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WC Qualification Europe

  • 16 October 2012
  • • 19:00
  • • Stadion Gradski vrt, Osijek
  • Referee: A. Tudor
  • • Attendance: 17500

Croatia - Wales Preview: Dragons looking to build on first win under Coleman

Croatia - Wales Preview: Dragons looking to build on first win under Coleman

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The former Fulham boss picked up his maiden victory at home to Scotland, but faces strong opposition against Igor Stimac's side, led by former Tottenham man Luka Modric



Strinic, Corluka, Simunic, Srna
Rakitic, Modric, Vukojevic, Perisic
Mandzukic, Jelavic


Gunter, Williams, Blake, Davies
Allen, Ledley
Bale, Edwards, Vaughan

Croatia have no new injuries or suspensions to worry about following their 2-1 win over Macedonia, so should name close to an unchanged side.

There will be Premier League representation from Nikica Jelavic, and former Tottenham duo Stipe Pletikosa and Luka Modric - though Pletikosa only made one appearance for Spurs.

Wales are set be captained by defender Ashley Williams again, after the Swansea defender recently replaced Aaron Ramsey as the man with the armband. The Arsenal midfielder will miss this clash entirely after picking up a succession of yellow cards to earn a suspension, with David Edwards replacing him.

The Dragons are still without several key players though, and Lewis Price is set to continue in goal as both Boaz Myhill and Wayne Hennessey are unavailable.

  • Wales picked up their first win under Chris Coleman (pictured right) against Scotland in their last outing.
  • The Welsh side have now scored three goals in Coleman's tenure, all of which have been courtesy of Gareth Bale.
  • Had Wales lost against Scotland, Coleman would have possessed the worst record of any Welsh national team manager with six defeats in his first six games.
  • Joe Ledley captained the youngest Wales side in history, as he led a team with an average age of 21 to a 1-0 friendly victory over Estonia in 2009.
  • Wales have only ever qualified for one major tournament in their history, the 1958 World Cup.
  • Croatia failed to attend the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after finishing behind both Ukraine and England in their qualifying group.
  • Nikica Jelavic has been in fine form for Everton, scoring 15 goals in 23 appearances since his arrival from Rangers, but has only scored four international goals.
  • Croatia's best-ever showing in a World Cup came in 1998, when they finished third with Davor Suker picking up the Golden Boot.

Players to watch

L. Modrić

Position: Midfielder

Games: 10

  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
The former Spurs man hasn't played as much as he would have liked following his move to Real Madrid in the summer, but expect him to be in his element at home in Croatia with perhaps something to prove against former team-mate Gareth Bale.

G. Bale

Position: Attacker

Games: 7

  • 4
  • 2
  • 0
The winger is on fire for his country, scoring six in his past seven games. It would be pretty difficult to argue against his status as his side's best player, after he went about winning the game against Scotland almost single-handedly. The most obvious source of a goal for the visitors, he will be one to watch.

Editor's Prediction

It should be a fairly tight game, with Wales' 6-1 loss to Serbia a bit of a flash in the pan. However, if Croatia can keep Gareth Bale quiet on the night (which is no mean feat), it would be hard to see anything but a home win.

Last Five Matches

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Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Croatia HRV
Croatia Croatia
Wales WAL
Wales Wales

Top 3 Predictions

Croatia HRV
2 - 0
Wales WAL
Croatia HRV
3 - 1
Wales WAL
Croatia HRV
2 - 1
Wales WAL