Croatia recently lost a home game to Scotland, but the defeat makes no difference as they are virtually qualified for the World Cup. Now they will take on Portugal in a friendly game, after their opponents stayed alive in the qualification race by defeating Russia 1-0.
Bet: Croatia 0:0 Asian Handicap
Odds: Pinnacle Sports 2.34
The friendly match against Portugal is the final one to be played by Croatia this month and the last serious one before the highly anticipated confrontation with Serbia. The rivalry between the two teams is skyhigh as the former Yugoslavia republics are still resentful and this promises to be more than a football match. Meanwhile they have a tall task ahead as Portugal has defeated them twice already and Croatia is yet to score a goal.
On the bright side, they didn’t have Eduardo and Mandzukic upfront back then and the midfield was not even remotely as competitive as the one coach Stimac counts on tonight. He will field an aggressive starting formation with two strikers and will try to bring his team back on track with a victory. Croatia won five games in a row and scored two goals in each official match while thrashing South Korea by four goals to none. Portuguese players lack motivation and the best proof is that they’ve drawn or lost most of the recent friendly games while barely scrapping the necessary points in the qualification campaign.
Portugal might have the better players, but they are hard to motivate and very likely to relax following the narrow victory over Russia. Odds of 2.34 with Pinnacle Sports for a Croatian victory are terrific and the Asian handicap further reduces the risks. If the game ends in a draw, the stakes will be returned.