Croatia coach Slaven Bilic on Friday stressed that his team had to win Saturday’s qualifier at home to Ukraine or risk missing out on the World Cup finals.
The Croatians have been facing a major challenge to get out of Group Six ever since they were humbled 4-1 on their own soil last September by an England side inspired by Theo Walcott’s hat-trick exploits.
With England now five points clear and still to host Croatia, Bilic says less than three points would be a failure as Saturday’s rivals themselves are still in the frame three points further back but with a game in hand.
“If we draw or if we lose against Ukraine, our chances of qualification will be slim,” said Bilic.
“We will have to win all the remaining matches, including the one at Wembley” in September, Bilic forecast.
“Right now you couldn’t get a more important showdown than tomorrow’s – but even a win won’t mean we are through.
“We are well prepared and very motivated – but we respect what is a great rival,” he told Jutarnji List newspaper.
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