Gareth Bale is having one of the toughest times in his entire career as a professional football player, and now he will do his best to prove to everyone that he has that something which made him one of the best players in the world a couple of years ago.
Even though Bale had a lot of injuries in the years before, he is still one of the players that sows fear in opponents’ defenders. Zinedine Zidane made it clear to everyone, especially to Bale, that he does not count on Welsh star, and even on last game for Real Madrid in La Liga, he does not put Bale into the game.
“If I think a player doesn’t fit in the team, I have to do what I think works best. No one can change what Bale has done for the team, but as a coach, I have to live in the present. I make these decisions when it is right to do so, and I must act in the best interests of the team at all times,” he said.
Ben Davies from Wales had played a couple of days ago in the finals of the UEFA Champions League against FC Liverpool, with his current club Tottenham. While in Croatia, a couple of players had a great season. Dejan Lovren won the Champions League with Liverpool, Mateo Kovačić won UEFA Europe League with FC Chelsea, and Ante Rebić played in the semifinals of Europe League against Chelsea, with Chelsea getting through on penalties.
Vatreni looked a little bit shaky in the last match in UEFA Nations League, where they lost against England with 2-1 on Wembley, and after that, they won with 2-1 against Azerbaijan after they were 1-0 behind after 10 minutes of the game, and after that, they lost against Hungary with 2-1. We could say that this is not in style of the team who played in finals against France of World Cup 2018 in Russia.
Ryan Giggs team have three wins in last five games. Last two they won against Slovakia and Trinidad and Tobago with minimum score 1-0. Unlike Croatia, Wales played just one game in European qualifications, and they are in second place with three points in one game, and it was against group leader Slovakia.
Ivan Rakitić, Ante Rebić, Nikola Vlašić, Marko Rog and Filip Bradarić have withdrawn their obligations to the national team due to injury, while recently mentioned Dejan Lovren and Mateo Kovačić will join the squad late, while they had obligations in their clubs (UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Europe League winners).
Ben Davies returned to the squad, after postponing his operation, and Aaron Ramsey will miss this match because of injury. Wales is coming in this match with four players that have zero caps for National team.
* Croatia won three of their last four matches against Wales (1D), last two wins Croatia made in World Cup qualifications.
* One of the biggest problems for Croatia is their defense. They kept just one clean sheet in the last 13 fixtures.
* Wales has kept a clean sheet in 4 of their last 10 matches across all competitions.
* Croatia has kept a clean sheet in 1 of their last 10 matches across all competitions (including World Cup semifinals, and finals).