Wales vs Croatia

March 25, 2013
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Flying high after the great comeback against Scotland, Wales aim to try and return into contention for a place at the World Cup by beating Croatia, but that is easier said than done. The Vatreni are brimming with confidence following a comfortable victory over bitter rivals Serbia and they arrive in Cardiff looking for their fourth successive win.

Promising display from Wales

There’s no denying that this is one of the most talented sides in the history of the national team, but the problem is they rarely manage to play to their potential. The lack of international experience is also proving to be a huge problem when playing some of the best teams in Europe, which was pretty evident in the 2-0 losses to both Belgium and Croatia. The 6-1 away defeat to average Serbia side was another huge blow to the players’ confidence, and while they did well to record a double win over Scotland, there is little reason to believe Wales can match very good Croatia side. Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who was by far the best player on the pitch against Scotland, is going to be sorely missed, whilst Gareth Bale is highly unlikely to be at his best having struggled with a stomach virus and ankle injury. Given that Craig Bellamy is also looking pretty average at the moment, Wales may not have enough quality players who are also in good shape to match Croatia in Cardiff.

Aaron Ramsey misses out through suspension, but Gareth Bale should start after resuming full training on Sunday.

Invaluable victory against Serbia

Given the history between Croatia and Serbia, and the huge pressure from the home fans, it was easy to understand why Vatreni were well below par on Friday, but the most important thing is that under-par showing did not prevent them from recording a 2-0 victory. After getting a huge weight off their shoulders, Croatia players should look much better in the match against Wales, the team they easily beat on home soil in October. With so many quality players in great form, namely Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic, Croatia will see this match as an excellent opportunity to put extra pressure on rivals Belgium, and they certainly look a good bet to record a fifth win on the bounce. Incredible team spirit, good balance in the side and absence of weak spots in the team are also reasons why away win looks on the cards.

Niko Kranjcar and Josip Simunic miss out through injury, with Domagoj Vida and Ognjen Vukojevic likely to be called into action.


Wales were utterly disappointing in all three matches against the top three sides in the group, and with Aaron Ramsey missing and Gareth Bale not fully fit, they face a mountain to climb in this match. Croatia are looking very good at the moment and if anything else fails, their huge experience should help them come out on top in Cardiff.

Top pick: Away win   1.75 (3/4) @ William Hill

Alternative pick 1: Croatia to score two or more   1.95 (19/20) @ Ladbrokes

Alternative pick 2: Croatia/Croatia   2.80 (9/5) @ 888sport

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