Pasalic believes Croatia will ‘rise to the challenge’ against Italy | OneFootball

Pasalic believes Croatia will ‘rise to the challenge’ against Italy | OneFootball

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·22 June 2024

Pasalic believes Croatia will ‘rise to the challenge’ against Italy

Article image:Pasalic believes Croatia will ‘rise to the challenge’ against Italy

Atalanta midfielder Mario Pasalic expects Luciano Spalletti to make Italy ‘well organised’ in their EURO 2024 showdown, but trusts Croatia will ‘rise to the challenge.’

It kicks off in Leipzig on Monday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

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All the Azzurri need to progress to the Round of 16 in second place behind Spain is a point, because even if Albania win, they will still have the superior head-to-head record.

“In the first match, Italy were better than they were against Spain, but we have to bear in mind how strong they are,” said Pasalic in his press conference.

“Spain are one of the favourites. They didn’t give Italy many chances and I know the Italy coach; they will be well organised. It will be a tough match, but I believe we will rise to the challenge and come out victorious.”

Although Italy only require a point, he does not believe that they will be tempted to hedge their bets in the final group game of the tournament.

“It’s hard to play for a draw; I don’t know how to set up a game aiming for a tie. I expect that they will also come out looking for a win, and they will probably make some changes since they lost to Spain.

“In such situations, teams look for different solutions and a winning formula, but I don’t know what changes they will make. We are focusing on ourselves; we need to be prepared and win.”

Pasalic looks to Croatia history

Croatia made it to third place at the 2022 World Cup and Pasalic is looking back to EURO 2020 for inspiration as well.

“It’s a similar situation. We didn’t start well there either. We lost to England first and we weren’t great against the Czech Republic, but we did manage to get a point. We decided everything in the last match against Scotland. I hope for a similar outcome this time.”

Croatia have an excellent record against Italy, earning three victories, five draws and only one defeat.

That loss was the very first, 4-0 in a friendly back in April 1942, before the foundation of Yugoslavia and consequent re-emergence of Croatia as an independent nation in the 1990s.

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