Euro 2024 qualifier: Croatia vs Wales verdict, predicted score, key stats and suggested bets

Wales head to Split to face Croatia in a Euro 2024 qualifier without their retired talisman Gareth Bale and with a number of other key players missing.

Date, KO time and TV coverage

Euro 2024 qualifier, Group D, Saturday, March 25, Kick-off 7.45pm, live on S4C and Viaplay Sports 1

Predicted score

Croatia 2-0 Wales

Suggested bets

Croatia to win to nil

Croatia vs Wales under 2.5 goals

Key stats

Croatia are unbeaten vs Wales in their six meetings

Wales have not won in eight games since they qualified for the World Cup, losing six

Wales have scored just once in four games

Previous meetings

EC: Wales 1-1 Croatia, October 2019

EC: Croatia 2-1 Wales, June 2019

WC: Wales 1-2 Croatia, March 2013

WC: Croatia 2-0 Wales, October 2012

Fr: Croatia 2-0 Wales, May 2010

Team news

Bruno Petkovic is a doubt after picking up an injury in training and back-up keeper Ivica Ivusic is ill. Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic and Andrej Kramaric missed out on game time after the World Cup but are all back in the fold.

Ben Davies has withdrawn from the squad and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey is also missing Brennan Johnson (groin) requires further assessment.

Morgan Fox, goalkeeper Tom King, and forwards Liam Cullen and Mark Harris come into the squad.

Midfield trio Luke Harris, Jordan James and Ollie Cooper, as well as Cullen and Nathan Broadhead are all uncapped.

Recent form

Wales lost 3-0 to England in the World Cup group stage (Nov)

Wales also lost 2-0 to Iran in Qatar, but did draw 1-1 with USA

Croatia beat Morocco 2-1 in the World Cup third-place play-off

Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 in the World Cup semi-final (Dec)

What has been said?

Zlatko Dalic: "A big competition awaits us, but we must qualify for the European Championship first. We have quality, but we must be careful and concentrate on avoiding making mistakes.

"It would be a big competition for us because it is in Germany, and there would be many of our fans, so it would be a big challenge.

"I was in Germany in 2006, in Berlin. There have never been more Croatia fans at one game."

Rob Page on life after Gareth Bale: "It's still the same journey we are on, it's just that some of the players have retired.

"We want success. The biggest thing for us now is we don't just hope with the question, 'can we qualify?'.

"We believe we can. The biggest thing has to be the mindset in the changing room."


Wales start life without Gareth Bale looking to qualify for another major tournament.

Capped 111 times, Bale helped Wales reach back-to-back European Championships and a first World Cup since 1958.

The former Real Madrid man hit 41 international goals and he will be a huge miss.

Rob Page will need his youngsters to step up and fill the void, especially given that Chris Gunter, Joe Allen and Jonny Williams have also quit the international scene.

It will be Aaron Ramsey's job now to lead them and he will need all his experience to get past a talented Croatia side that reached the World Cup semi-finals.

Spurs defender Ben Davies is also missing, while Brennan Johnson could miss out and that would spell bad news for a side who have struggled for goals.

They have scored just once in four games, although they did net in the defeat toi Belgium last year and scored twice in a 3-2 reverse against Holland.

Those two results, on the face of it look more than respectable, but with key personnel missing, Cymru will do well to get anything from their trip to Split.

Croatia, who are ranked 21 places above Wales in the FIFA rankings, moved up to seventh after finishing third at the World Cup. They defeated Brazil en route to the semi-finals where they were eliminated by Argentina.

But there was a certain level of pragmatism from coach Zlatko Dalic, who has agreed to extend his contract until after the 2026 World Cup. Dalic's men, with Luka Modric pulling the strings, only once scored more than once before the 2-1 third-place success.

They were far from free-flowing except for the 4-1 win over a naive Canada side, who created and fluffed a whole host of chances. Before that, in the Nations League they only scored more than once on two occasions. So don't expect a cricket score in this Group D opener.

However, Croatia simply have a lot more quality available to them and they have a striker in Marko Livaja, who is bang in form.

The Hadjuk Split man has scored 17 goals in 25 league games and he will be a big threat playing ahead of the likes of Ivan Perisic; Brozovic, Kovacic, Modric and Kramaric.

The hosts will dominate possession and they should have enough quality to sink Wales and effectively leave Page's men fighting for second in the group.

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