2020 campaign with back-to-back defeats.

It is mathematically impossible for third-placed Croatia to progress as group winners, and England's victory over the Chequered Ones at Wembley means that they are out of sight, so Dalic's men must hope for the Three Lions to do them a favour against the Czech Republic while they endeavour to sink Scotland.

However, a draw in Group D's other fixture would see Croatia's result against Scotland pale into insignificance, but there is still no better time for Dalic to end his side's four-game winless streak as they aim to progress as one of the four best third-placed sides.

Then again, Dalic has only overseen two victories from his last 11 games in charge of the Croatian national team - quite the fall from grace after their inspiring summer of football at Russia 2018 - and failure to progress to the final 16 of the continental competition would be nothing short of disastrous.

England's Kalvin Phillips in action with Scotland's Stuart Armstrong at Euro 2020 on June 18, 2021© Reuters

Scotland's encounter with England on Friday night certainly did not live up to the pre-match billing, but the ever-joyful Tartan Army revelled in their side's performance in the English capital, as a motivated Scotland prevented England's bright attackers from making the net ripple on the night.

Steve Clarke's men had chances of their own but could not break the deadlock either, although they were full value for their point at Wembley and have been given a new lease of life at the Euros following their opening-day defeat to the Czech Republic.

However, with Scotland still waiting for their first goal of the European Championship, Clarke's men remain at the bottom of the rankings and must pray for an exceptional set of circumstances to keep their last-16 hopes alive on the final day.

Not since 2004 have Scotland failed to score in three competitive matches on the bounce, but Clarke's side must find attacking inspiration from somewhere if they are to extend their stay at the tournament, although the prospect of a third-placed finish being enough for a knockout berth is still very much alive.

History could favour the Scots in this tie, though, as Croatia have failed to win any of their previous five meetings with Scotland, and the two most recent clashes between the sides in 2014 World Cup qualification saw Scotland claim 2-0 and 1-0 victories.

Croatia European Championship form:
  • L
  • D

Croatia form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D

Scotland European Championship form:
  • L
  • D

Scotland form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D



Team News

Scotland's Andrew Robertson and Lyndon Dykes pictured on June 14, 2021© Reuters

Croatia have been forced to cope without Rangers left-back Borna Barisic for their first two games of Euro 2020, and even though he rejoined the team for training over the weekend, he has not been passed fit for this battle.

Marcelo Brozovic was dropped for the Czech Republic draw, but Dalic has confirmed that he will return to the starting lineup here, while Ante Rebic is set to be restricted to a substitute outing after flattering to deceive so far.

Bruno Petkovic is a strong candidate to lead the line after looking threatening as a substitute against the Czech Republic, while Nikola Vlasic is also in consideration to feature out wide as he nears full fitness.

Meanwhile, Scotland have been dealt a huge blow with the news that Billy Gilmour has tested positive for coronavirus, so Stuart Armstrong may be welcomed back to the midfield three.

Defender Kieran Tierney was passed fit for the clash with England and put in a terrific shift throughout the 90 minutes, so the Arsenal man should line up in a back three with Scott McTominay and Grant Hanley once more.

Kevin Nisbet is pushing for inclusion up top as Scotland seek to break their goalscoring duck, but Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes could be trusted from the off once more.

Croatia possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Vrsaljko, Vida, Lovren, Gvardiol; Brozovic, Kovacic; Vlasic, Modric, Perisic; Petkovic

Scotland possible starting lineup:
Marshall; McTominay, Hanley, Tierney; O'Donnell, McGregor, Armstrong, McGinn, Robertson; Dykes, Adams


SM words green background

We say: Croatia 2-1 Scotland

None of the previous meetings between Croatia and Scotland has led to more than two goals being scored, but that trend ought to change here as both sides desperately seek to keep their Euro 2020 hopes alive.

Dalic is yet to find the optimal attacking formula with Croatia - despite the wealth of talent at his disposal - but we expect the Chequered Ones to get it right at the third attempt as Scotland's continental run ends at the first hurdle.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Croatia vs Scotlvs

Croatia
64.8%
Draw
15.0%
Scotland
20.3%
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