Serbia v Croatia preview and betting tips: White Eagles to delay their inevitable demise

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Event Date: September 06, 2013 20:45 CET

This Group A fixture of the 2014 World Cup qualifying round’s European phase will see Croatia take on Serbia at the latter’s Stadion Crvena Zvezda on Friday.

The group was supposed to be a three-way tussle between Belgium and the two teams involved in this game in hand. While the Belgians top the group and the Croats are just three points behind them in second place, the Serbs have surprisingly failed and have just seven points after seven matches. Even if they win all their three remaining games, it will only equal Croatia’s current tally of 16 points. Hence, their World Cup dream is all but over. Any thing less than a win in this fixture will only confirm what is already known.

The Serbs posses one of the best defensive talents in their squad, with names such as Branislav Ivanovic, Matija Nastasic and Neven Subotic all plying their trade for some of the biggest European clubs. So why such a gloomy outlook still? That’s because they don’t have a single world class or even a decent attacking option up front. Sure, Lazar Markovic is highly rated, but he is still a teenage and has only just moved to Benfica. Their option in the middle or also just marginally better.

While the best of their talent is concentrated at the back, Croatia’s division of quality across their squad is far more even, which is why they are still in it with a very decent chance.

Despite all their attacking deficiencies, it is Serbia’s defence that has underperformed, having conceded nine goals so far – five more than Croatia. They have scored just once less than the Blazers. But the pressure is on them, and with their fans behind them, expect the likes of Ivanovic and Subotic to at least shut out the Croats and hope for a goal on set-pieces or counter attack. The recommended bet here is to back Serbia with NordicBet’s DrawNoBet option at odds of 1.85.

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