Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
There will be fireworks when Slovakia and Croatia square off against each other at Tehelne pole. The Slovaks aim to remain unbeaten in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, but this game will be anything but a walk in the park for the hosts. Veteran midfielder Marek Hamsik should keep his place in the starting XI, as well as towering Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar. Fortuna Dusseldorf attacker Robert Bozenik is likely to be deployed up front as a lone forward after finding the net in the 1-1 draw with Slovenia.
The Croats are still without key midfielder Luka Modric, but seeing that they looked solid at the back in the goalless draw with Russia, we predict that Zlatko Dalic’s troops are going to grab something from Saturday’s qualifier. You should bear in mind that in their last meeting in a competitive match Croatia defeated Slovakia 3-1.
Highlighted Player (Stanislav Lobotka):
Born in Trencin on November 25, 1994, Stanislav Lobotka is a Slovakia international who plays for Celta Vigo in La Liga. Lobotka began his youth career at his hometown club AAC Sparta Trencin and he made his senior debut for fellow local club Trencin. In 2013 he signed a loan deal with Dutch side Ajax, but he played for Jong Ajax during the 2013/2014 season.
In the summer of 2014, the Slovakian midfielder returned to Trencin, where he made 74 appearances in the league in total. In 2015 Stanislav Lobotka joined Danish side Nordsjaelland shortly before the transfer window closed. Lobotka made his debut in the Danish top flight against Brondby on August 30, 2015.
Two years later he decided to make a step forward in his career, signing a five-year contract with La Liga side Celta Vigo. Speaking of his international career, the Celta Vigo midfielder made his Slovakia debut against Austria in November2016. It has to be noted that Lobotka became the first Slovak to score at Wembley, finding the net in a 2018 World Cup qualifier against England.
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.