Rujevica Stadium in Rijeka was officially confirmed as the host of the upcoming World Cup qualifier between Croatia and Finland.
The Croatian Football Federation confirmed that they have successfully substituted stadiums for the upcoming World Cup qualifier between Croatia and Finland scheduled for October 6, 2017, at 20:45. To refresh your memory, Osijek’s City Garden Stadium was initially supposed to host the match, but after HNS sent a request to FIFA and UEFA, Rujevica in Rijeka will now be the host for this qualifying match.
The reason for the switch was due to poor pitch conditions at City Garden, as explained by Damir Vrbanović at a press conference on Friday.
“Respecting the usual UEFA procedure in such cases, an independent expert visited the stadium in Osijek this week and was expected to confirm HNS’s view that the pitch is in very poor condition and that they are particularly concerned about the drainage system that could not withstand a sufficient amount of water after abundant rainfall, potentially calling the match into question,” HNS published on their official website.
And for this reason, precisely, Finland’s feathers have been rustled, reports Gol.hr on September 27, 2017.
Before the visit by an independent expert to City Garden, a clear message was sent to the media
“We want to play in Osijek. We have seen in the photos that the condition of the pitch is not good, but it looks like it can still be played on,” said Finland’s team manager Lennart Wangel.
Wangel continued by saying that HNS sent a request to move the location the same day and called a press conference announcing that the site had been moved.
“We replied that we did not approve of their request and requested an additional quality check of the pitch in Osijek,” Wangel explained about why an independent expert came to inspect City Garden.
The Finnish Football Federation remains angry because of the organization itself as all plans for this match led to Osijek.
”We looked at training sites and hotels. Our 400 fans will have to travel 450 kilometers west to Rijeka.”
The coach of Finland, Markku Kanerva, has spoken under more conciliatory tones.
“It does not matter where we play, we all want to play on the best pitch possible.”
Anything apart from a victory for Finland in this match against Croatia would be a disaster, leaving their placement into the World Cup in Russia under serious question.
Tickets for the match are on sale from today. You can buy them here.