Attention turns to Euro 2012 Group C tonight, with Croatia, Italy, Spain and the Republic of Ireland all fighting for places in the quarter-finals of the competition.
Slavan Bilic’s side are in pole position after their opening night victory against the Irish, and they face the Italians in tonight’s early kick-off.
Azzurri manager Cesare Prandelli is understandably high in confidence after picking up a point against holders Spain, but admits it will be a different type of challenge against the current leaders of the group.
“Straight away, we said that we will struggle a lot more, because of the way Croatia play football,” Prandelli told the press.
“They can change systems during the game and they can play at a very high tempo. Not only in terms of ball possession but also in how intense their game is. So they have a completely different style to Spain.”
Despite knowing a draw might put them in position to qualify, Bilic insists his side will be going all-out to get a win in Poznan, a result which would all-but secure qualification to the last eight.
“Italy are an unpredictable team. You cannot play against them and try to get a draw. You just have to think and play good football. We will not go for a draw. We want to create good chances, but you never know,” he told the press.
Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso has moved on from the draw against Italy, a match which saw Vicente Del Bosque’s side make complaints over the playing surface in Gdansk.
Whilst tonight’s clash is on the same surface, the Real Madrid midfielder insists the players won’t be letting the situation affect them as they chase victory.
“We address our opinion from the last game and hopefully if some things can improve, much better for us and I think much better for the spectacle of the game,” Alonso told the press.
For Ireland, it’s a case of win or bust against the World and European Champions, with Robbie Keane under no illusions that the odds are against his side.
However, Giovanni Trapattoni’s team will believe they can cause an upset on the night.
"Listen probably everyone in this room has written the script already, that Spain are going to beat us but certainly in that dressing room there is no way that the players go into any game believing that, there is no question,” said the LA Galaxy star.
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