FIFA World Cup Today Matches


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World Cup Qualification Play-offs (UEFA): Croatia vs. Iceland

World Cup Qualification Play-offs (UEFA): Croatia vs. Iceland

Match Date: 19 November 2013

Match Venue: Stadion Maksimir

 

Croatia traveled to Reykjavik with high hopes of bagging the silverware in the first leg of their bout (playoffs) with Iceland for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals. However, the hosts proved to be excellent defenders, preventing their visitors from scoring and ultimately holding them in a score-less draw.

Niko Kovac’s debut drill with the Croatian national team seemed far from being satisfactory. The coach failed to ignite impression, and was very unsuccessful at driving the supposedly superior team to victory. The plan was very clear: visit Reykjavik, find the net, and go back home triumphant. Except for the first one, none of the steps was religiously followed.

The match’s first period was besieged with interesting stunts from both sides. Eduardo grabbed a through ball from Mario Mandzukic, but his shot went off. Iceland did almost the same drill, with a fast break that allowed Finnbogoso to get closer to the ball. The visitors tried to confront the challenge, but their strike bounced out for a corner. Croatia continued stunning their opponents, but Iceland were barely apprehensive about their situation. Well-positioned and organized, the home team managed to keep a strong defense and prevented their visitors from finding a way through.

Iceland did not focus much on their attack, and they purposely shielded their area to pick up just one point from the match. Croatia were more attack-hungry, but their appetite soon ebbed away following a ridiculously excellent resistance of their rivals.

 

World Cup betting tip: The first leg was partly thrilling, and partly boring. For Iceland, what they did was remarkable. For Croatia, what they displayed was frustrating. In the return leg, a much fiercer Croatia should be expected. The side are realistically the better team in the rivalry, and they will do everything (in their own home) to make up for the mediocrity they showed in Reykjavik.

 

Croatia | Image source:  sbnation.com

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