With a quarter-final draw in the books and a game in hand, Italy’s group stage qualifying tie against Croatia will be one for the books.
As the clock strikes 11.30pm local time on Saturday, all eyes are on the results from Italy and Croatia to see if their countries can secure a place at the tournament.
Italy have played a number of friendly matches in recent weeks, and with a trip to Poland next week, they could have a few more games to play.
But the Italians will need to score more goals if they want to make it to the knockout stages.
“The result is in the balance, but there is a lot of quality here, especially in the back four,” said Mario Capasso, the coach of the Italian side.
“We’ve played quite well in the friendly matches, so we have to be on our toes.
Croatia are a very strong side, they have been winning lately, so it’s going to be hard. “
This is a tough game.
Croatia are a very strong side, they have been winning lately, so it’s going to be hard.
In Italy’s favour, the Croatian coach will have a different challenge on his hands, as he faces his former side in a group that includes Germany, Slovakia, Croatia, Sweden and Slovakia. “
It’s a tough match for us, we’re not at our best in the last three games, but we can’t lose this match and go back to the last four.”
In Italy’s favour, the Croatian coach will have a different challenge on his hands, as he faces his former side in a group that includes Germany, Slovakia, Croatia, Sweden and Slovakia.
“They’re a team who are very good in the defensive side of things, and in this group they’ve been doing quite well,” said Capasso.
They have a lot to play for.” “
If they keep winning and we get on top of them, they will be a tough opponent.
They have a lot to play for.”
In the other group, Slovakia are on a roll, with two wins and three draws in their last five games.
“At home, they’ve shown great strength,” said Coach Karel Čapek.
“I’m confident that they will play the same way here in the knockout rounds.
They can be in the top three at the end of the tournament.”
The other side, Germany, are currently second in Group A, with four points from three matches.
With a draw in their first two games, the hosts will be favourites to progress, but they will need a late goal to earn a point.
“There’s a big difference between this group and Group A,” said ČAPEK.
“But it’s not a big gap.
They are the champions of Europe, and we have two tough games.
We have to keep improving.”
Germany are still without striker Mario Gomez, who was injured against Slovakia and has not been able to play since.
“Gomez is a great player, he can play anywhere on the pitch,” said the coach.
“He has to be fit, and if he can’t go, he’ll be very disappointed.
We’ll take it on the chin.”
Italy and Poland have drawn one and lost the other.
Croatia and Germany will be without midfielder Giuseppe Reggina, while Slovakia will be missing goalkeeper Roman Šťekčić, who suffered a knee injury.
“You cannot win the Champions League with injuries,” said Ščižek.
“And if we can beat these teams in this competition, it would be great.
They don’t play the way they did in the Group A.”
Watch: Croatia’s defence to win this group article The final game of Group A sees the teams meet on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico, and will be the final chance for the Italians to make a statement at the World Cup.
“When we play a friendly, the players have to play with a high intensity and in the right positions,” said coach Capasso of the clash.
“For this game we’ll need to make some changes, we have been training a lot, and I hope to see our players play at their best in this game.”