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Wales vs Croatia Stats and Bet Builder Tips Preview

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Wales’ hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024 via the group stage will be dead and buried if they fail to get a positive result against Croatia on Sunday evening. Wales started their campaign with a 1-1 draw in Croatia, raising belief that they could get out of a difficult group without having to face the play-offs. However, summer defeats were harmful and they now find themselves needing positive results against Croatia, Armenia and Turkey.  

The job is far more straightforward for Croatia. Win in Wales and they’ll need a point from games against Latvia and Armenia to secure their place. A pivotal fixture for both nations, this is a game that deserves attention from UK audiences and we’ve broken down the key numbers for the game not only to provide you with reasons to watch, but also to win some money – follow on to see what we believe should be included in your Wales vs Croatia bet builder.  

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WALES vs CROATIA Predicted Lineups

No Ramsey for Wales 

Rob Page has often struggled to work out his best XI and his hopes of finding that have been hindered by injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Brennan Johnson. Their replacements from the side that beat Latvia 2-0 in the last qualifier are likely to be from Kieffer Moore, who scored a brace against Gibraltar in midweek, Daniel James or David Brooks. The latter was an unused sub in that game.

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Change likely for Croatian attack 

Unlike Page, Zlatko Dalic needed his side to be at their strongest earlier in the week when they took on Turkey, but they lost 1-0. Dalic is already without Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric, he decided to make three changes to his front line on the hour and two of those, Nikola Vlasic and Bruno Petkovic, could be given a starting berth against Wales. Another possible change could see Borna Sosa come in at left back for Borna Barisic.  

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WALES VS CROATIA TEAM STATS 

Wales struggling in the big games 

Wales’ struggles during this qualification campaign can probably be put down most to their performances against the best sides. In games against both Croatia and Turkey, they have managed a measly four shots with just one of those on target. In the same games, they have conceded 15 and 19 shots and five and eight on target. One thing they have been impressive with is drawing cards from opponents – they have drawn three or more cards in their last four matches, though against Croatia they drew just one.  

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Croatia dominant against lesser nations 

Croatia are one of the best European sides around and they are proving that against some of the lesser nations in the group. They have managed 17 or more shots in four of their five matches and had five or more shots on target every game. Their dominance largely shows defensively where games against Wales, Latvia and Armenia have seen them concede six or fewer shots and just six shots on target across all three matches.  

Team Stats 10

Wales vs Croatia Players to watch  

Wilson picking up the Bale role 

Replacing Gareth Bale is the impossible job for Wales. Replacing Bale and Ramsey even tougher. Harry Wilson is at least doing his best, now playing centrally more often and being given license to float and create. He has had a shot in all four qualifying matches with four of those seeing him try his luck at least twice, hitting the target at least once. Given he’s on most set-pieces too, it stands to reason he might be Wales’ best chance of hurting their loftier opposition.  

Kieffer gunning for Moore opportunities 

Kieffer Moore rolled up to their fixture with Gibraltar and bagged twice. It followed strong performances against both Latvia and Armenia, against whom he took ten shots. He has also had a shot on target in five of his last six starts and will hope to cause problems for the Croatian backline. As well as being an obvious attacking threat, Moore is competitive and finds himself on both ends of the referee’s whistle, committing a foul in 12 of his last 14 starts and being fouled in 11 of those.  

JJ making a spot his own 

Jordan James is the young pup of the Welsh side and is making a spot his own after a number of positive displays. He comes into this international break on the back of a first goal for Birmingham City since January and does have a knack for making late runs into the box. However, it’s his ability with the ball that makes him important for Wales, being fouled three times against Latvia while drawing fouls in each of his four starts at club level this season and seven of ten last season.  

Ageless Modric still doing bits 

Most footballers are retired by the time they reach Luka Modric’s age – instead, he’s still bossing football matches at the highest level like he’s in his mid-20s. A legend at club and international level, he’s still a huge threat for Croatia, managing a shot in 15 of his last 19 competitive starts, a shot on target in 12 and his qualifying record is impressive, managing a shot in four of five matches and hitting the target in three.  

Kovacic stepping up for Croatia 

To join Man City, you’ve got to be a decent footballer and Mateo Kovacic is definitely that. He perhaps suffers from the Mousa Dembele problem of being effective between the boxes rather than in them but he’s changing that mindset at international level, scoring two goals in qualifying already. He has had a shot in all four qualifying starts and two or more in three of those. He has also committed seven fouls in matches against Wales and Turkey – something else to look out for.  

Petkovic raring to go  

Croatia need somebody to step up in the absence of Kramaric and Perisic and Bruno Petkovic will hope to be that man. He has only had two starts during qualifying but has made the most of them, scoring twice against Latvia and managing seven shots in those games. His attempts to step up even led to him having two shots off the bench against Turkey in midweek.  

wales VS croatia Matchups to Watch

Harry Wilson vs Marcelo Brozovic 

Harry Wilson is arguably Wales’ best technician and his ability to manipulate the ball in tight areas will be important for his side. He knows how to draw a foul, doing so in all five qualifying appearances so far, popping up in all areas. He is likely to be marked by Marcelo Brozovic and the Champions League finalist loves getting stuck in – he has committed a foul in each of his last six competitive starts and 18 of his last 20 internationally, committing two or more in nine of his last 18.  

Ethan Ampadu vs Mateo Kovacic 

When you’re an underdog nation like Wales, you need a midfielder willing to clip heels and make the game a scrap and that’s what Ethan Ampadu provides – a talented technician with a dark side. He is a regular in the referee’s notebook, committing a foul in four of his five qualifying appearances and in ten of his last 11 starts for Wales. He will be up against the technically gifted Kovacic, who as noted above, has committed three fouls in matches against Wales and Turkey already and will want to stop Ampadu (and James) providing composure in the Welsh midfield.  

Josko Gvardiol vs Kieffer Moore 

Kieffer Moore will be hoping he gets an opportunity to get stuck into Gvardiol in the Premier League when his side plays Manchester City, but this could be his best opportunity to face the Croat who is rated as one of the best young players in world football. Moore is horrible to play against, committing a foul in 12 of his 14 starts while drawing a foul in 11. Gvardiol, meanwhile, has had his feathers ruffled more than once, receiving two yellow cards during qualifying. 

WALES VS CROATIA BET BUILDER TIPS AND PICKS OF THE PACK 

We have assembled a four-fold Wales vs Croatia bet builder for your consideration, load it into your betslip using the links below and as always, feel free to add any of your own selections to create your optimal bet builder.

Have a look at our Free Bets Page to extract further value from the bookies.

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Wales vs Croatia

Calendar 15th October
Football icon kick off 19:45
Football icon Luka Modric 1+ shots on target
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Modric has had a shot on target in 12/19 competitive starts and 3/5 in qualifying.

Croatia have had 5 or more shots on target in every game.

Wales have conceded 5 or more shots on target in games against the top two in the group.

Football icon Croatia 4+ shots on target
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Croatia have had 5 or more shots on target in every qualifying game.

Wales have conceded 5 or more shots on target in games against the top two in the group.

Wales also conceded 4 shots on target against Armenia.

Football icon Mateo Kovacic 1+ shots
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Kovacic has had one or more shots in all four qualifying appearances.

Croatia have had 17 or more shots in four of their five qualifying matches.

Wales have conceded 19 and 14 shots against Croatia and Turkey previously.

Football icon Chris Mepham 1+ fouls
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Mepham has committed one or more fouls in four of his five qualifying appearances.

Mepham has committed one or more fouls in 9 of his last 10 competitive starts.

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