WC Qualification: Croatia vs. Russia

31 Aug 2021
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14.11.21 - 15:00 CET

Both Croatia and Russia beat their opponents in the second-to-last matches of the qualification, with the Russians beat Cyprus 6-0 at home after a poor first half and the Croatians winning 7-1 in Malta. Croatia need to win at Poljud, otherwise their opponents will become direct qualifiers for the World Cup.

The Croatians only lost points to Slovakia (2:2) in four home matches, which cost them the leading position, but in the remaining matches in front of their own fans they did not fail and even did not concede a goal. Poljud has been cursed for the national team for a long time, but last time Croatia beat Slovenia 3:0 after an excellent performance and the good news is that the stadium has been sold out for a week now (30 000). A rejuvenated defence will probably get some space in this match as well, with the only notable missing being the absence of midfielder Kovacic. Another thing that speaks in Croatia's favour is the fact that in its history they have played seven similarly important matches in the fight to qualify for a major tournament and has succeeded six times. The current value of the home team's squad is twice as high as that of the visitors, and with the support of the home fans, it could be done this time as well.

Despite the big win, coach Karpov wasn't completely happy with his team's performance and he wasn't happy about the injury of defenseman Terechov either. It is expected that the visitors could start with up to three defensive midfielders, which could significantly blunt the offensive appetites of the home team. Russia has never beaten the Croatians before, but this time they don't really need a win and a draw is enough. However, it happens to the guests that they stumble in similar important matches and it must be admitted that their game-play is not quite the same.

In the first match there was a 0:0 draw. In this case, I believe in home team, which has enough quality to win and win Croatia's sixth participation in the World Cup.

Croatia @ 1.65 (bet365)

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