Chile vs Croatia
America’s finest meets an emerging European force in what could be one of the best friendlies of the year.
There have been no previous meetings between Chile and Croatia and it’s never easy to make a football prediction on a friendly game. Betting tips are likely to favour Chile, currently sitting fourth in the FIFA rankings and with home advantage over 14th-ranked Croatia.
It will be a big task for the visitors to bring anything back from South America against the Copa America champions for 2015 and 2016. Any team which can see off Lionel Messi’s Argentina are powers to be reckoned with; and Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Chile have continued their form since their summer triumph in the USA.
The hosts are unbeaten in three World Cup qualifiers, with recent home wins against Uruguay and Peru and a draw with Colombia, and they are happily in the mix for qualification for Russia in 2018. Captained by Manchester City’s footballing goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and spearheaded by Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal’s brilliant striker, Chile ooze quality.
Still, Croatia are certainly no pushovers. After impressing at Euro 16 before going out, somewhat surprisingly, to eventual winners Portugal, Ante Cacic’s team has started well in the World Cup qualifiers, sitting top of Group I. With four wins on the bounce, including a 3-0 friendly win in Northern Ireland, the Irish’s worst defeat in over four years, Croatia are bang in form.
They carry a threat throughout the team with Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic and Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric in the goals in Ireland, alongside the quality of Fiorentina’s Nikola Kalinic and skipper Luka Modric.
In this first meeting both teams will fancy a win, and with serious goal threats at either this should be a cracking match.
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