It is to be or not to be for Wales, as they host the vice-champions of the world, Croatia this evening.
Ryan Giggs, who failed to guide Wales at a major international tournament as a player, will try to do so as a coach, as he desperately needs a win against group leaders Croatia to keep his EURO 2020 hopes alive.
The Dragons are heading into the game with only seven points on their account and a game in hand compared to their rivals for the second place on the table – Hungary (9 points) and Slovakia (10 points).
A defeat for Wales would practically end their hopes for a second consecutive appearance at the European Championships.
Croatia, on the other hand, is one win away from officially booking their place at the UEFA Euro. They travel to Cardiff on the back of a 3-0 win against Hungary last Thursday.
The game will take place at the Cardiff City Stadium, starting at 20:45 (CET) this evening.
Liverpool youngster Harry Wilson, who is playing at Bournemouth on loan this season, is expected to return in Ryan Giggs’ starting XI, after starting on the bench in Slovakia.
Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic could name the same side which began the fixture against Hungary, three days ago.
FULL-TIME | 🇸🇰 1-1 🏴| #SVKWAL
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) October 10, 2019
This means Mateo Kovacic would start at the bench again, as Dalic’s midfielder trio was consist of Modric, Brozovic and Rakitic.
Talk to the press
Gareth Bale admits Croatia are the favorite, but he also believes that Wales could beat anybody in Cardiff.
“We’ve had some great results against big teams at home. We believe in ourselves. We feel no matter who we come up against we can come up with a plan to beat them,” he said according to BBC.
“We have great players and a great team, and if we put in a performance we can beat anybody.
“Croatia are the favorites. They are one of the best teams in the world – especially after their World Cup performance. But being underdogs doesn’t change anything. We will always try and set up to win the game.
🏴🇭🇷 #Croatia arrives to Cardiff
— HNS (@HNS_CFF) October 12, 2019
“We haven’t been looking at the table too much, to be honest. We all know if we win all three remaining games we should qualify and that’s our mindset, that’s our ultimate aim. We want to get to another major tournament and give it another go.”
Wales have never beaten Croatia in five previous meetings, drawing one and losing each of the last four.
The Dragons have won each of their last four home games in all competitions, last winning more consecutively between May 1991-March 1993.
Gareth Bale has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last nine competitive home games for Wales (8 goals, 2 assists).
Croatia have opened the scoring in all three of their away games so far in Euro 2020 qualifying, but have only gone on to win one of those games (D1 L1).