Both Croatia and the Czech Republic are staring down the gun barrel as the final round of fixtures in Group D play approaches, and both could be without arguably their best outfield players come Tuesday.
Croatia could be without Real Madrid lynchpin Luka Modric as they take on Spain needing just a draw to ensure a spot in the knockout stage, while the Czechs are in a much more dire position and will most certainly miss captain and spark plug Tomas Rosicky for however far their tournament takes them.
Modric tweaked his groin in the second half of Croatia’s 2-2 draw against the Czechs on Friday, a game which saw the Croats leading 2-0 until Modric was withdrawn, at which point they collapsed amid fan unrest in the stands. He is likely to miss the final group stage game against Spain, and would be questionable from that point on.
On the other side of things, the Czechs have already ruled Rosicky out for the rest of the tournament as he suffered a torn thigh muscle in that same match. Team doctor Petr Zeman told media that Rosicky will need three to six weeks to recover, ruling him out at least until mid-July and possibly affecting preseason. Rosicky does not have a club yet after his contract at Arsenal was not renewed.
These injuries could have a large effect on how things shake out in Group D. Spain leads with a perfect six points, and they will take on Croatia who sits in second on four points. Should Spain defeat a Modric-less Croatia, that would leave the Czechs with an opportunity to take second place with a win over point-less Turkey. It’s highly likely a third-placed team with four points would advance, so even if Croatia drops to third – or if the Czechs win but don’t get the help they need – that team would almost certainly move on. Turkey could also finish third should they beat the Czech Republic without its captain, but advancing with three points would be a more unlikely scenario.