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Croatia Get Wales, Slovakia, Hungary & Azerbaijan In Euro Qualifying

December 1, 2018

euro 2020

 

 

Croatia may have just received their easiest qualifying group ever.

 

 

The Vatreni will face Wales, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan in Euro 2020 qualifying. The top two finishers in the group go straight to the 24-team tournament in the summer of 2020.

 

 

Qualifying begins in March and will conclude in November. Croatia’s first match will be at home to Azerbaijan on March 21st.

 

 

With such a light group, it will only push forward our younger generation to getting more playing time in competitive senior matches. Look for 2019 to officially showcase the U-21’s and what they will be able to do for Croatia in the next decade. Keep your eyes peeled for big things from Brekalo, Vlašić and Ćaleta-Car.

 

 

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Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 45 comments





  1. Bobby V says:

    Could not have worked out any better.

    Before each draw, you usually see what would be the most difficult and then the most easiest teams to get in your group.

    I think the latter finally came true. I think most fans could name only one player from the other 4 teams in our group – Gareth Bale.

    Did not think they would allow Kosovo and Montenegro in the same group – only possible security problem.



  2. KlopicK HRVATSKI says:

    Slovakia have Marek Hamsik and Hungary will be competitive sometimes we play down to the opposition and grind out a 1:0 result in Zagreb. Who knows Modric will be 35 then will Kovacic step up Coric and Halilovic still bench riders.



  3. Bozidar says:

    @Medo:

    We have one of the easiest group indeed, but no group is really tough as the top 2 teams will qualify anyway.

    By the way, I can’t figure out how Poland can possibly be a top seed and be grouped with just Austria, Slovenia, Macedonia, Latvia AND worst “Israel” which is not even an European country. This reeks of (((corruption))) again to crowbar teams that have absolutely no business qualifying at any Euro tournaments…



  4. NK Susak says:

    On paper, we should have a cakewalk to the euros. However, we always seem to make a mess of things halfway through qualifying. Will we top the group???Probably..But all 4 away games will not be easy. These are teams that will bunker and wait to hit on the counter which seems to be teams we struggle most with. The end of the Kovac era started in Baku when Azerbaijan held us to a goalless draw not too long ago.



  5. Jordan says:

    disagree with it being called the easiest group given the fact that 4 out of the 5 teams qualified for Euro 2016. Croatia, Hungary, Wales, Slovakia… but yes should still seal top spot without a doubt. Also tied Azerbijan 0-0 in Euro 2016 qualifying but beating them 6-0 as well



  6. Maminjo says:

    @Jordan
    That was because Prosinečki was coaching them, and also be cause Kovač was coaching us.

    I expect us to qualify easily.
    We always seem to easily beat those central European countries like Hungary, Czech, Poland, etc. I expect to easily beat both Hungary and Slovakia… with both those teams causing problems for Wales.

    We burned our Nations League tournament for this. We had better show that it wasn’t in vain.



  7. KlopicK HRVATSKI says:

    No ones commenting on Coric and Halilovic talent also Kovacic not getting game time not helping our future midfielder’s.



  8. Medo says:

    This group should theoretically give us an opportunity to see if our youngsters have the goods.
    I’m concerned more about the future of our back 4 than the midfield or forwards where we seem to be stacked
    Lovren and Vida are on their last legs…sime seems to have injury concerns…not sold on Jedvaj defensively
    Will Big Ben keep improving at Celtic and will his history of injuries persist ?



  9. Anonymous says:

    Time to give Coric, Halilovic , Brekalo, Vlasic , Kovacic , Pjaca , major game time , Modric , Rakitic getting old! I think we’ll have a decent run at Euro’s , but the World Cup trophy is the one everyone remembers and what we should be preparing our youngsters for, these kids will be in their prime by next one!



  10. NK Susak says:

    With only 8 games you have little room for error. You start all your big guns early and score as many goals as possible. This ain’t the time to be fucking around with possible future players. That time has passed and will come again. Dalic and these coaches know who is ready.



  11. Soul Champ says:

    Now we base form on club performance.

    You need to dominate for your club to be called up.

    Yes this group on paper looks “easy.”

    But I see all those teams competing.

    Dalić has to finally realize we need young hungry legs.

    Anyone too tired needs stay home.

    He also needs to learn how to discern who is fit and who is not?

    UNL blessed us as we got over the WC.

    Luka bust to Balon D’or!!



  12. Maminjo says:

    The players we called up in the past two Nations League games will do just fine.

    I would add in the two injured LBs in Sosa and Barisic. They probably would have played already if they weren’t injured.

