Croatia vs Wales Preview: Prediction, Probable Lineups, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

Croatia and Wales begin their journey towards UEFA Euro 2024 with a grand qualifier with the aim of finishing top of the group.

Croatia defied the odds at the 2022 FIFA World Cup to have another deep run into the grand competition. Having reached the Final of the 2018 edition, the Europeans made sure of a third-placed finish in Qatar, which was possible due to the presence of veteran stars.

While Dejan Lovren has since retired from international football, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic show no signs of slowing down. Manager Zlatko Dalic will be happy with the presence of the two experienced stars as they offer more hope for their qualification rounds.

Croatia come into the Wales game with a formidable record of losing just once in their last 13 games. The sole defeat came against Argentina in the semi-finals of the World Cup, as they have momentum on their side to take the front foot in the group.

Wales will begin their qualification journey without the talismanic presence of Gareth Bale. The former Tottenham and Real Madrid forward recently announced his retirement from professional football. Aaron Ramsey will take over the captaincy of the team.

Robert Page will hope to lead the side differently without Bale. And the first objective would aim at getting a foothold in their group. In the context of these rounds, Wales are theoretically second favourites to hosts Croatia. But they will be expected to finish second in the group.

They have never won against Croatia at the international level. They have lost each of their last three games against them since a 1-1 draw, back in 20002. For now, Page will aim at getting a good start in this journey and put behind their dismal performances at the recent World Cup.

Team News & Tactics


Croatia will have no issues with squad fitness, with Zlatko Dalic able to call upon his best possible players. The manager will keep the shape in an attacking style, with a 4-3-3 widely expected to take the field. Dominik Livakovic squashed all doubts many had with good performances at the World Cup.

So with him in goal, Croatia will have a familiar back four in place. Josip Juranovic will take his place at right-back, while Borna Sosa will remain on the left-hand side. Star defender Josko Gvardiol will continue to lead the backline and have Josip Sutalo as his partner.

Marcelo Brozovic remains well-placed to sit at the base of the midfield. He will have Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic on either side of the three-man unit. Modric will wander a bit forward in an attacking midfield role as the game progresses, with the other two covering the ground in the centre.

Star attacker Andrej Kramaric will start from the right side of the front three, with Perisic likely to take his place on the other flank. Marko Livaja will lead the line for Croatia.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Livakovic; Juranovic, Sutalo, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Kramaric, Livaja, Perisic


Robert Page saw two of his key stars pull out through injuries ahead of the qualifiers. Tottenham star Ben Davies and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey are out of the squad, while Nottingham Forest attacker Brennan Johnson remains a significant doubt.

The latter will be assessed before the game, as his selection has come under a significant cloud. Hence, we will predict the lineup without the forward on the side. Leicester City keeper Danny Ward will start in goal, with a back four of Neco Williams, Chris Mepham, Joe Rodon and Connor Roberts.

Ethan Ampadu will sit at the base of midfield alongside Joe Morrell. Ramsey will take up the no.10 role ahead of the dup and have Fulham pair Harry Wilson and Daniel James on either wing by his side. Kieffer Moore will lead the line for the Welsh as they hope to get the upper hand early in this qualification round.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ward; Williams, Mepham, Rodon, Roberts; Ampadu, Morrell; Wilson, Ramsey, James; Moore

Key Stats

  • Croatia have won their last three home matches against Wales in all competitions.
  • Croatia have scored at least two goals in their last three home matches against Wales in all competitions.
  • Croatia have lost once in their last 13 international games.
  • Wales have never won against Croatia in an international game.
  • Their last positive result was a 1-1 draw in 2002.

Player to Watch

Aaron Ramsey

After the disasterclass at the Qatar World Cup, there was an innate feeling the ‘Golden Generation’ era of Wales was about to end. The retirement of Gareth Bale also leaves them short of a talismanic figure in the attack, with the team relying so much on the forward in many previous years.

Considering the overall quality, the team looks particularly weak, but they will focus on new captain Ramsey. The experienced star will have to use his leadership skills to guide Wales past difficult tests, starting with the Croatia clash.


Croatia 2-0 Wales

These are two sides coming into this clash in contrasting forms. While Wales had a sub-par World Cup campaign, Croatia maintained their international standards and produced an excellent tournament. The quality available in both teams would naturally suggest which direction the result might be headed.

Wales have also come here without two key players, while Croatia have the full house of first-team stars available. The bosts are the obvious favourites to take three points and keep a clean sheet, with the likes of Josko Gvardiol marshalling their defence.

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