Kosovo vs Croatia by Isaiah
Without any doubt, Kosovo was at least slightly better than Finland in the first round of World Cup qualifications early in September, but the team was held to a 1:1 draw away from home. Finnish side took the lead in 18th minute with a goal from Arajuuri and that was almost everything they managed to show.
From that moment on, visiting side was better and held the ball more, also creating more chances during the game. They managed to level up the result back in 60th minute from a penalty kick taken by Berisha, remaining slightly better on the field, however without further change in the scoreline. Of course whole qualifying progress this time is just a big test for the squad and they can't hope for anything more than just staying competitive in most of the matches.
In comparison to previous matches, they won't be able to count at midfielder Alushi (6/0) and forwards Kastrati (3/0), Rashani (2/2) and Brahimi (2/2) plus couple of more.
Croatia presented themselves actually really fine on EURO this Summer, as the team managed to get a victory over Turkey, draw against Czech Republic and win over Spain to take the first position in the group, which led them to Portugal in the last sixteen phase. They were eliminated only after extra-time played, to a side that went on to win the European title later on.
As for these qualifications, Croatia didn't start that well, since the team took only a point in a home draw against Turkey (1:1 result in front of no fans on the stands). Without any doubt, they were a better side during the match, but weren't concrete enough in the offensive part of the game, especially in the second halftime. Both goals were scored towards the end of the first halftime, with Rakitic bringing them into the lead in 44th from a penalty kick and Calhanoglu leveling up the result couple of moments later.
Croats will not be able to count at central defenders Gordon Schildenfeld (29/1), Dejan Lovren (31/2), midfielders Luka Modric (94/11), Ivan Rakitic (81/13), Alen Halilovic (9/0) and forward Marko Pjaca (12/1). They will be missing couple of really important players, but there's no doubt that the victory remains imperative here for them.
This will be first official competitive game for Kosovo playing in front of their own fans and I'm quite convinced that the game itself will past mostly in a "festive" atmosphere. Home side has some quality and can be dangerous, but the Croats are remaining favorites here. Still, my first betting option will be considering higher number of goals, since I'm convinced we will see more than plenty, even with the home side having more than enough threatening situations in front of the opponents goal.