Croatia take on Bulgaria on 10 October away, followed by Azerbaijan three days later in Osijek.
“Bulgaria is on the right path creating a quality team. Ludogorets is playing in the Champions League, and some of the players are playing in Russia. We await a difficult opponent, in a heated atmosphere. They are good in both defence and attack, and especially strong on the right side. They are a big challenge, but we have analyzed them well and we are aware that this is one of the key matches in the qualifying. With the right approach, our chances are very good”, Kovač told a press conference after the side gathered on Monday.
A number of players in the squad have been in scintillating form for their clubs, but in recent times some have struggled to carry that form through to playing for their country.
“One thing is playing club football, and another national team football. Our players are full of confidence and that will help to preserve the excellent atmosphere in the dressing room and on the pitch. We were not good enough against Malta in the first half, but we created chances in the second half. I feel optimistic”, said Kovač.
“Our goal is also to give a chance to younger players, so they can learn from playing with more experienced ones. All of them have deserved to be here and they brought in new enthusiasm. We will try to keep our style of play, but we must not forget our opponents”, concluded Croatia’s head coach.