Mata wary of Croatia threat

Midfielder insists Spain will play for a win

Juan Mata: Wary of threat posed by Croatia ahead of final group game

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Spain midfielder Juan Mata is expecting a tough encounter against Croatia on Monday night, highlighting midfielder Luka Modric as a particular threat.

Both sides need something from their final Group C clash to be sure of reaching the knockout stage of Euro 2012, with Italy two points behind them and favourites to beat the already eliminated Republic of Ireland.

Chelsea midfielder Mata will be facing plenty of familiar players from the Premier League, with the likes of Modric and Nikica Jelavic based in England, and he knows it will be a dangerous match.

Dangerous

"Croatia are playing very well," Mata, who is still waiting for his first taste of action at Euro 2012, told Marca TV.

"They have very good players that I know from the Premier League.

"Luka Modric is dangerous and we will have to keep a close eye on him."

Croatia opened their Euro campaign with a 3-1 win over the Republic of Ireland and then came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Italy, while Spain drew by the same scoreline with Italy and brushed aside the Irish 4-0.

Mata expects his team to take three points against the Croatians, a result that would see the defending champions progress to the last eight as top of Group C.

"We are going for the win," Mata said. "That is what we always do.

"We are in good form and looking forward to play this third game.

"We know the fans are enthusiastic and they expect another win."

Anything but a win for Italy against Ireland in the other group game would see Croatia join Spain in the quarter-finals.

Should Croatia and Spain draw and score at least four goals between them, Italy would not be able to catch them.