Ukraine takes on the visitors Croatia at “Olimpiyskiy Stadium” in the closing gameweek 10 of the Europe’s Qualifiers Group stage for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. The match will be played in Kyiv on Monday, October 9th.
Last Friday Ukraine managed to beat Kosovo 2:0 under the pouring rain and get to the third place in Group I. With nine qualify rounds behind, Andriy Shevchenko’s side shares the second-third places with Croatia having gained 17 points with 13-7 goal difference. The upcoming clash would be a decisive one for the Ukrainians in terms of hunt for the second position in their group. Ukraine conducted four encounters at its own turf in this qualifying cycle, having earned 10 points with seven goals for and one goal against in them.
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After 1:0 triumph over Ukraine at the home ground in March, the Croatians have completely failed the second lap within the group. The statistics speaks louder than words: 0:1 defeat from Iceland with the single goal conceded on the 90th minute; a tremendously difficult 1:0 victory over Kosovo which is the outsider of Group I, 0:1 loss to Turkey in the fight which was full of goal moments though without any effect and finally 1:1 draw against Finland with a goal conceded on the 90th minute. As a result, instead of confident lead in the group and direct promotion to the World Cup’s final stage, Croatia shares the second-third places in the table with only 17 points earned and 13-4 goal difference allowing maximum to participate in the Promotion Play Offs. Croatia picked up six points with 7-2 goal difference in four away matches in this qualifying campaign, having broken the group outsiders and lost to the direct rivals.
Ukraine and Croatia have spectacular head-to-heads history not be means of quantity, but a quality of their battles. The rivals met seven times with the entire balance in them: two victories in favour of each side and three draws. Croatia beat Ukraine 1:0 in the first lap of this qualifying cycle which means that the hosts need only a win in the forthcoming game and I believe that Ukraine won’t lose.
Prediction for the match: Ukraine to win with 0.0 Asian handicap.