Croatia – Slovakia
The World Cup finalists Croatia host Slovakia in Rijeka in a match from Group E of the European qualifying campaign.
For Croatia this is a final in this group, because they are going to finish first if they win on Saturday. Right now the Balkan side is leading the group with two points advantage in front of the second Hungary with both teams having just one match until the end.
We can’t say that the Croatian team had exactly flawless performance in the group so far. In seven games played, the Vatreni have four wins, two draws and one loss. After their terrific performance at the World Cup, we probably expected them to be a little bit more dominant, especially in a relatively easy group like this one.
In the previous round Croatia only won a point during their visit to Wales in Cardiff. Nikola Vlasic opened the score for the visitors after just 9 minutes of playing, thanks to an assist from Bruno Petkovic. Once again it was Gareth Bale, who equalised for the Dragons at the end of the first half. If the Vatreni had won this game, they would be group winners right now.
Meanwhile Slovakia are third in the group with 10 points, but with solid chances for the second place. Right now the Falcons are just two points behind the second Hungary, but with a game in hand. The problem is that one of these two games is extremely difficult – against Croatia away from home.
In the previous round Slovakia could have done better, because they only won a point during their home game with Wales in Trnava. Kieffer Moore got Wales ahead in the result, while Juraj Kucka equalised for the Falcons after the break.
That’s what we had to say about the European qualifier between Croatia and Slovakia on Saturday. This game is important for both teams, so let’s see how they are going to approach this.