Northern Ireland to play Croatia in Windsor Park friendly

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric
Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Luka Modric is part of the Croatia squad

Northern Ireland will play Croatia in a friendly international at Windsor Park on Tuesday, 15 November (19:45 GMT).

The match will be played four days after Michael O'Neill's side host Azerbaijan in a World Cup 2018 Group C qualifier at the National Stadium.

Like Northern Ireland, Croatia reached the last 16 at Euro 2016, topping their group with wins over Spain and Turkey, and a draw with the Czech Republic.

They were knocked out by eventual winners Portugal in the next round.

The game in Lens went to extra-time, with Ricardo Quaresma scoring the only goal of the game.

The Croatians drew 1-1 at home to Turkey in their opening World Cup qualifier in September. The other teams in their group are Finland, Iceland, Kosovo and Ukraine.

The Croatia squad boasts some of the top players in Europe, including Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic and Inter Milan midfielder Ivan Perisic.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill said: "This will be a great game for us. Croatia are a top-class European team and it's great that we will be playing them at home.

"We have not played a home friendly against this quality of opposition for quite some time.

"It will no doubt be a real test for us, and it will also provide us with an opportunity to look at some of the players in our squad who have not featured in the team much before now."

Prior to the two November fixtures, Northern Ireland host San Marino in Belfast on 8 October, followed by an away game against Germany on 11 October, both World Cup qualifiers.

Top Stories