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WC Qualification Europe

  • 7 June 2013
  • • 19:15
  • • Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb
  • Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
  • • Attendance: 25016
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Strachan is missing several key players

Croatia - Scotland Preview: Strachan targets first Group A victory

Strachan is missing several key players

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Gordon Strachan has a host of injury concerns ahead of his side's clash against the nation who currently sit second in the group, level on 16 points with first-placed Belgium

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

CROATIA

Pletikosa
Srna, Lovren, Simunic, Strinic
Sammir, Rakitic, Badelj, Kovacic
Eduardo, Mandzukic
SCOTLAND

McGregor
Hutton, Hanley, Martin, Whittaker
Bannan, McArthur
Snodgrass, Morrison, Maloney
Griffiths

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan has a host of key players missing for the clash as Darren Fletcher, Steven Fletcher, Kenny Miller, Scott Brown, James Forrest, Charlie Mulgrew, Danny Fox, Lee Wallace and Gary Caldwell are all ruled out.

West Brom midfielder James Morrison has been named as Scotland's captain for the tie.

"It's going to be hard. The squad is young. Some of our players don't even play European football, so it's imperative they get some kind of training for big games," Strachan said.

"But, for all our hard work, we know we are playing against world class players."

Croatia are missing two key players in Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka, who are both suspended.

Dinamo Zagreb's 16-year-old starlet Alen Halilovic, who has been linked with a number of top European clubs, is included in Croatia's squad.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Scotland are bottom of Group A, having drawn two of their six games and lost the other four.
  • Croatia are level on points with Belgium at the top of Group A. Both sides are on 16 points, having won five and drawn one.
  • Alan Hutton is the most-capped player in Gordon Strachan's squad with 31 appearances.
  • Alen Halilovic could become Croatia's youngest-ever senior international if he features against Scotland.
  • The home side's last defeat in a World Cup qualifier came against England in September 2009.
  • Stipe Pletikosa and Darijo Srna are set to earn their 103rd caps.

Players to watch

M. Mandžukić

Position: Attacker

Games: 12

  • 4
  • 1
  • 1
The 27-year-old has impressed in his debut season at Bayern Munich and his movement inside the box should cause Scotland's makeshift defence a number of problems. With the visitors set to be on the back foot for the majority of the tie, Mandzukic should get plenty of chances to boost his tally.

J. Morrison

Position: Midfielder

Games: 6

  • 1
  • 1
  • 0
With a number of key players out, the responsibility of captain rests with the West Brom midfielder. Despite having just 26 caps, Morrison is one of the more experienced players in the Scotland side and after a solid campaign under Steve Clarke at the Hawthorns, the 27-year-old will need to be at his best in order to contain Croatia's attacking threat.

Editor's Prediction

Scotland have little to play for other than pride and with Gordon Strachan without a number of key players, his side are likely to be pegged back in their own half for the majority of the tie. Croatia have looked impressive in qualification so far and with Mario Mandzukic firing on all cylinders, this should be a comfortable victory for Igor Stimac's men.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Croatia

Scotland

Wins
0
3
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Croatia HRV
Croatia Croatia
Draw
Scotland SCO
Scotland Scotland
84%

Top 3 Predictions

Croatia HRV
2 - 0
Scotland SCO
Croatia HRV
3 - 0
Scotland SCO
Croatia HRV
3 - 1
Scotland SCO

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