- Venue: Stadion Rujevica
- Wednesday: November 16th, 20:45
- Referee: Clement Turpin
Ahead of this important Euro 2020 Group E qualifying game, both Croatia and Slovakia still have opportunities to cement a top-two position as the hosts seek to follow their runners-up performance in the Russia World Cup by sealing a berth next Summer’s tournament. The visitors have appeared in just two major tournaments and last featured in the 2016 Euros when beaten by Germany in the Round of 16. However, the Slovaks will remember the reverse fixture back in September at Trnava when losing 4-0 after Croatia had also struck the woodwork twice during the first half. Another tough game awaits Slovakia as the hosts aim to seal their qualification by earning at least a point in their final group game.
Since suffering a 4-2 defeat by France in the 2018 World Cup final, Croatia have subsequently incurred three competitive defeats including a 6-0 Nations Cup thrashing in Spain. Yet the Croatians can be a difficult team to beat on home soil with three victories earned in this group and at least two goals scored per match. However, a 3-0 home win against Hungary last month is one of only two clean sheets registered in their last eleven international fixtures, the other being in Slovakia.
Visitors Slovakia will be eager to avenge that heavy defeat by Saturday’s hosts and a victory will move them into the second position with one game remaining. The Slovaks can be an unpredictable team underlined by beating both Azerbaijan and Hungary on away soil but losing 1-0 in Wales. Current second-placed team Hungary have been beaten in both fixtures which proves the capability of Slovakia, but they also lost both games on their travels during Nations Cup action.
|06.09.2019||Slovakia 0:4 Croatia||ECQ|
|11.08.2010||Slovakia 1:1 Croatia||FR|
|16.10.2007||Croatia 3:0 Slovakia||FR|
|29.05.2004||Croatia 1:0 Slovakia||FR|
|16.08.2000||Slovakia 1:1 Croatia||FR|
Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida will both miss this game for Croatia due to suspension while Ivan Rakitic (achilles tendon), Majej Mitrovic (leg injury) and Andrej Kramaric (fitness issues) could be further absentees.
Matus Kozacik (unknown) is unlikely to feature for Slovakia this weekend while Laszlo Benes (ankle) was injured during Bundesliga action on Sunday. Norbert Gyomber is suspended for this game.
Despite Croatia winning four of their seven group matches to date, both teams have scored in five of those games with the Croatians conceding once in four of those matches. With suspensions ruling out a couple of key defenders from this clash, the hosts could prove vulnerable in defence yet again. Visitors Slovakia have failed to find the net in two of their six group games to date, but they may need to win this content to offer any hope of sealing qualification. A bold Slovak approach is expected, and so a good bet may be for Both Teams to Score priced at 11/10 with bet365.
A second pick is for Croatia to win and Over 2.5 goals scored offered at 11/8 by Bet365. That earlier 4-0 defeat may linger in the minds of the Slovakian team, and they will be aware of the useful home form of their hosts. All three Croatia home matches in this group have yielded thee goals with a home victory, and Slovakia must break that trend to seal all three points. Inconsistency has been a problem for the visitors in recent years, and despite their victory in Hungary during September, it will be difficult to claim a similar result against much stronger opposition.
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