– Wales set to kick off Euro 2024 qualifying campaign against Croatia – Talking points for Wales’ opening match of Euro 2024 qualifying in Croatia – Can Wales secure a winning start as they begin Euro 2024 qualifying against Croatia? – Analysis: Wales’ chances of success as they start Euro 2024 qualifying with tough match in Croatia – Preview: Wales face challenging opener in Euro 2024 qualifying against Croatia

Wales face tough Croatia challenge in Euro 2024 qualifying

Wales begin their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a daunting task – a match against Croatia in Split on Saturday. As the big favourites following their third-place finish in the 2022 World Cup, Croatia are expected to give Wales a run for their money. Meanwhile, Wales must continue to rebuild after several key players left the team since the tournament in Qatar. In this article, we take a closer look at the main talking points surrounding the Group D fixture.

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Life without Bale: Can Wales perform without their talismanic captain?

Since Gareth Bale’s retirement from international football after a disappointing World Cup, Wales are left pondering how to solve the problem without their captain, record goalscorer and most capped player. Bale was often the difference for Wales, especially in big games, and without him, finding a prolific forward remains a significant challenge. Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson could be the natural successor to Bale, but surely impossible boots to fill.

Return of captain Ramsey: Can he lead Wales to victory?

Retirements of several Welsh players, including Bale, Jonny Williams, and Joe Allen, have left them with an inexperienced squad. However, Aaron Ramsey’s appointment as captain provides a glimmer of hope. Ramsey first became captain aged 20, and after a brief stint, he’s now back in charge with more experience. It remains to be seen if he can lead Wales to victory.

Page scrutiny: Can manager Rob Page avoid the mistakes of the past?

Wales manager Rob Page admits making mistakes at the World cup, and he has addressed them ahead of Euro 2024 qualification. One significant error was tactical naivety and a lack of numbers in midfield, which allowed the opposition to play through Wales at will. After steering Wales to their first World Cup in 64 years, Page’s managerial skills will be put to the test if the European Championship campaign hits the buffers.

Majestic Modric: Can Wales stop him?

With Bale’s departure, Wales is left with no choice but to find new players to step up. Bale’s former teammate and top player Luka Modric has led Croatia’s victories in previous World Cup and European Championship qualifiers against Wales. Now 37 years old and still playing for Real Madrid, Modric has decided to play for Croatia despite reaching the finals in the summer’s Nations League. It remains to be seen if he will continue to play until the Euro 2024 finals.

Winless Wales: Can they turn things around?

In six attempts, Wales has never beaten Croatia. In four of those games, Croatia has emerged victorious, starting with a 2-0 win in Osijek in May 2010. Wales lost both 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Croatia, and in Euro 2020 qualifying, they suffered a 2-1 defeat in Osijek. The only draw was when the two nations played out a 1-1 draw in Cardiff, with Bale scoring the equalizer.

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