As Euro 2024 qualifying intensifies, the stage is set for an electrifying showdown as Group D’s leading contenders, Croatia and Turkey, lock horns in Osijek. Both nations currently share the summit of Group D with 10 points each, yet Croatia boasts a game in hand and a psychological edge, having secured victory in Turkey earlier in the competition.
|Croatia vs Turkey Betting Tips|
Croatia’s Pursuit of European Glory
Croatia, runners-up in the 2018 World Cup and recent finalists in the Nations League, are on a quest to shatter the glass ceiling and clinch European glory in Germany next year. The national team, guided by Zlatko Dalic, is in transition as some of its seasoned stars near the twilight of their careers.
While luminaries like Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic may be approaching the end of their international journey, Manchester City’s Mateo Kovacic showcased his prowess with a brace during Croatia’s 2-0 triumph over Turkey in March. Nevertheless, Turkey remains a formidable opponent in the tightly-contested Group D.
In this group, only Latvia finds themselves stranded at the bottom without a point. Armenia and Wales, each with seven points after five matches, are ready to pounce should either Croatia or Turkey falter in the upcoming fixtures. Croatia aims to maintain its three-point buffer in the group’s crucial top two positions.
The Kockasti face a challenging trip to Cardiff this week before concluding their campaign against Latvia and Armenia in November. First on their agenda, however, is hosting Turkey, with whom they’ve previously drawn all three meetings on Croatian soil.
Turkey’s Regeneration Under Montella
Vincenzo Montella, formerly of Fiorentina and Italy, will make his debut as Turkey’s manager, ascending from his role as Adana Demirspor coach. The journey begins with a daunting encounter in Osijek, while a more straightforward clash with Latvia awaits on Sunday.
Stefan Kuntz’s dismissal as Turkey’s national coach was a turning point, as his team had recently stumbled against Armenia and Japan, overshadowing earlier victories against Latvia and Wales. Turkey, a nation that hasn’t graced the World Cup in two decades and made limited impacts in the European Championship since 2008, is now determined to assert itself on the international stage.
Tackling Croatia at home is a stern test of any team’s mettle, as the hosts have never lost a European qualifier on home soil, boasting an impressive record of 13 wins from their last 15 matches.
Croatia is led by the experienced Luka Modric, with Ivan Perisic sidelined due to an ACL injury. In his absence, Josip Brekalo could feature in the starting XI. Key defender Josko Gvardiol may miss the game against Wales if booked in midweek. Despite a preliminary squad reshuffle, there are several alternatives at Coach Zlatko Dalic’s disposal.
Turkey’s Merih Demiral will serve a suspension, leaving Montella with the task of selecting a central defensive partnership. Injuries to star players Arda Guler and Cengiz Under open the door for other talents. Kerem Akturkoglu is expected to provide creativity, and uncapped Juventus forward Kenan Yildiz may make an appearance. The captain’s armband is held by Hakan Calhanoglu, while the goalkeeping battle features Altay Bayindir and Ugurcan Cakir.
Croatia Possible Starting Lineup:
- Livakovic; Juranovic, Vida, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Kramaric, Petkovic, Brekalo
Turkey Possible Starting Lineup:
- Cakir; Celik, Ayhan, Soyuncu, Ozkacar; Yuksek; Kahveci, Kokcu, Calhanoglu, Akturkoglu; Yilmaz
Croatia vs Turkey Prediction
Croatia, recently confirmed as co-hosts for the 2032 Euros, seeks to solidify their position atop Group D with a home victory. In contrast, Turkey, under Montella’s management, faces a challenging transition period and is expected to endure defeat in this fixture. While Croatia strives for another home win, Turkey might find themselves in a three-way battle for the second spot.