Israel-Croatia Match Preview: Three Croatia Players to Watch
On October 9th, 2010, Croatia is going to have one of the hardest tasks in this qualifying group F for the European Championship in 2012, which will be held in Poland and Ukraine.
Croatia is going to Israel, and it is expected that this match will definitely be a hard match.
Croatia has already faced Israel before.They were together in qualifying group E for Euro 2008. The first match was played in Israel, and it was a very exciting match, as the Croats beat Israel in a high-scoring match, 4-3. Eduardo was the player of the match as he scored a hat trick.
The rematch was played in Zagreb, and Croatia beat Israel again; this time it was 1-0. Eduardo scored again.
This time things are very different for Croatia. Great players like Dario Simic and former captain Niko Kovac both retired from football, while current captain Darijo Srna won't be able to play because of yellow cards. Also, Mladen Petric and Nikica Jelavic suffered serious injuries and are not available for coach Slaven Bilic.
Many people see Croatia as a clear favorite against Israel, but Bilic, the coach of Croatia, said that he would be really happy with only one point because this is a really hard match.
After a little disappointment against Greece in last match, where Croatia couldn't beat poor Greece, now they have to win these three important points.
Eduardo Da Silva
Croatia already played away against Israel in November 2006, and guess who the hero of the match was? Yes, Eduardo, who scored a fantastic hat trick and brought Croatia the important three points.
Eduardo scored a fantastic 47 goals in 44 matches for Dinamo Zagreb in 2006-2007 season, which brought him a big transfer to England giant Arsenal.
In that qualifying cycle for EURO 2008, Eduardo scored a total of 10 goals, as he was the the key player for Slaven Bilic's boys.
Unfortunately the ex-Arsenal man missed Euro 2008 because of a horrifying injury in the Premier League following a tackle by Martin Taylor. After that he tried his best to gain trust from Arsene Wenger, but he failed and was transferred to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.
Brazilian-born Croatian footballer Eduardo is still trying to get back in shape. He has scored four goals in nine matches so far, which is a solid statistic considering that he came to a new team.
Why Luka Modrić?
Modric is definitely the best Croatian midfielder. He is the guy that connects everything on the field.
Luka is going to be the most dangerous Croatian player on the field, as he will demonstrate his acceleration, range of passing, vision, and fantastic technique.
Croatian coach Slaven Bilic loves to rely on Luka's abilities because Luka can definitely bring the best from his teammates, just like he does it in Tottenham, where he brings new dimension to their style.
This small wizard was the best Croatian player in the last qualifying match when they tied against Greece. He tried, tried, and tried, but others just didn't seem to have their best days.
Croatian media expect Luka to secure three gold points from Israel.
Why Josip Šimunić?
The ex-Hertha Berlin main defender is for sure something that Slaven Bilic is looking for. It is experience that Šimunić has in his legs.
Šimunoć also played against Israel four years ago, just like Eduardo and Modric, but he didn't have a good game. Israel took advantage and scored a goal from his gift. Thanks to Eduardo, surprise didn't happen.
This 32-year-old giant will stop all Israel attacks in this match, and his experience will be vital.
15 November, 2006
Israel vs. Croatia 3-4
2x Colautti, Benayoun / 3x Eduardo, Srna
13 October, 2007
Croatia vs. Israel 1-0
Croatia is a huge favorite in this match, and it will be a surprise if Israel gets a point from this one. Sure it is a hard match for the mighty Croatians, but if they want to get back to elite by playing in Euro 2012, then they just need to beat Israel and claim all three points.
I predict a hard win for Croatia, and Eduardo will score at least one goal.
Prediction: Israel vs. Croatia 1-2