Croatia will open its 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign against Slovenia away on 24 March after the schedule was revealed on Tuesday.
Croatia was drawn in Group H in Zurich on Monday alongside Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, and Malta.
Apart from the Slovenia match, In March, Croatia will play two home games, against Cyprus on March 27 and Malta on March 30.
The qualifying cycle for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will continue with three matches in September, against Russia on September 1, Slovakia on September 4, and against Slovenia on September 7.
Zlatko Dalić’s side will play two matches in October next year against Cyprus on October 8 away, and Slovakia at home on October 11.
In November 2021, Croatia will play in Malta on November 11 and in the last round of the qualification at home against Russia on November 14.
“As is mostly the case, the draw could have been better and worse, but Croatia remains the top pick to win the group and we should not run away from the role of favourites. Our goal is to qualify for the World Cup, and this is a group where we can achieve that. Strong matches from the past two years have come in handy as preparation for these matches,” said coach Dalić after the draw.
The ten group winners will qualify directly for Qatar 2022, with the ten runners-up advancing to the play-offs. Besides the ten runners-up from the group stage, the play-offs will also include the two best group winners from the UEFA Nations League 2020-2021 overall ranking that did not qualify directly for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and did not enter the play-offs as runners-up.
The 12 teams will be split into three play-off paths, which will feature single-leg knockout matches in March 2022 to determine the last three European nations to book a place in Qatar.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be played from 21 November – 18 December 2022 in Doha, Lusail, Al Khor, Al Wakrah, and Rayyan.
24.3. 20:45: Slovenia – CROATIA
27.3. 18:00: CROATIA – Cyprus
30.3. 20:45: CROATIA – Malta
1.9. 20:45: Russia – CROATIA
4.9. 20:45: Slovakia – CROATIA
7.9. 20:45: CROATIA – Slovenia
8.10. 20:45: Cyprus – CROATIA
11.10. 20:45: CROATIA – Slovakia
11.11. 20:45: Malta – CROATIA
14.11. 15:00: CROATIA – Russia