Our man Ben Levene (@benlevene96) believes there’s value looking at Croatia in Sunday night’s crucial UEFA World Cup qualifying action.
Greece vs Croatia | Sunday 12th November 2017, 19:45 | Sky Sports
In the first leg on Thursday, Croatia romped to a 4-1 victory. Although a well-contested affair was expected, Croatia was ruthless going forwards. The tone was set early on when Greece Keeper Orestis Kamezis conceded a penalty, after that the floodgates open.
The dynamic of the tie means that Greece’s approach this Sunday will have changed massively. They are now chasing the game but that could leave them vulnerable. Croatia has the players to cause problems on the counter.
Croatia manager Dalic has side his side will start as if it were ‘0-0’, and if they do, the 6/5 available on Croatia to win in 90 minutes draws appeal given their undoubted quality.
Andrej Kramajic and Ivan Perisic are thriving under Dalic, while Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic could prove the difference in the final third. Mario Mandzukic is back available this Sunday.
No away fans for the Greeks
Greece will be after an early goal and will look to start fast. There will be no away fans in Greece this Sunday so you can’t overstate the effect an early Greek goal could have. Expect lots of early crosses into the box and aggressive attacking play.
Michael Skibbe’s side’s record at home is not as eye-catching as their form on the road. They’ve struggled when the onus is on them and have kept just three clean sheets in eight games in Greece. At home to both Bosnia and Belgian during qualification, they went 1-0 down.
Given this is set to be an open-encounter, it makes sense to consider goals. While Over 2.5 goals is worth noting at odds-against, it’s the big priced Over 1.5 First Half goals at 23/10 that can be worth looking at.
It landed in Croatia on Thursday and due to the amount at stake and the task at hand, surely Greece are going to go for broke.
I can’t see them letting it go 0-0 at half-time before throwing, even more, men forward. Croatia poses a constant threat while Greece proved on Thursday that they can create chances of their own.
The two sides shared 24 shots in the first leg and that figure can be even larger this Sunday.
Greece vs Croatia – Croatia to win (6/5 Paddy Power)
Greece vs Croatia – Over 1.5 First Half Goals (23/10 Coral)