    Brekalo and Vlasic are mainstays now.

    Any callups and changes can impact players on the subsitutions bench, but not the core players. Guys like Bradaric, Pivaric, Mitrovic, Milic, etc should all be on the bubble for guys like Benkovic, Krovinovic, etc (who are on the outside looking in).

    Maybe bring in Benkovic as a sub.



  13. Croat Canadian says:

    Does anybody know where the full schedule is yet?

    1st Croatia
    2nd Slovakia
    3rd Wales
    4th Hungary
    5th Azerbaijan



  14. Maminjo says:

    @Medo

    We’ve never had elite defenders, yet we always seem to give up the least amount of goals in UEFA qualifications for either World Cup or the Euros.

    Our style of play and strong central midfield makes up for it.

    But we do have some good young CB prospects. Benkovic and Caleta-Car alone are rated better than both Lovren and Vida at the same age.

    Fullbacks may be more of an issue.
    It might not be saying much, but Borna Sosa is better than any LB we’ve been using the past 10 years lol. Sosa does play well for the U21s and is a starter already at Stuttgart despite being 20. That’s a very good sign. We also have some young superstar LB (Čolina) that’s in some top-50 Euro prospects list, so I guess that counts for something.

    RB we still have Vrsaljko who is still only 26. If Jedvaj can grow a brain and get more consistency, we have him also at RB. Fran Tudor is actually a very solid RB too, not sure why he’s not playing at Hajduk.



  15. Maminjo says:

    Damn.

    I just Googled this young David Čolina left back of ours, and he left Dinamo at the end of the transfer window to join AS Monaco.

    That sucks. Dinamo is usually good at developing young talent. Age 18 is way too young to leave Cro. Oh well, another lost talent.



  16. vuki says:

    @Maminjo I still have faith in Colina. Monaco is a great place for young players. Look at their team from a couple of seasons ago that won the title and you will see what I mean.



  17. Soul Champ says:

    Wait a minute ..

    Time to have boring qualification and exciting major tournaments!

    Actually I will be eager to see which young guns are in form this March?

    If Mandžukić is still a banging in goals at this clip then he needs to be visited in Turin.

    Areas to be explored:

    LB
    RB
    RW
    CAM

    Curious to see if anyone is up to regulating this group?

    Better start off strong and have the rest scrapping for second place.

    Never have I been bored with watching our beloved Vatreni.



  18. Maminjo says:

    Nah.

    There is no incentive to play him.

    This is why I liked it when Mamic was around. There is NO WAY Mamic lets a talented player like this go for under several million Euro.

    Dinamo benefits from the sale (with a sizable chunk going to Mamic’s agency of course) and (more importantly) the player benefits as well, since the buying team will be under heavy pressure to develop the player (since they blew a large sum on him).

    It’s probably the reason why Borna Sosa starts for Stuttgart over some veteran Argentine they already have on the team. They dropped 8 million on him, he’d better pan out.

    Same with Pjaca. Juventus would not have aggressively looked for a loan partner that would benefit Pjaca and install a buyback option on the contract. If they bought him for a small sum, they wouldn’t care if he rotted on their bench, played on their primmavera squad or just loaned him out to whoever.

    Mandzo was also in the same situation with Wolfsburg where he had a major cold spell, but they kept starting him until he found his scoring touch again.

    In this case with David Colina…he was sold for under a million. Monaco’s manager probably doesn’t even know his name, let alone be under and sort of pressure to bring him to the first squad and actually play him.

    He is currently a benchwarmer on the Monaco II (development squad). Looks like he’s taking the Radosevic career path.



  19. Toronto Croatia Toronto Croatia says:

    Damn that group is so boring I dont know if I’d be Interested to watch the games. Hopefully the players are interested enough to play.



  20. Aussie Croat says:

    Must punish, steamroll, gazit all those teams.
    This should be a record goal scoring bonanza for Croatia.

    How fucking good is it that we’re seeded and don’t have to worry about any of the big guns? Keep winning and this is what we can get used to.



  21. Maminjo says:

    @KlopicK HRVATSKI

    The Portugal, Ukraine and Serbia group is not going to be interesting at all.

    Portugal, Ukraine and Serbia topped their League A, B and C groups, so they have another avenue to qualify after these qualifications.

    Serbia has a much easier avenue to go through the other League C teams than fight it out with Ukraine and Portugal. Scotland, Finland and Norway will be a cakewalk (and that’s assuming NONE of them actually qualify themselves for the Euros..if one of them does, then I believe their slot goes to an even worse League C team).

