Rakitic ready for world's best
Croatia playmaker braces himself for battle with Xavi and Iniesta
Last Updated: June 16, 2012 5:07pm
Ivan Rakitic: Looking to help Croatia into the quarter-finals of Euro 2012
Ivan Rakitic admits he will come face-to-face with the best midfielders in the business when Croatia tackle Spain on Monday.
Rakitic will line up in a Croatia side looking to book their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.
Unfortunately for them, reigning European and world champions Spain block their path.
Sevilla playmaker Rakitic will be among those charged with the task of trying to guide Croatia into the knockout stages, but he will find himself pitched into direct competition with Barcelona duo Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
"Who is the most dangerous of the two? It is difficult to say because they are the two best midfielders in the world," Rakitic told AS.
"If the two weren't together it would be better, but even if one fails there is still the other one.
"We have stop them somehow but it will be difficult."
A 2-2 or higher scoring draw would be enough to send both sides through no matter what happens in the other match in the group between Italy and the Republic of Ireland.
Everton striker Nikica Jelavic insists Croatia will still try to win the game, though, and possibly eliminate Spain in the process.
"The key will be to take advantage of our opportunities," he said.
"We are going to play like it was any other game, we are going to win without making calculations of what is happening elsewhere.
"For me before the competition started the favourites were the Spanish and the Germans. It is now the moment to throw one of those out of the competition.
"They are first-class players and I am happy to be able to play against them to see what level I am at. It will be a difficult match but we have a great chance."