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World Cup 2022 Qualifying Schedule Released For Croatia

December 8, 2020



The 2022 World Cup qualifying schedule is set!



Whoever negotiated this schedule from the HNS is an absolute genius.

The Vatreni start with incredibly soft fixtures vs. Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta in March before taking on the bulk of their schedule against Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia in their toughest month in September.

Croatia should get off to a quick start in their first three qualifiers before turning their attention to EURO 2021. A win in Slovenia on Matchday 1 should see Croatia earn a maximum of nine points in March with home matches vs. Cyprus and Malta to follow.



September is where Modrić (maybe) and company will have to be strong as this 3-game set will make or break their qualification. Away to Russia and away to Slovakia before returning home to face Slovenia. It’s a tough little stretch but Croatia should be at 14/18 points heading into October. If all goes well, the Russia match on the last day of qualifying may not even matter. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 18 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Will they have the Cro vs Russia game in Rijeka? It would be nice for the people of Rijeka to give them that game.

  2. Soul Champ says:

    Mateo Kovacic 7

    One of the quiet stars of Chelsea’s season. His pass led to Abraham being brought for a penalty, which is typical of his positivity with the ball.

    Kovačić will thrive against all these second tier teams.

  3. Crotown says:

    We have to start thinking of the HNS as a top 5 soccer country- we just struggle mentally not just as a team but as supporters- i don’t know if it’s cultural or we just think the World Cup final appearance was a fluke and we were happy to be there-

    1998 was the ultimate “ we are Croatian and everyone else can kiss it” and man that was magical
    Love to see a dominant psyche come for 2021 and 2022
    Top 5 is the place we belong – I hope it happens

  4. Maminjo says:

    March 24: Slovenia
    March 27: Cyprus
    March 30: Malta
    Then we have three games against Slovenia, Slovakia and Russia in the first week of September (barely a month after the Euros).
    This is a very condensed qualifying cycle.
    We can’t relax like we usually do after a tournament, especially since that first week of September alone could end your qualifying cycle.

    I’m glad we have more depth than the rest of these teams. One injury to a couple of key players, and they’ll miss more than half of the qualifiers.
    From late March to early November (7.5 month span)… There will be 10 World Cup qualifying matches, and the Euro2021.
    That’s insane.

  5. Markus says:

    My predictions for 2022 qualifiers:

    Home games:
    Croatia 3-1 Russia
    Croatia 3-0 Slovakia
    Croatia 1-1 Slovenia
    Croatia 4-0 Cyprus
    Croatia 8-0 Malta

    Away Games:
    Croatia 1-2 Russia
    Croatia 3-1 Slovakia
    Croatia 2-0 Slovenia
    Croatia 4-0 Cyprus
    Croatia 7-0 Malta

    Record: 8-1-1

  6. Poglavnik says:

    Gonna make sure to catch those Malta games!

  7. BZ says:

    “Croatia should be at 13/15 points heading into September”

    Damn, bold prediction. Croatia going to beat their first 3 opponents so bad, fifa is gonna award them 5 points per win!

    Regarding Pjaca:
    I watch all his minutes at Genoa. He is clearly their best player, but like SOC and I say, the rest of the team is so bad, he barely gets any offensive opportunities.

    No he is no longer a wing. He is playing CF, in a 442

    His defense and pressuring is better than Petkovic, which is better than Kramaric.

    His passing and understanding of the game will blend perfectly with Vlasic, Rebic, and Perisic.

    He can be targeted on free kicks/goal kicks, unlike miniscule Kramaric. Petkovic is probably better in this aspect though.

    He isn’t owed a spot, the NT gave him a spot at WC 18, and that was payback enough….BUT if we are playing scrubs like Budimir and Colak, then Pjaca has already earned an opportunity at CF.

  8. Maminjo says:

    Come on. Krama is great with headers.
    Very accurate.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Pjaca or Petkovic header.
    But yes, he is more talented and a better pick than either Budimir and Colak. Budimir got a lot of burn at Nations League. Would have been better to experiment with Pjaca if he’s already playing the striker position and doing well there.
    A lot o players have suddenly come up over the past season (Bradaric, Gvardiol, Pongracic, Pjaca, Basic, Moro, Majer) who we didn’t get a chance to play much (or at all) in the Nations League.
    Some of that is Dalic’s fault, but a lot of it was some of these players suddenly doing very well over the last 2-3 months.
    Hopefully we don’t simply stick to the same squad, just because they got us through qualifying.
    Curious to see if any of the above are called up or start in the March qualifying games.

