Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Wales will be keen to beat Croatia in Cardiff on Sunday night, as a win for Ryan Giggs’ side will take the Welsh within three points of their Group E table-topping opponents. Wales also have a game in hand on Croatia. If the Welsh lose, Croatia will have confirmed their own qualification, leaving Wales to fight it out for second spot in the group, and a play-off place, with Slovakia and Hungary, with two games remaining.
Wales may have to do without midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who is trying to recover from the thigh injury that ruled him out of last week’s draw with Slovakia. Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has no injury concerns ahead of the game.
Wales vs Croatia Prediction: Wales 1-2 Croatia
Our prediction for this game is that Croatia will win 2-1, though the Welsh will push them hard all the way. Home advantage and a passionate Cardiff crowd will give Wales something of a boost, and they may well take the lead in the first half. In the end, though, the overall quality of the Croatians, especially when it comes to ball retention and in attack, will see them home. It looks set to be an exciting game, though, and there is sure to be plenty of passion on display, both on the pitch and in the stands.
Our recommended tip: Croatia, both score
Our featured tip for this game comes from Betway, who are offering odds of 17/4 on Croatia to win and both teams to score. We think that those odds offer exceptional value, especially given how strong a side Croatia are. We also suspect that Wales will take the lead before the Croatians work hard to gain control of the game and then win it. The Croats have plenty to play for, with a win guaranteeing their place at Euro 2020. That provides powerful motivation and the Croatian team is full of born winners who know how to get the result they need.
Wales have never beaten Croatia in five previous meetings, drawing one of those games and losing the last four encounters. The draw came in the first senior meeting between the countries, back in 2002, when the teams drew in Varazdin. The most recent meeting between the teams was in June earlier this year, in the reverse of this fixture. The teams met in Osijek with the home side running out 2-1 winners. Jamie Lawrence scored an own goal and Ivan Perisic added a second for Croatia earlier in the second half, before David Brooks scored in the 77th minute for Wales.
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Players to watch: Kieffer Moore & Luka Modric
Wales striker Keiffer Moore scored his first international goal for Wales last week in the 1-1 draw in Slovakia. The six foot, five inch all Wigan Athletic striker headed Wales into the lead after just 25 minutes in Trnava, vindicating Ryan Giggs’ decision to give him his first start in a competitive international. The former lifeguard and personal trainer offers something different in attack for the Welsh.
Croatia’s Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric remains a key man for Zlatko Dalic’s team. The diminutive central midfielder is an expert at retaining possession and sparking his team’s creativity, and can also weigh in with a goal from time to time. He opened the scoring after just five minutes in the Croatians’ 3-0 win over Hungary last week. If Wales do take an early lead, as we have predicted, expect Modric to start demanding the ball as he looks to inspire his team.