Part of the reason for Andrea Pirlo's fine display against Spain was the work done around him by Thiago Motta and Claudio Marchisio.
The two were quick to close down the midfielders in front of them, allowing Pirlo freedom and time on the ball. Motta is often seen as a merely ugly enforcer, but he has evolved as a player with time.
On Thursday, Motta will be detailed to handle Luka Modric, Croatia's most important player. Modric may not always be easy to track because he plays deep and only sporadically makes forward runs. He drifts laterally a great deal and if he drags his marker with him, it could leave space in the middle for his teammates to exploit.
Modric's passing to the flanks is vital, and like in the game against Ireland, gives Croatia thrust in attack. Motta will have to stay on his toes.