Super disappointing that Croatia couldn’t beat Slovakia at home. Now, we absolutely must beat Russia in our last game at Poljud next month. I’ll write more later. I’m annoyed now.
The Vatreni play a pivotal World Cup qualifier against Slovakia in Osijek Monday night with only three matches remaining in the campaign. Croatia are currently tied atop the group with Russia but have a superior goal differential going into October’s last international game.
Croatia has dominated Slovakia over the past two years. In two Euro qualifiers and one World Cup qualifier last month, the Vatreni have won all three matches: 4-0, 3-1, 1-0. That’s 8-1 on aggregate over 270 minutes of play which is quite the considerable gap in talent.
Russia plays a hungry Slovenia side on Monday that must gun for all three points against the Russians to keep their World Cup hopes alive. Croatia are heavy -235 favorites in Vegas to beat Slovakia while Slovenia are slight +150 favorites to defeat Russia. Regardless, if the Vatreni handle business in Osijek, they will remain in the driver’s seat to qualify directly to the 2022 World Cup.
In a CroatiaWeek article this weekend, manager Zlatko Dalić announced that he will be making two changes for the Slovakia match. Domagoj Vida will replace Duje Ćaleta-Car in defense and Mario Pašalić will start in place of Mateo Kovačić (yellow card suspension).
It’s also been noted that 19 year-old wunderkind Luka Sučić will be joining the senior team for this match after playing for the U21s on Friday. Expect Sučić to get on the pitch at some time in the 2nd half, especially if Croatia has the lead.