Croatia look for their fourth straight win when they host a rattled Israel team at Osijek.
The Vatreni head coach Ante Cacic has called back a number of key place who were rested in their last friendly against Russia as he prepare for finishing touches to the team in their trip to the Euro Championship in France. Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and Real Madrid’s Luka Modric were rested in the trip to Russia, but the Croats grabbed a deserved 3-1 win on the night, evidently highlighting the quality and depth in the squad.
Israel are still without a head-coach and haven’t played a single match since the exit from qualifiers in November 2015. Despite starting well in the group stages by winning their first three matches, the managed just one win in their remaining 7 matches and finished fourth in a group included the likes of Belgium, Wales and Bosnia.
Croatia are coming on the back of three wins in a row. Their home form is pretty strong and are unbeaten in their last seven matches, with six of them being wins. Moreover they have only conceded 2 goals in the process and kept a clean sheet in five of those matches.
Israel are without a win in their last three matches and their last win came against minnows Andorra on September 2015. An extended form guide may read 7 matches, 1 win, 1 draw, five defeats.
Croatia: Team News
Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric are expected to start here, but may not play full minutes. Josip Pivaric and Marko Pjaca are sidelined for this match due to respective injury.
All eyes will be on Ivan Perisic, who is on red hot form at the moment after scoring four goals in the last four matches for Nerazzurri.
Predicted line-up (4-4-2): Kalinic – Srna, Vida, Leskovic, Mocinic – Rakitic, Modric, Brozovic, Perisic – Kalinic, Mandzukic.
Israel: Team News
Veteran midfielder Yossi Benayoun has been recalled to the national squad alongside Kenny Sayef and both will be set for a start at Osijek on Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, former Bolton Wanderers and Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim has been dropped from the squad.
Predicted line-up (4-3-3): Marciano – Dgani, Tibi, Ben Harush, Davidzada – Peretz, Yeini, Kayal – Zahavi, Hemed, Benayoun. Denmark vs Iceland:
Croatia vs Israel: Head-to-Head
Croatia are unbeaten against Israel in 8 matches and have won in their last four meetings. Israel’s best result against Croatia is a 3-3 home draw in February 2005.
The overall record reads 7 wins and a draw in favour of Croatia.
Croatia vs Israel: Prediction
Croatia look too strong for a football team of Israel’s stature and they will be looking to extend their win streak to four. While Israel’s focus will be on 2018 World Cup Qualifiers and this may be another routine win for the Croats.
With the Serie A duo – Perisic and Kalinic in good form and the aerial threat of Mandzukic, goals are expected in plenty, so this one could see over 2.5 goals.