Croatia VS Turkey Match Prediction
The last meeting between the sides was extremely recently as they were drawn in the same group at this summer's UEFA European Championship. Croatia were not at their best but a single goal was enough to give them a victory as they moved through to the knock-out stages, while Turkey suffered an early exit from the tournament.
Croatia also got the better of Turkey during qualifying for Euro 2012, taking four points from their two meetings by winning 3-0 away and drawing 0-0 at home. Turkey have therefore failed to score in their last three games against Croatia.
Croatia were very good at Euro 2016 and it was a surprise to see they did not go further into the tournament, while Turkey were arguably the worst side at the finals and were lucky to have made it through qualifying. Croatia should therefore win this game - they have one of the best-looking midfields in Europe - although doubts remain over the suitability of Mario Mandzukic in attack.
Croatia are strongly favoured to get their qualifying campaign off to a winning start here but they can still be backed at odds of 4/7, which is appealing considering the quality of football they produced at Euro 2016 in the summer. Turkey are available at a price of 13/2, which is of little interest, while the draw does not appear to be particularly good value at 13/5 either.
Given Turkey have not scored in three games against Croatia, it may well be worth backing the hosts to keep a clean sheet in this match at 5/6, while they are 13/10 to win the game to nil.
Croatia coach Ante Cacic has named Luka Modric as the new national team captain ahead of this match, with the previous wearer of the armband, right-back Darijo Srna, having retired from international football following Euro 2016. Dejan Lovren has also been reintroduced to the squad after missing Euro 2016 following a row with Cacic. Mario Mandzukic looks set to start in attack.
Defenders:- Vrsaljko, Corluka, Lovren, Vida
Midfielders:- Badelj, Brozovic, Modric, Kovacic, Rakitic
Turkey coach Fatih Terim has responded to the team's poor showing at Euro 2016 by cutting star names such as Burak Yilmaz and Arda Turan, with a young squad selected for this opening World Cup qualifier in Zagreb. Emre Mor is a player touted as the future of Turkish football and he could get a chance to impress, but this is a young squad lacking in international experience. Manchester City's teenage striker Enes Unal, who is on loan at Twente in Holland, could get a start in attack.
Defenders:- Aziz, Calik, Kaldirim, Koybasi
Midfielders:- Sahin, Topal, Malli, Mor, Calhanoglu