    Some players may start to look forward and plan for that instead (if their team dropped too far into third to even bother making that push).



  22. Maminjo says:

    @Croat Canadian

    The schedule nicely laid out on Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Euro_2020_qualifying_Group_E

    First game is March 21st: Home game against Azerbaijan
    Second game is March 24th: Away in Hungary
    Third game is June 8: Home game against Wales

    SUMMER BREAK

    Then we play the rest of the schedule in Sep, Oct and Nov.

    Interesting format.
    Hopefully our players are in form and ready to play after their vacations in the Jadransko More.



  23. Soul Champ says:

    21/03 Croatia – Azerbaijan
    24/03 Hungary – Croatia

    08/06 Croatia – Wales

    06/09 Slovakia – Croatia
    09/09 Azerbaijan – Croatia

    10/10 Croatia – Hungary
    13/10 Wales – Croatia

    16/11 Croatia – Slovakia

    Better have the hungry squad for Wales in June.

    Our veterans have played more soccer the last 2 years than any other top European players.

    We need to cause a breakthrough in goal scoring this campaign.



  24. Andrej L says:

    I think this group looks easy at first glance but there are plenty top tear players for both Slovakia and Wales; Skrtel, Skriniar, Hamsik, and Kucka for Slovakia. Allen, King, Ramsey, and Bale for Wales. Hungry and Azerbaijan are not the greatest but they can cause trouble for an away game. I hope the boys are ready to play because I don’t think any of these games are “gimmes”.

    In other news, Benkovic got the start over Simunovic over the weekend as Celtic won the Cup. Looking forward to seeing more of the U21s and less of Cop, Santini, and Livaja. Also, should be a decent battle at LB with Strinic, Barisic, Pivaric, and Sosa.



  25. The truth says:

    This is group is set up for people to start calling for dalic head. As usual, things look easy but Croatia never qualifies easy. Motivation will be lacking again and none of these teams will be a walkover. Don’t be shocked too see Croatia fighting to make this tournament



  26. KlopicK HRVATSKI says:

    Or Even miss out on the tournament like when we missed Euro 2000 after winning Bronze Medal at World Cup 1998.



  27. Anonymous says:

    Truth Troll with a specific (not covering all possibilities and hedging with “could/possible/might” prediction. Though, still a not at all an unlikely prediction based on history and our “lako ćemo” mentality.



  28. Anonymous says:

    It will be almost impossible for Croatia to NOT qualify. Why?Because the “playoff” for the final 4 spots now is based on the UEFA Nation’s League Standings, not these groups anymore. That means we are basically guaranteed of at least making the Euro playoff (even if we finish last in this group). We will therefore either:

    1. – Finish 1st or 2nd in this group, and qualify automatically (by far the highest likelihood) OR

    2. – Not finish in top 2, and then get into Group A’s UEFA League play-in games, since almost every other UEFA group A team will prob qualify directly and not need those playoff games to get in through the back door.

    So even if we finish LAST in Euro qualifying, we will almost for sure still get into the playoff via the Nation’s League. (Before you had to finish at least 3rd in your group to get to the playoff. not any more)



  29. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    Someon said that we always beat those central European teams. He is forgetting that we drew against Hungary and against Czekia. This qualifying group will be difficult to win. Those teams can play stingy defense. Wales and Slovakia actually have some quality players too. The matches against Wales will be exciting direct football, though.



  30. Maminjo says:

    I said it.

    We drew Hungary once, after we secured our spot to the WC back in 2006.

    We drew Czechs once, iin a game we outplayed them badly, and our lovely fans ruined for us. Those events were the worst case scenario for us, and a still draw put us through anyway.

    We should beat both Hungary and Slovakia. We will get 10 points from those four games.



  31. BZ says:

    Those turnaround times are pretty rigorous. All 2 days of rest, our big boys playing for big teams are going to get pressured to pull up “lame”.

    Biggest challenges:
    Bale is just like the fast Africans that give us headaches. He has given us headaches before, but obviously we will stop Wales.

    As usual we will clearly be the better team, and will need our
    bus busters in full force.



  32. Maminjo says:

    We always say that Africans give us challenges, but the few times we’ve played African teams, we’ve won them all.

    Even our South American curse is finished after that beat down we gave Argentina.

    I don’t mind an Ecuador loss and a couple weak Brazilian losses if we get to smash Argentina after that.



  33. BZ says:

    @Maminjo-Correct, I should have been more clear. I am talking about Africans and European/African mixes playing with support of European teammates eg France, England, and Belgium.





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