Wales at Croatia
|Date & Time||Saturday June 8, 2019, 9:00 AM (EDT)|
Gradski Vrt Stadium
Croatia -188, Wales +550, Over 2.5 (+125), Under 2.5 (-163)
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Croatia is welcoming Wales in round 3 of Euro Cup qualifications.
Croatia has had an amazing World Cup in Russia last year where they ended up second behind France. Since then, Croatia has been struggling a bit to get into good form and we are yet to see what coach Dalic has been doing for this past week. In their last game against Hungary, Croatia was a huge favorite, but Croatia was better only in ball possession with 65% while they had only 2 shots on goal and 85% of correct passes. Croatia ended up losing this game 2-1 after scoring first in the 13th minute of the match. Croatia has a lot of problems with injuries and it will be interesting to see which players will be in the starting lineup. Rakitic, Kalinic, Rog, Vlasic, Rebic, and Bradaric are all injured and will not be playing. Croatia has a lot of depth and plenty of talented young players like Halilovic, Barisic, Brekalo and first-time national team player Dario Melnjak. Croatia is in the group with Slovakia, Wales, Hungary, and Azerbaijan and is still the favorite to win this group despite losing against Hungary in game 2. Croatia is ranked as 5th in FIFA standings mostly thanks to last year’s World Cup and if they don’t get into good form soon, Croatia might lose a few spots. An interesting fact is that when playing in Osijek, Croatia has never lost a game.
Wales is a solid team with some great players like Bale, Allen, and Ramsey. Wales has won each of their last 2 games, both with 1-0. In their last game against Slovakia, Wales was decent with 42% of ball possession, 4 shots on goal, and low 78% of correct passes and have won with an early goal from Daniel James. Wales is ranked as 19th national team in FIFA standings but I don’t think they deserve to be that high because their game style is not good and Wales is mostly forced to defend. Both Bale and Allen are expected to play in the starting lineup while Ramsey is injured which is a huge blow for this Wales squad. Wales is not an overly offensive team and has scored only 1 goal in each of their last 4 games and in this pretty strong Group E, Wales will compete for second place with Slovakia and Hungary. One of the best soccer players in history and Wales legend Ryan Giggs was signed as a Wales head coach back in January of 2018., and during that period Wales has won 5 games, lost 5 games while 1 game ended in a draw. Considering he was brought to this position to improve Wales’ offense and make them more dangerous to other teams, I would say that Giggs is not doing a good job and if things don’t change soon, Giggs will most likely get fired.
Head to head, Croatia and Wales have played 3 times with Croatia winning all 3 of those games. Croatia has played their last 5 games with at least 3 goals while Wales has played 4 of their last 5 games with less than 2 goals. Despite all the injuries in Croatian squad, I believe that Croatia has a better team and more quality and will get another nice win here in front of their fans.