Wales - Croatia Preview: Qualification hopes for Coleman's side hanging by a thread

A win for the hosts will see them close to four points behind Igor Stimac's men with four matches to go, but defeat will effectively end their already slender hopes


Gunter, Ricketts, Williams, Davies
King, Ledley, Collison, Bale 
Bellamy, Robson-Kanu
Srna, Corluka, Vida, Strinic
Vukojevic, Radosevic
Modric, Rakitic

Mandzukic, Jelavic

Chris Coleman should not have to contend with too many injuries for the visit of Croatia, but two key men will definitely miss out.

A red card against Scotland means Aaron Ramsey will be unavailable, while Joe Allen (shoulder) is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

However, Coleman does have some good news as Gareth Bale and David Vaughan are both available.

Igor Stimac will likely make changes to the side that beat Serbia, with veterans Ivica Olic and Josip Simunic both appearing against Sinisa Mihajlovic's side, while the latter is also carrying a knock.

Defender Simunic has been given the all-clear to play, but Stimac may not risk the 35-year-old and instead pick Domagoj Vida, while Olic's replacement will most likely be Nikica Jelavic.

Elsewhere, Niko Kranjcar (knee) is expected to miss out meaning that Josip Radosevic could take his place, or Mateo Kovacic may play in a slightly different role.

  • If Wales pick up a win on Tuesday, they will be four points behind Croatia with four matches to play.

  • After the win over Scotland, a victory against the Croatians would see Wales complete back-to-back competitive wins for the first time since Gary Speed's final two matches in charge.

  • The last time the two sides met, Igor Stimac's side came out on top with a 2-0 win.

  • Croatia dominated proceedings when they faced Wales in October, maintaining 76 per cent of possession.

  • Tuesday's match will be only the second time these sides have played each other in competitive competition.

  • Josip Simunic, Stipe Pletikosa and Darijo Srna could all win their 102nd caps against Wales.

  • Sixty per cent of Wales' goals in this qualification campaign have come in the final 15 minutes of matches. Croatia, however, have not scored at all in that section of matches.