Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
David faces Goliath at Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb as Croatia and Malta go head to head in the World Cup qualifier. The Croats quickly bounced back from a heart-breaking loss to their neighbours Slovenia, with the team beating Cyprus thanks to Mario Pasalic’s goal. Zlatko Dalic’s men aim to overtake Russia in top position in the standings, and we are positive that they will go all guns blazing at the minnows.
Even though Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric is likely to be rested in Tuesday’s qualifier, home win should be considered. Besiktas defender Domagoj Vida should be recalled to the starting XI, as well as Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic. Malta, on the other hand, did well to hold Slovakia to a 2-2 draw in their second group game, but given their shaky defence, anything but a routine home win would be a major surprise.
Highlighted Player (Ivan Perisic):
Ivan Perisic is a Croatian football player born on 2nd of February 1989 in Split. Perisic started his football career in the youth of Hajduk Split where FC Sochaux discovered him by a very young age. After playing for FC Sochaux, Club Brugge, Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg Inter Milan transferred him for approximately 17 million euro.
Perisic made his debut for the Croatian national team in 2011. Perisic played in all big tournaments so far such as the EURO 2012 and the World Cup 2014. In several EURO 2016 qualification matches Perisic was the captain of the national team.
Perisic is known for being a strong right-footed attacking midfielder. Because of his strength and vision it’s hard to win a duel against Perisic. One of Perisic’ biggest weaknesses is his lack of technique which is required to play for the biggest football clubs. Perisic won several prizes in his career but didn’t always play a big role in them. In season 2010/2011 Perisic was topscorer of the highest Belgian football division scoring 22 goals.
Highlighted Team (Malta):
Back in 1957 Malta played their first international match. The Falcons faced Austria in their debut on the international stage and they suffered a 3-2 loss to Das Team in front of home fans in Gzira. The Malta Football Association joined FIFA in 1959, while joining UEFA the following year and they have been competing in the qualifiers for the major tournaments since 1962.
The Knights of Malta have yet to participate at the finals of the showpiece tournaments, but they often claim major scalps in the qualifying matches. Malta recorded their biggest win (7-1) against Liechtenstein on March 26, 2008, but a win over Hungary in the Euro 2008 qualifiers is considered their biggest achievement.
Speaking of friendly games, it has to be noted that Malta did remarkably well to beat star-studded Ukraine in Graz on June 6, 2017, with Zach Muscat scoring the winner for the minnows. In December 1983 the Maltese suffered their heaviest loss as they were crushed by Spain 12-1 in Seville.