Croatia v Wales: Are the Odds in Wales Favour for First Euro Qualifier clash?

Football without Gareth Bale and Joe Allen begins for Wales on Saturday when they kick off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign against Croatia at Stadion Poljud.

While many Welsh fans will be betting on sports online this weekend, many may be asking, is Wales a good bet?

The 2023 season kicks off after the retirement of Wales record goalscorer Gareth Bale, along with Jonny Williams and Joe Allen.  Chris Gunter won’t be playing but he has joined the Wales coaching staff.

Luck hasn’t been kind – defender and Vice-Captain Ben Davies announced his withdrawal from the qualifiers due to injury, and Wales third most capped Wayne Hennessey has also withdrawn due to a knee injury, heading back to Nottingham Forest.

Adding to the misery, there are doubts that Nottingham Forest striker Brennan Johnson will make the starting line-up after a groin injury.

However there is some positive news, midfielder Aaron Ramsey is also now expected to play, having overcome his recent injury, and this weekend will also see Cardiff City’s Mark Harris return to the international line up, while former under-21s Liam Cullen will make his debut in the senior squad as a forward.  Defender Morgan Fox and goalie Tom King will also return to the starting line for Wales.

A number of new players are set to make their international debut this weekend for Wales, including  Luke Harris (Fulham), Jordan James (Birmingham City), Nathan Broadhead (Ipswich Town) and Ollie Cooper (Swansea City).

Croatia are always a force to be reckoned with, and as the match is taking place on their home ground, with so much injury and retirement afflicting Wales, it’s not surprising that odds of 16/25 currently favour Croatia to win.

However, with new players, new energy and as always, buoyed up by the support of Wales’ loyal fans, Wales could be a dark horse – and as always, the hearts of Welsh fans will follow the team.

One thing is certain – if they are to win this qualifier, Wales will need to be at their best.  After a disappointing Six Nations Rugby Tournament, irrespective of the odds, Wales is hoping that this weekend’s football will give Welsh sports fans something to smile about.

UEFA European Championship Qualifier: Saturday 25 Mar, 19:45 – Croatia v Wales