An important match comes in the final round of Group H. Croatia look set to enter the playoff round unless they can score a home win against Russia on Sunday night.
Preview of World Cup qualifiers
Both Russia and Croatia have at least the certainty of a place in the playoffs to enter next year’s World Cup. However, both will be more eager to finish Group H as Group H winners, which means an immediate landing to the big competition starting in 12 months.
Croatia would have been the clear choice to finish at the top of the table, as they were beaten as finalists in the last World Cup final. However, they have had a hard time throughout this group, and the two draws and one defeat they have achieved mean that Russia is the nation that holds all the cards for the final match. Croatia’s draw in the last international stop against Slovakia highlights the problems they had in qualifying, but a win against Russia on Sunday will mean that all of that is forgotten.
Russia enjoyed a good qualifying campaign. They have probably already achieved their goal of the top two players, which would have been their goal before a ball was kicked in Group H. However, they could do better than that this week and secure an automatic spot in Qatar.
Russia were the most consistent team in the group, having dropped to only one draw and one defeat in their games. The only defeat they suffered came against Slovakia, which would surely have been a big disappointment. The gap between the nations is two points, which means that only one victory for Croatia will be enough for them.
Croatia vs Russia head to head
This is not a game that has been played regularly, as it will only be the sixth time that Russia and Croatia have faced each other. Russia has yet to beat Croatia, as they have lost twice and drawn twice.
Croatia vs Russia prediction
The experience of the Croatian team will be tested in Sunday’s showdown. The hosts were expected to win the game, but Russia’s form has been very good up to this point. We could see visitors preparing for the draw, and this will be the outcome we could have foreseen.
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