Armenia host Croatia on Monday, in a game where a lot is on the line. Both teams need to win, but they also can’t afford to lose, which guarantees an interesting tie. The most recent game between the two nations ended 1-1, despite Croatia dominating.
Qualification Group D is one of the toughest groups, yet Armenia sits in third place with 7 points (the same number as Croatia who are in second place). They have seen both teams score in each game and their most impressive performance came away to Wales, winning the game 4-2.
When Armenia play, you are guaranteed to witness an exciting tennis like game with plenty of action at both ends of the field. Take their most recent 1-1 draw with Turkey as an example. The game saw 32 shots, 13 on target, 13 corners and six yellow cards, pure entertainment. This attacking first philosophy is a breath of fresh air, and I don’t expect their approach to change versus Croatia. Promising attacker Grant-Leon Ranos and Lucas Zelerayan must continue to link up if they are to achieve success.
Croatia were favorites to finish top of Group D when the groups were drawn, and they are on course to finish where they were predicted to. Although they’re in second place with 7 points (3 points behind Turkey), they have only played three games in qualifying which is two games less than first place.
This week, they faced a Latvia side that didn’t provide much of a challenge and Croatia ultimately swept them away 5-0. That result means that they have won consecutive games whilst keeping a clean sheet, and they will hope to take that statistic to three games. Croatia produces so much elite talent for such a small nation and with one of the best spines in international football (Josip Sutalo, Josko Gvardiol, Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric and Andrej Kramaric,) they should have enough quality to beat Armenia.
As mentioned, Croatia have too much quality to not win this game, despite Armenia being a tough opponent. We should see goals in this game but with the likes of Modric, Croatia should be able to control the tie much better than those who Armenia have played already.
The final prediction is Armenia 1-2 Croatia.