Croatia takes on the visitors Greece at “Stadion Maksimir” in the first-leg clash of the Europe’s Qualifiers Play Offs for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. The match will be played in Zagreb on Thursday, November 9th.
The Croatians were considered to be the main contenders for direct promotion to the Mundial’s final stage before the start of the Qualification campaign, however, having failed the second lap, they managed to settle just one the second place in Group I. Only 2:0 triumph over Ukraine in the very last round allowed Luka Modric and his teammates to finish the cycle sitting on the second position in the group standings with 20 points earned and 15-4 goal difference, having lost the first place to Iceland. It should be noted that the Croatians have been beaten not a single time in front of their supporters in this cycle, having gained three victories and two draws with six goals for and two goals against in five home encounters played.
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In their turn, the Greeks stayed ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the back-to-back wins over Cyprus 2:1 and Gibraltar 4:0 at the finishing line of the qualification. As a result, the side occupied the second position in Group H with 19 points taken and 17-6 goal difference just behind Belgium. It may sound strange, but “The Hellenes” look better on the road than at the home pitch, having got three victories and two draws with 9-3 goal difference in five away games.
The rivals’ head-to-heads history is quite long and consists of six clashes covering single Croatia’s triumph, three draws and two wins of the Greeks. It is worth mentioning that Greece has not been defeated by the Croatians for 20 years already since the 30th of April 1997. I believe that the time has come for Croatia to break that unlucky run as currently it has much stronger squad comparing to “The Hellenes”.
Prediction for the match: Croatia to win.