[Sport]Croatia v Denmark: Team News,Prediction and Head to Head

Croatia and Denmark have reached the knockout stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup after long absences as both European rivals face off in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday evening with a place in the quarter-finals of the up for grabs.Not since 2002 as Denmark made it out of the groups, while Croatia’s run to the semi-finals in 1998 was their last taste beyond the first round. All eyes will be on Christian Eriksen as key to Denmark’s hopes, while Croatia’s Luka Modric has found an unlikely scoring touch with two goals to his name already.Team NewsDespite Dalic making nine changes to Croatia’s starting lineup to face Iceland, star man Luka Modric – along with Wideman Ivan Perisic – was included from the off.Modric was arguably the group stage’s best player and, alongside the returning duo of Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic, the Vatreni will look to take control of proceedings.Mario Mandzukic may have scored just nine goals in 38 Serie A and Champions League outings combined for Juventus last term, but he remains a key player for both club and country and will lead the line here.Denmark have yet to rule William Kvist out of the match, which comes a fortnight on from puncturing his lung and breaking two ribs in the opening-game win against Peru.Should Kvist return, Lasse Schone is the most likely candidate to make way, and Martin Braithwaite for Poulsen – suspended against France – is another possible change.Mathias Jorgensen, Pione Sisto and Thomas Delaney are all at risk of missing the quarters should they pick up a yellow, while Mandzukic, Rakitic and Brozovic are walking a tightrope for Croatia.

Head To Head The five previous meetings between these two sides have produced two wins apiece and one draw, but the most recent encounter was 14 years ago.Croatia came out on top 2-1 in Copenhagen on that occasion in a pre-Euro 2004 friendly, ending a three-match winless run in this fixture.The only previous match at a major tournament came at Euro 1996, meanwhile, with Denmark losing 3-0 on that occasion – Davor Suker netting a brace.Recent FormThe Croat have won five of their last six matches drawing one, while the Dane won two and draw four from the same number of games.Predicted starting line-upsCroatia XI: Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic; Rakitic, Badelj; Rebic, Modric, Perisic; Mandzukic Denmark XI: Schmeichel; Larsen, Christensen, Kjaer, Dalsgaard; Schone, Delaney; Sisto, Eriksen, Poulsen; JorgensenPrediction: Croatia 1-1 Denmark

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