World Cup 2014 qualifiers’ preview: Croatia vs Serbia
Croatia host bitter rivals Serbia in the key game of the Group A. Croatia are currently lying in the second place with 10 points, six points ahead of third-placed Serbia and behind the group leaders Belgium on goals difference. Croatians who are considered as sure-fire favourites in the forthcoming match, won against Wales, beat Macedonia twice and drew with Belgium. Serbians slipped to an eyebrow-raising defeat to Macedonia, outplayed Wales and drew with Scotland.
This game is decisive for Serbia, - should they suffer defeat, they will have only outside chance of progressing to the World Cup final stages.
Taking into account the history of violent clashes between Serbian and Croatian supporters, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs prohibited their citizens to attend the match in Zagreb. Nevertheless, it is widely expected that atmosphere will be fiery both on the stands and on the pitch.
Croatia team news:
Niko Kranjcar could replace Ivan Perisic in the midfield, who is set to miss the clash due to injury.
Head coach Igor Štimac is likely to stick to the line-up that battled to a 2-0 win over resilient Wales team with centurions Šimunić, Srna and Pletikosa to be included into the first XI.
Serbia team news:
Serbians set to miss their defender Nenad Tomovic because of suspension, after he was sent off during the game against Macedonia.
Ivanovic is likely to feature in the starting line-up, as he has recovered from injury.
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