Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
After suffering a 1-0 loss to Slovenia in their opener, Croatia will be looking to return to winning ways in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers when they take on Cyprus at Stadion HNK Rijeka. The Croats failed to impress in the opening match of their qualifying campaign, but the World Cup finalists are seen as hot favourites to beat Cyprus on home soil. Despite the defeat in Ljubljana, Zlatko Dalic is unlikely to make changes to the starting XI.
The Cypriotes, on the other hand, played out a goalless draw with Slovakia in their opener, but they will have a much bigger fish to fry against Croatia. Since Zlatko Dalic’s men are a real force to be reckoned with at home, we predict that the visitors are going to return Nicosia empty-handed. When the two teams met in a friendly seven years ago Croatia defeated Cyprus 2-0.
Highlighted Player (Luka Modric):
Luka Modric is regarded as one of the best central midfielders in world football. The Croatian ace is a product of Dinamo Zagreb’s youth school and it has to be noted that he played 94 league games for the Modri between 2003 and 2008. In 2008 he signed a six-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £16.5 million.
Luka made his Tottenham debut on 16 August, 2008 in a 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough at Riverside Stadium. The Croatian star scored only 13 goals in 127 league appearances for the Spurs, but he is well known for his brilliant passing. In 2012 he signed for Real Madrid for a fee of £30 million and he made his debut against Barcelona in the 2012 Spanish Super Cup, return leg.
Modric quickly established himself as a first-team regular and, no doubt, he helped the capital club win two Champions League trophies (2013/2014, 2015/2016). You should bear in mind that he was named Croatian Footballer of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Highlighted Team (Cyprus):
Cyprus’ first match took place back in July, 1949, only one year after they became a member of FIFA. The Cypriotes played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Maccabi Tel Aviv and seven days later they played their first international game. Cyprus suffered a 3-1 loss to Israel in Tel Aviv back then and in November, 1960 they had their first official match as an independent country.
The Cyprus national football team shared the spoils with Israel in the 1962 World Cup qualifier and three years later they recorded their first international win (3-1 over Greece). Cyprus suffered their biggest loss on May 21, 1969, with the team losing to West Germany 12-0 and in 2000 they hammered Andorra 5-0 which is considered the team’s biggest win.
The Cypriotes have yet to qualify for the finals of the FIFA World Cup or the European Championship, but their victory over Bosnia in Zenica in the Euro 2016 qualifiers will be remembered. GSP Stadium in Nicosia is considered the national team’s home ground.