Our football match prediction:
Croatia will be looking to bounce back from a shocking 1-0 loss to Turkey when they welcome Finland at Stadion Gradski vrt in Osijek. The Croats sit in top position in Group I, but seeing that they are level on points with second-placed Iceland, this has to go down as a must-win game for the hosts. Coach Ante Cacic has a number of top-class players to choose from and we predict that the likes of Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic are going to prove their worth on the field. Finland head into the match following back-to-back wins over Iceland and Kosovo, but considering that they have little to play for against Croatia, home win should be considered. You should bear in mind that the Vatreni are eyeing their fourth consecutive home win in the process after their defeated the likes of Iceland, Ukraine and Kosovo.
Highlighted Player (Nikola Kalinic):
Nikola Kalinic is a product of Hajduk Split’s youth school. The 187-cm-tall striker scored 32 goals in 59 appearances for Hajduk at senior level and he played for the likes of Pula and Sibenik in Croatia as well. In 2009 he moved to Blackburn Rovers for fee of £6 million. Nikola Kalinic made his Blackburn Rovers debut against Sunderland on 22 August, 2009 and he scored his first goal for the Riversiders against Peterborough United in the League Cup. After making 44 league appearances for Blackburn Rovers, the Croatian attacker joined Dnipro in 2011 and he played for the Ukrainian outfit until 2015. Kalinic signed a four-year deal with Fiorentina on 15 August, 2015 and he impressed in the 2015/2016 Serie A campaign, scoring 12 goals in 36 games. The Fiorentina striker made two appearances for Croatia at the 2016 European Championship in France and it has to be noted that he found the net in a 2-1 win over Spain in the group stages of the competition.
Highlighted Team (Finland):
Finland national football team played their first international game before the World War 1. The Finns were beaten by fellow Nordic side Sweden (2-5) on October 22, 1911, but eleven years later they recorded their biggest ever win on the international stage. Finland outclassed Estonia 10-2 in Helsinki and, speaking of their heaviest defeat, the team suffered a 13-0 loss to Germany in Leipzig during the World War II (1940). Finland national team became a member of FIFA back in 1908, but they have yet to qualify for the finals of the major tournament. The Finns did not participate in the European Championship finals as well, but several top-class footballers were part of their national football team in the past. Former Liverpool ace Jari Litmanen scored 32 goals in 137 appearances for Finland and Sami Hyypia is yet another notable footballer who played for the Eagle-owls. The colour of Finland’s home kits is white, while they play their away games in blue shirts and blue shorts.