25 March 2019
Two Balkans countries go head-to-head for the second fixture of Group E of the European Championship qualifiers as Hungary welcome Croatia to the Groupama Arena in Budapest.
The hosts have started their journey off on the wrong foot, sustaining a 2-0 road loss to Slovakia. It was Hungary’s first failure after achieving back-to-back wins over Finland and Estonia – both with the same 2-0 scoreline. The Magyars have gone from three straight home defeats in friendlies to three successive competitive home triumphs. However, although they’ve won all three of their UEFA Nations League home clashes, it wasn’t enough for them to secure the top spot of Group C/2. Interestingly, those three triumphs are the only ones the Nemzeti Tizenegy have managed to pull off in 11 games in the past 12 months (W3, D2, L6). It will be a daunting prospect for Hungary to pick up all three points as they’ve failed to beat Croatia in all five of their previous H2H meetings in the 21st century (D3, L2).
Meanwhile, the visitors seem to have managed to overcome a sudden drop-off in form after finishing as runners-up at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Two draws and a loss in the first three games since returning from Russia already look like a distant past as the Blazers battled out three wins in their last four games (W3, L1) including the one over Azerbaijan in their Group E opener. Interestingly, all three of Croatia’s previous wins have seen them beat their rivals without keeping a clean sheet. Additionally, all three of those triumphs Zlatko Dalic’s men have ended in a 1-goal margin. Still, the Chequered Ones have been dealing with enormous problems away from home in the recent period, losing three of their last four road games (D1, L3).
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