World Cup qualifiers: Wales v Croatia match preview

A look ahead to tonight’s World Cup Qualifier at the Liberty Stadium

Wales manager Chris Coleman will be hoping for another invaluable three points as his Welsh side chase Group A’s pacesetters Belgium and Croatia. Following their win at Hampden Park on Friday, Coleman’s side have now won three from their last four and will be hoping to further their prospects of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

However, the only Welsh defeat in their last four games came at the hands of the Croats – a 2-0 defeat in October 2012. With Gareth Bale expected to be fit, Coleman is now instead focusing on his injury crisis in central midfield.

Following Aaron Ramsey’s late dismissal against Scotland in Glasgow, Wales now have five central midfielders unavailable. The Arsenal midfielder joins Collison (knee), Vaughan (groin), Allen (shoulder), Edwards and Croft (both hamstring) on the sidelines. Tudur Jones has been called up as a replacement.

With Bale set to play, this game heralds his reunion with former Tottenham teammate Luka Modric. The midfield maestro, who left north London for Real Madrid last summer, dictated much of the reverse fixture and has been pinpointed by Coleman as the man to watch. “On his day, he is unstoppable”, the Welshman conceded.

 

KICK-OFF: Tonight, 7.45pm

 

PAST THREE MEETINGS...

Croatia 2 (Mandzukic, Eduardo) Wales 0, World Cup Qualifier, October 2012

Croatia 2 (Rakitic, Gabric) Wales 0, International Friendly, May 2010

Croatia 1 (Petric) Wales 1 (Davies), International Friendly, August 2002

 

STATS...

Last October, Wales had just three attempts on target, to Croatia’s 17.

Wales have only qualified for the World Cup on one occasion, reaching the Quarter Finals in 1958.

Croatia’s eight goals so far in this campaign have been scored by seven different players (Mandzukic has 2)

 

ODDS...

Wales to win: 5.9

Croatia to win: 1.74

Draw: 3.85

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee