Preparations for this summer’s World Cup start to ramp up this week as two of it’s participants come face to face when Croatia welcome Senegal to Gradski Vrt. A combination of neither side being full of goals in recent outings and none of the players wanting to risk injury ahead of this summer’s festivities means we do not anticipate a particularly attacking game. With this in mind, we think that backing there to be less than 2.5 goals scored offers the best chance of a decent return.
The FA’s of both of these nations obviously had the opening World Cup fixtures in mind when arranging this friendly as the hosts will face off against Nigeria whilst the visitors will face off against World Cup hosts, Russia. With the similarities in the way each side plays obvious for all to see, it will be interesting to see which of these two nations adapts the best and gets the final result.
Croatia were more than competitive against Brazil in the first 45 minutes of the match at Wembley but in the second stanza the tournament favourites seemed to up their game and exposed many of the weaknesses Croatia have in the back four.
Zlatko Dalic’s side have managed just one goal in last four matches, a remarkable record given that they have such excellent creative talent in their midfield. However, with the World Cup on the doorstep, it remains to be seen if they can up their game.
Their chances of doing this on Friday are limited by a Senegal side who have proven to be very tough to break down. They have conceded just two goals in last six matches but, like their hosts, have struggled in front of goal. Senegal will head into this off the back of consecutive goalless draws against the likes of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Luxembourg.
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This is the first time these two nations have met since Croatia formed their national side in 1990 following the split from Yugoslavia.
Matej Mitrovic, Marko Rog and Mario Pasalic were all cut from the 23 going to Russia this summer but Mario Mandzukic should be fit after recovering from a knee problem.
Papy Djilobodji, Armand Traore, Henri Saivet and Oumar Niasse have all been dropped from the provisional squad.