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Croatia vs North Macedonia: Preview, Prediction & Betting Tips

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      • (10') L. Majer
      • (45') L. Majer
      • (79') Marco Pašalić

        Croatia vs North Macedonia: Preview, Prediction & Betting Tips

        Croatia host North Macedonia in the first of two friendly matches scheduled in preparation for the upcoming European Championships.

        Date: 03/06/24

        Kick-off time: 18:00

        Venue: Stadion HNK Rijeka

        The Croatians were eliminated in the Round of 16 in Euro 2020, so they will hope to go a lot deeper into the tournament this time around. In preparation for the competition, they have a friendly game against North Macedonia, before taking on Portugal prior to their opener with Spain. Manager Zlatko Dalic has named an initial 35-man provisional squad which will be reduced to 26 in a couple of weeks. These friendlies allow him to get a good look at his players before finalising the team.

        Manchester City duo Josko Gvardiol and Mateo Kovacic will be hoping to put the disappointment of losing the FA Cup last weekend behind them, though key man Luka Modric will miss this game due to his involvement in the Champions League final. North Macedonia did not qualify for the Euros, finishing fourth in their group, but they did pick up an impressive 1-1 draw against England in their final fixture.

        Three wins in their last four has Croatia in good form. They have been inconsistent in front of goal, but could lean on the services of Osasuna striker Ante Budimir, who has scored 18 goals in all competitions this season. He played just twice in the qualifiers, but netted once. If he plays, he should be confident in adding to his tally against a defence who has not kept a clean sheet in six games. Andrej Kramaric could also enjoy some success off the back of a 15-goal season for Hoffenheim. North Macedonia have only been shut out twice in their last eight, so could also cause problems for the Croatian backline.

        These two countries have played each other eight times in history, though this will be the first meeting since 2012 in World Cup qualifying. Croatia won both group games 1-0 and 2-1. Former Everton and Hull City striker Nikica Jelavic and former Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic were amongst the scorers in these fixtures. They have won five games and lost one overall. North Macedonia’s only victory came during Euro 2008 qualifying, in November 2017.

        Team News


        Luka Modric will not be available due to his involvement for Real Madrid in the Champions League final at the weekend. Mario Pasalic will also miss out due to Atalanta’s Serie A fixture on Sunday. Premier League stars Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol have been named in the squad.

        North Macedonia

        Aberdeen striker Bojan Miovski is expected to play an important role, whilst Bundesliga pair Elif Elmas and Darko Churlinov have been called up. Enis Bardhi should captain the side.

        Form Guide


        In their last five games, Croatia have won three, drawn one and lost one. It has been a solid stretch for Croatia as they prepare for the upcoming European Championships. This run started in defeat, however, as they lost 2-1 at Wales in matchday eight of the European Qualifiers. The hosts scored twice early in the second half through a Harry Wilson brace, before Mario Pasalic halved the deficit.

        They got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win at Latvia in matchday nine. Both goals came early in the game, with Lovro Majer and Andrej Kramaric netting in the seventh and 16th minute. They restricted Latvia to just one attempt and zero on target in the entire game. They ended their qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Armenia. Osasuna striker Ante Budimir scored on the stroke of half-time, and this was the only goal of the game as they dominated in both shot attempts and possession. These results helped them to a second place finish.

        During the last international break, they faced Tunisia and Egypt in friendlies. The first against Tunisia ended in a 0-0 draw, but went to penalties. Croatia prevailed 5-4 in the shootout. Their most recent game was a 4-2 win at Egypt. Ramy Rabia put the Egyptians ahead early, but four unanswered from Nikola Vlasic, Bruno Petkovic, Kramaric and Majer gave Croatia a convincing lead. Mohamed Abdelmonem pulled one back in stoppage time.

        North Macedonia

        In their last five games, North Macedonia have won one, drawn two and lost two. It has been a poor stretch results wise, but they picked up an impressive draw against England. They started this run with their only win, a 3-1 victory against Armenia in a friendly. Aleksandar Trajkovski broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time, a lead which was added to by Milan Ristovski and Erdon Daci. Armenia pulled one back deep into second half stoppage time.

        They followed this up with a 5-2 defeat at Italy, in their penultimate European Qualifying game. The Italians took a three-goal lead into the break, though North Macedonia pulled two back through Jani Atanasov to drag them back into the game. They could not complete the comeback though, as Giacomo Raspadori and Stephan El Shaarawy restored their cushion.

        A surprising point in their final qualification fixture against England completed their qualifying campaign, though they ended fourth. They took the lead through Enis Bardhi shortly before half-time, but conceded the equaliser as Jani Atanasov converted into his own net 15 minutes into the second period. They drew once more against Moldova in a friendly. Bojan Miovski opened the scoring for them before half-time but they were pegged back late on by Vitalie Damascan. Their most recent game was a 1-0 loss at Montenegro. Jovetic’s goal in the 45th minute proved the narrow difference between the two teams.

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        Where to Watch

        Croatia vs North Macedonia will be available to watch on Premier Sports 2.