Euro 2024 – Group B: Croatia vs Albania Tips, TV and Betting Preview

The second set of group games at Euro 2024 get going on a day where three matches take place in the tournament on Wednesday and we begin in Group B where the two sides who lost their opening game meet in Hamburg when Croatia take on Albania.

Given that Croatia lost their first game 3-0 they have to get something out of this match to avoid having to rely on other results to go their way to stay alive. Albania didn’t take a goal difference hit in their first game so will be well placed if they get something from this.

Where to watch

The match will be shown live and in full on ITV1 in the UK with the build-up to the game beginning at 1pm with the kick off in Hamburg at 2pm.


I don’t think too many people were surprised that Croatia were beaten by Spain in their opening match but what was more telling was how quickly and tamely they surrendered. It was thought that they would be solid enough in their setup but perhaps struggle to impose themselves on the opposition but that wasn’t the case at all. It all happened in the opening period too so even the theory that an aging side would tire couldn’t be used to explain what happened.

It goes without saying that Croatia are going to need to offer a lot more here but with Italy to come in the final game there is a lot of pressure on the World Cup finalists of six years ago to deliver the goods in this match. To be fair to the Croats, when they did go forward in that game against Spain they did look like they could do some damage, certainly more than was expected going into the tournament, but they need to shore things up a bit more at the back.


Albania got off to the perfect start to their campaign when they were ahead against Italy inside the first 30 seconds but they couldn’t maintain that and ultimately went down but they certainly didn’t go without a fight and on another day something might have fallen for them which would have earned them a point. They certainly didn’t come with the look of a side who were just going to contain and nothing else and if they can build on that showing they would have a chance here.

You get the feeling that Albania will give this one a right good go because with Spain to come in their final match they are probably not going to get much joy out of that one so this is a big game for the men coached by Sylvinho. If they can find that bit of quality from out wide there was certainly enough from the Croatians in that opening game that suggests that Albania could get some joy but obviously they are going to need to leave the back door closed.

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Team News

Croatia will now be without Nikola Vlasic for the remainder of the tournament as he has sustained a muscle injury. Zlatko Dalic is likely to change things up after a poor opening performance with Borna Sosa among those to come in.

Albania forward Jasir Asani picked up an ankle issue in the loss to Italy over the weekend and although he initially missed training he is expected to be fit to feature in what could be an unchanged side named by Sylvinho.


I would expect Croatia to win this match but I’m certainly in no rush to get involved in them at the price after the below par performance that they put in against Spain in their opening match but if they do win this game then their attacking players are obviously going to be a key part of the game. Albania weren’t too shabby in their first game and might come on now they have dealt with the emotion of tournament football and things but they couldn’t handle the attacking midfielders of Italy and that is a concern.

It makes me think that the 13/8 on Mateo Kovacic to have more than 1.5 shots in this match is a huge price. He had three of them against Spain, an opponent where he was in direct opposition with his Manchester City teammate Rodri and there is nothing in the Albania holding midfield department that rivals him. You would expect he’ll get licence to get forward as often as possible with Marcelo Brozovic shielding the defence because as well as winning, Croatia could do with denting the goal difference damage of the opening game. Kovacic only played in four of the qualifying matches and he had two or more shots in three of them. He certainly seems to be popping up in shooting range a lot more these days and with Croatia having the emphasis of being on the front foot, off the back of having more of the ball than Spain did in their match, I think the City midfielder can get a couple of shots away.


Back M.Kovacic – Over 1.5 shots for a 3/10 stake at 2.63 with Betfair