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Euro 2016 Qualifiers: Croatia vs Bulgaria preview

Kick off: 10 October @19:45 CET

Venue: Maksimir (Zagreb, Croatia)

Head to head record

Bulgaria vs Croatia 0-1 (Euro 2016 qualifier)
Bulgaria vs Croatia 1-3 (2006 World Cup qualifier)
Croatia vs Bulgaria 2-2 (2006 World Cup qualifier)
Croatia vs Bulgaria 1-0 (Euro 2004 qualifier)
Bulgaria vs Croatia 2-0 (Euro 2004 qualifier)

Croatia

Last 5 matches

Norway vs Croatia 2-0 (Euro 2016 qualifier)
Azerbaijan vs Croatia 0-0 (Euro 2016 qualifier)
Croatia vs Italy 1-1 (Euro 2016 qualifier)
Croatia vs Gibraltar 4-0 (International friendly)
Croatia vs Norway 5-1 (Euro 2016 qualifier)

Team News

New coach Ante Cacic left Dejan Lovren (30/2), Ante Rebic (10/1), Gordon Schildenfeld (23/1) and Mijo Caktas (0/0) out of the squad for games vs Bulgaria and Malta.

Star striker Mario Mandzukic has since withdrawn due to a thigh injury, with in-form Nikola Kalinic widely tipped to replace him in the starting line-up.

Ivica Olic and Mateo Kovacic are back after serving respective one-match bans against Norway. Josip Pivaric is expected to start at left-back after recovering from injury.

Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Subasic – Srna, Vida, Corluka, Pivaric – Kovacic, Modric – Perisic, Rakitic, Pjaca – Kalinic.

Bulgaria

Last 5 matches

Italy vs Bulgaria 1-0 (Euro 2015 qualifier)
Bulgaria vs Norway 0-1 (Euro 2016 qualifier)
Malta vs Bulgaria 0-1 (Euro 2016 qualifier)
Turkey vs Bulgaria 4-0 (International friendly)
Bulgaria vs Italy 2-2 (Euro 2016 qualifier)

Team News

With Bulgaria having lost all chances to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals, coach Ivaylo Petev has decided to call four uncapped footballers – Anton Nedyalkov, Anton Karachakov, Georgi Kostadinov and Asen Georgiev.

Important midfielder Ivaylo Chochev (4/0) has withdrawn due to injury, whilst Georgi Milanov (26/2) is rated doubtful. The good news is that forward Ivelin Popov (56/10) is fit to play.

The Bulgaria coach faces serious selection problems due to the fact that Svetoslav Dyakov, Yordan Minev and Ilian Mitsanski are all suspended for the Croatia game. Ivan Ivanov (39/3) is back after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Probable starting line-up (4-4-1-1): Mitrev – Z. Milanov, A. Aleksandrov, Ivan Ivanov, Nedyalkov – Nedelev, Slavchev, Zlatinski, G. Milanov – Popov – Rangelov.

Interesting Facts

*The match is played behind closed doors. Croatia need a win to stay in contention for automatic qualifying berth. Home win is available at 1.33 (1/3).

*Bulgaria are missing four first team regulars, with some very inexperienced footballers to take their place. Croatia are 1.97 (32/33) for a half-time/full-time win.

*Bulgaria failed to score in three of last four matches. Home win to nil pays 1.77 (7/9).

[fixture match_id=”3930161752874608273238853″ type=”odds”]

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