Croatia aims to secure their spot at Euro 2024 as they face Armenia at Stadion Maksimir in their final Group D qualifying fixture.
Sitting atop the group, Croatia only needs to match Wales’ result to ensure their place in Germany. Meanwhile, Armenia, already eliminated, seeks a positive end to their campaign.
Croatia gained control of their qualification destiny with a 2-0 win over Latvia, propelling them to the top of Group D after Wales’ draw against Armenia.
With a win, draw, or even a loss provided Wales don’t win, Croatia can secure a direct qualification spot.
Coach Zlatko Dalic is wary of any complacency, knowing a slip could land them in the playoffs despite a guaranteed spot thanks to their Nations League performance.
Armenia, after holding Wales to a draw, was left with no chance of reaching the top two. Lucas Zelarayan’s goal against Wales was canceled out by an own goal, resulting in a draw.
Despite an earlier win against Wales, Armenia’s subsequent results didn’t propel them forward, leaving them out of contention for a major tournament appearance.
Injuries sideline Mateo Kovacic and Ivan Perisic for Croatia, while Bruno Petkovic and Nikola Vlasic are also unavailable.
However, Andrej Kramaric and Luka Ivanusec returned in the previous match. Josko Gvardiol might retain his place at left-back.
Armenia will miss captain Varazdat Haroyan due to suspension. Taron Voskanyan could replace him in defense. Lucas Zelarayan and Grant-Leon Ranos are expected to feature in the attack.
Stanisic, Sutalo, Erlic, Gvardiol;
Modric, Brozovic, Majer;
Pasalic, Kramaric, Ivanusec
Dashyan, Calisir, Voskanyan, Arutyunyan, Tiknizyan;
Sevikyan, Iwu, Spertsyan, Zelarayan;
Prediction: Croatia 2-1 Armenia
Although already eliminated, Armenia has proven to be a resilient opponent throughout the qualifying campaign.
Croatia aims to secure qualification but might face a tougher challenge than expected from Armenia, who lost the reverse fixture by just a goal.