Spain midfielder Juan Mata wary of familiar faces in Croatia side

 

Spain midfielder Juan Mata knows just how dangerous Croatia will be today when the two sides meet in the final Group C game at the European Championship.

Both sides still need something from the match to be sure of reaching the semi-final stage, with Italy two points behind them and favourites to beat the already eliminated Republic of Ireland.

Chelsea midfielder Mata will be facing plenty of familiar players from the Barclays Premier League, with Croatians Lukas Modric, Vedran Corluka. Niko Kranjcar and Nikica Jelavic all based in England, and he knows it will be a tough match.

"Croatia are playing very well," Mata said to Marca TV.

"They have very good players that I know from the Premier League.

"Lukas Modric is dangerous and we will have to keep a close eye on him."

Croatia opened their Euro 2012 campaign with a 3-1 win over the Republic of Ireland and then came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Italy.

Spain, meanwhile, drew 1-1 with Italy and brushed aside the Irish 4-0.

The 24-year-old Mata was among the goalscorers in the win on Thursday.

He expects his team to take three points against the Croatians, a result that would see the defending champions progress to the last eight as top of Group C.

"We are going for the win," Mata said. "That is what we always do.

"We are in good form and looking forward to play this third game.

"We know the fans are enthusiastic and they expect another win."

Modric, meanwhile, expects a very difficult game against Spain.

"It's going to be very tough," he said. "Both sides will want to prove their worth."

Anything but a win for Italy against Ireland in the other group game would see Croatia join Spain in the quarter-finals.

Should Croatia and Spain draw and score at least four goals between them, Italy would not be able to catch them.

But a draw is not on the minds of the Croatian players.

"We will play as though this was any other game, trying to win,"Jelavic said. "We will not make any calculations or will we focus on what is happening elsewhere.

"For me, Spain and Germany are the favourite sides to win the title but the time has come for one of them to be eliminated."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Rebel, rebel: Vivienne Westwood in her baroque-influenced early-Nineties designs
fashionWhy we mustn't take Dame Vivienne Westwood for granted
News
The police have been criticised in a raid on the luxury home of Sir Cliff Richard
people
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Sport
Harry Kane
premier leagueLive minute-by-minute coverage
Arts and Entertainment
Morgana Robinson
arts + entsIt is not easy interviewing Morgana Robinson. Here's why...
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin