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EURO 2024/ Croatia and Albania are preparing for a duel!

EURO 2024/ Croatia and Albania are preparing for a duel!

Punished by defeats from Group B heavyweights, Croatia and Albania both need a win in their clash on Wednesday to spark their Euro 2024 campaign and give them hope of qualification. .

Croatia have a rich history at the World Cup but have never replicated that at the Euros and began their latest effort with a disappointing three-nil defeat against Spain.

Albania, meanwhile, are in just their second major tournament and played well against defending champions Italy in their opener, building an early lead before going down 2-1.

Both teams are in dire need of points in their second leg at Hamburg's Volksparkstadion to compete for the two qualification spots or strengthen their chances of being one of the top four third-placed teams to go to knockout.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic wants more aggression and speed from a quality squad - from veteran midfielder Luka Modric, 38, perhaps in his last major tournament or classy defender Josko Guardiol, 22, at the end next of his career.

"We know what we are up against. We have two difficult matches. It's not over, keep your head up. Our goal is to advance from the group and we will do our best to achieve this," Dalic told a Croatian media that described it as do-or-die.

 "Everything is still in our hands, still under our control. We have to be better... It's up to me to turn things around, show the flaws and not dwell too much on the Spain game."

Despite being seen as underdogs, Albania topped their qualifying group against the likes of the Czech Republic and Poland and are not in the tournament for numbers.

Their Brazilian coach Sylvinho will try to keep his side disciplined before surprising Croatia - as they did against Italy with a goal after 23 seconds and almost again at the end when they narrowly missed an equaliser.

"I have seen other teams in this tournament. If you try to go head-to-head with them, they'll score five or six against you,” he said. "It's our second time here at Euro. We have young players, very good players, but it is not easy."

Right winger Jasir Asani is Albania's main threat in the country's first game against Croatia.


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