Our football match prediction:
Croatia kick off their preparations for the 2018 World Cup finals with a game against Peru. The Vatreni will face Mexico and Senegal as well before taking on Nigeria in their World Cup opener and, no doubt, Zlatko Dalic's men want to be on top of their game when they square off against Peru at Hard Rock Stadium. The Peruvians did well to beat New Zealand in the play-offs and, as a result, they will participate at the showpiece tournament in Russia. The South Americans are undefeated in previous ten games in all competitions and it has to be noted that under 2.5 goals were scored in each of their last four matches. Seeing that Croatia look sharp at the back, yet another low-scoring affair is on the cards and we predict that two teams are going to play out a draw in Miami.
Highlighted Player (Zambrano):
Carlos Zambrano is a 26-year-old Peruvian footballer who represents Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt. The talented centre back is often credited to be one of the most promising defenders coming from his nation. Zambrano is well known for his strong tackling and excellent defensive organization capabilities. Starting his youth career with Cantolao, he was quickly snapped up by Bundesliga team Schalke 04. He was a regular starter for their youth team and was soon made the captain. He was a cornerstone of their defence and was soon promoted to the first team of Schalke. In 2012, he signed on to play for Eintracht Frankfurt and has already represented them in more than 80 matches. Zambrano made his senior debut with Peru in 2008. He was chosen to represent the team in 2011 Copa America only to see an injury clamp his participation. Zambrano has represented Peru in 43 games so far scoring four goals.
Highlighted Team (Croatia):
While the national football team of Croatia also played international matches between 1940 and 1944, they only resumed their duties in 1990 after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia. Vatreni enjoyed a remarkable start on the international stage, winning the third place on their first ever World Cup appearance in France in 1998, while crashing out in the group stage at the 2002, 2006 and 2014 tournaments. Croatia also reached the quarter-finals at the 1996 and 2008 European Championships, proving they are rightly considered one of Europe’s top sides at the start of the 21st century. Long-serving captain Darijo Srna is their most capped player with over 130 appearances for the national team, whereas former Real Madrid striker Davor Suker is one of their most famous players and top scorer with 45 goals. Other notable footballers to have played for Croatia include Luka Modric, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic. Miroslav Blazevic and Slaven Bilic are the coaches that have been behind team’s biggest success stories up to date.