  9. chicro1 says:

    overall good schedule for us. March away to Slovenia, prob no fans, so sucks for Slovenia. Then our 2 March home games are against the weakest group members, so we prob don’t need the extra home fan support to win. Sept, Oct, Nov, hopefully fans at all the games by that time.

  10. Maminjo says:

    My only issue with the schedule is that we historically like to ‘relax’ in our qualifiers after a major tournament.
    We can’t fall asleep in September as it is three critical games that will define this qualification cycle…and hopefully no major retirement announcements come right before that round.

  11. CroatiaU14 says:

    I never wanna see a guy like Colak again in the squad, unless he’s 22 years or younger. What is Colak ever going to do for the Vatreni? Ništa. Dalić or whoever else is our manager at the end of the day needs to focus on the future more. No more Badelj, Rog, probably no more Barisic and Budimir as well. I love the guys; trust me. I love all of them. But our management needs to think more along the lines of “what good does this do for us?”

  12. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    @CroatiaU14 – To be fair, Rog is still pretty young and only has found his true position in the last two years. I agree that we don’t really want those other three in the squad long-term, but we can’t ignore that the reasons why Budimir and Barisic were playing for us are that their positions were basically contested spots on the team, and their play at club level merited invitation to the national team. Badelj was very solid in all of his previous caps, although it’s clear that his style of play no longer fits so well with the team dynamic. Croatia’s called up a number of rising-star 16-year-olds in the past too, and we don’t see many of them (if any) living up to that hype. The manager’s best bet is always to play the players who are already performing well on a weekly basis, while the others may use the practice with the national team to figure out the way to get better and earn playing time.

  13. Maminjo says:

    I think the U21 aspirations are hurting us a bit in this regard.
    Moro and Majer definitely could have played a role for us as backups. Both are playing very well and fit better in the positions of need than Pasalic and Kovacic. Bradaric was called up too late also because of this.
    No reason to play Pasalic on the wing, when we are so overloaded there with talent (Perisic, Rebic, Brekalo, Orsic, Bradaric, Majer, etc). Even at CDM we have plenty of options.

    I like Colak and Budimir, but we also need a plan.
    Ask the question:
    Are these guys playing well enough that it actually hurts us by not calling them up?
    If Colak is absolutely lighting it up in the Greek league and on his way to a scoring title, then maybe it does hurt us to ignore him. But otherwise, I would rather use the spot on a youngster on an upward trajectory like Majer, who would have probably done a lot more in that France game on the wing (than playing Pasalic, yet again, out of position in that spot). This benefits our NT for the long term, as Majer should be part of the long term plan.
    Taking longer to call up and develop a young hybrid CAM/wing player like Majer actually does hurt us…especially if some vets decide to retire after Euro2021 and we’ve got three key qualifying matches coming up in SEP where Majer (or some other players) will need to be integrated quickly.
    We took too long in bringing in Bradaric, who may actually be the lucky starter at LB for us at the Euros…but with only a few games played with our CBs. Not much time to develop chemistry.
    U21 players who are on the bubble to make the senior squad (and are part of the long term plan) should definitely be prioritized ahead of mid-20s players who are playing well at their club, but not really playing well enough that it would be of no great benefit to call them up.

  14. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    Speaking of Rog, this schedule confirms my prediction that wc qualifying is going to require our squad to be in extraordinarily good physical condition. There’s no time for rest and recovery.

  15. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    @ Maminjo – Good points

  16. Iggy says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Pjaca or Petkovic header.

    He scored one against slovakia i think it was in our recent qualiies from a corner.. ive seen it in my qualy vid i did for us a thousand times lol

  17. MARTIN RADIC says:

    This is the worst schedule that we have EVER had. Historically, September is where we struggle the most and having to travel to Russia, Slovakia and play Slovenia at home in 7 days is going to be very difficult. The computer generated draw was not kind to us. The first match away to Slovenia is a must win. Some predictions that we will thump Malta and Cyprus by 8 – 0, 7 – 0 and 4 – 0 are way over the top.

  18. Irina says:

    De ce aveți un negru pe site-ul croat, croații sunt negri? sau negrii sunt polonezi acum poate? croații negri mereu urcă în jurul răcitorului de apă hahaha.

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