Spain news

Casillas: Croatia play like us

Spain captain praises Slaven Bilic's side

ESPN staff

Casillas: High praise for Croatia© Getty Images

Spain captain Iker Casillas has commended Group C rivals Croatia for their style of play ahead of the two nations' Euro 2012 showdown on Monday.

The reigning world and European champions are currently joint-top of the group alongside their next opponents but both could yet face elimination from the competition, with Italy facing Ireland in Monday's other fixture.

And despite Spain impressing on their last European Championship outing against Giovanni Trapattoni's side, recording a 4-0 victory, Real Madrid goalkeeper Casillas insists Croatia represent a difficult obstacle for him and his team-mates.

"I expect this to be a very good game - it could well decide the group winners," Casillas said. "They've got good attacking players like Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic and they play a similar style of football to us.

"I expect it to be very open with lots of chances for both teams and I hope we can come out on top."

Casillas also revealed that Spain's triumph at Euro 2008, when the country ended their 44-year wait for a major title, was more memorable for him than lifting the World Cup two years later.

"I felt more intense emotions and joy at the 2008 Euros," Casillas said. "It was my first major title with the Spanish national team and that's when I fulfilled my childhood dream."

Spain have never previously met Croatia in a competitive fixture, their last meeting coming in a friendly in 2006, which Spain won 2-1 thanks to goals from Mariano Pernia and Fernando Torres.

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