Zlatko Dalic is set to rest players at risk of suspension when Croatia face familiar foes Iceland in a game his counterpart Heimir Hallgrimsson expects will be a typically uncompromising affair.
Croatia and Iceland are well acquainted with one another after meeting in a qualifying play-off for the 2014 World Cup, a tie won 2-0 on aggregate by the Balkan team to deny the minnows their first appearance at the tournament.
They were drawn in the same qualifying group for this year's event, and both progressed, although it was Iceland who finished two points above Croatia in top spot.
Dalic's side have already secured passage to the round of 16 courtesy of victories over Nigeria and Argentina, meaning he can afford to protect the six players at risk of suspension for the knockout stages if they pick up a second yellow card, including Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic.
"I'd like to top the group," Dalic said.
"But we have to take care because we have some players on yellow cards, so I will change the line-up.
"I will not start those who are on yellow cards because it's too much of a risk, there are 22 players who can play."
Hallgrimsson, meanwhile, knows his players are likely to find themselves in a physical battle, as they seek to take advantage of Croatia's comfortable situation to sneak through in second spot, having drawn 1-1 with Argentina, before losing 2-0 to Nigeria in Volgograd last time out.
"We've played Croatia four times in four years, we've often said we're like a married couple -- we're trying to get divorced, but we always meet up again," he said.
"We know the scenario when we play Croatia - it's [always] going to be really tough games.
"Normally it's steel to steel, not a lot of chances, always a lot of yellow cards. In three games out of four, we've had a red card."
The match will take place on familiar territory for three of Iceland's players, as Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson, Ragnar Sigurdsson and Sverrir Ingi Ingason play their club football for local team FC Rostov.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Iceland - Gylfi Sigurdsson
All eyes will be on Sigurdsson, Iceland's highest-profile player, to see how the Everton man responds to the disappointment of missing a late penalty that would have pulled his team back into the game against Nigeria.
Croatia - Luka Modric
In the absence of Rakitic, Modric can be expected to continue to make Croatia tick, with the Real Madrid star continuing at this tournament to cement his reputation as one of the best midfielders of his generation.
KEY OPTA STATS
- Iceland and Croatia met in World Cup 2018 qualifying – both sides winning their home fixtures (Croatia 2-0 and Iceland 1-0).
- Iceland's only previous victory against Croatia came in the qualifying stages for this tournament, drawing one and losing four otherwise.
- Croatia have won two World Cup games in a row for the first time since 1998 – they've never won three consecutively in the competition before.
- Iceland are looking to become the first World Cup debutants to make the knockout stages of a World Cup tournament since Slovakia in 2010.
- Croatia's Luka Modric has scored with both of his shots on target so far at the 2018 World Cup.
- Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson attempted just three shots in his last game against Nigeria, with his first two shots landing on target in the first six minutes, and his other shot missing the target from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute.
17. November 2018
|Wales crush Tonga in Cardiff|
|Germany should keep faith in old guard - Bierhoff|
|Injured Lukaku to miss Belgium´s Nations League decider|
|Zverev knocks out Federer to reach maiden ATP Finals showpiece|
|Koroibete double maintains Australia´s 100 per cent record against Italy|
|Juventus´ Khedira sprains ankle in training|
|Van Dijk: Ramos is not my type of defender|
|Vinales grabs Valencia pole as Marquez crashes|
|I don´t deserve Ballon d´Or, Mbappe does – Hazard|
|Reed and Willett share lead in Dubai|
|Romagnoli joins long AC Milan injury list|
|Williamson steadies Black Caps after Boult heroics|
|Griezmann targets swift French response against Uruguay|
|Havertz´s future lies with Bayer Leverkusen – sporting director Boldt|
|Socceroos boss Arnold excited for future|
|South Africa triumph on Gold Coast in truncated T20 clash|
|Germany without Draxler for Netherlands game|
|Barcelona confirm Rakitic hamstring injury|
|Rain halts England´s post-tea flourish|
|Australia 1 South Korea 1: Luongo seals late draw for Socceroos|
|Irving thrives on ´peace´ of being in the zone|
|Lloris admits France could have lost by more|
|Dybala impressed by Argentina´s improved spirit|
|Arsenal chief confirms Super League talks|
|Hooker knocks out Saucedo to retain WBO strap|
|NBA wrap: Kyrie Irving sizzles as Celtics beat Raptors in overtime|
|Jimmy Butler aims dig at Timberwolves following 76ers home debut|
|Koeman surprised by dominant Netherlands|
|Southgate rallies England ahead of Nations League decider|
|Chile 2 Costa Rica 3: Waston brace sinks La Roja|
|Tite inspired by Guardiola´s City|
|Argentina 2 Mexico 0: Funes Mori´s header helps to sink El Tri|
|Lovren ready for ´fiery´ England clash|
|Brazil captain Neymar pleased with stern Uruguay test|
|Ravens´ Flacco doubtful, Jackson could start|
|Richarlison: I want to be at the Copa America|
|Tabarez buoyed by inexperienced Uruguay|
|Howell fires 64 again to extend RSM Classic lead|
|I´m proud of them - Giggs still upbeat despite Denmark defeat|
|Mancini ´very sorry´ for Ronaldo absence|
|Neymar clinches anything-but-friendly win for Brazil over Uruguay|
16. November 2018
|Cipriani-inspired Gloucester thrash Tigers|
|Djokovic makes it three wins from three at ATP Finals|
|Germany relegated from Nations League top tier to cap miserable 2018|
|Fulham will back Ranieri in January transfer window if required|
|Brazil 1 Uruguay 0: Neymar penalty settles tight contest|
|Netherlands 2 France 0: Wijnaldum & Depay decisive as Germany are relegated|
|Wales 1 Denmark 2: Jorgensen and Braithwaite seal Nations League promotion|
|Oxlade-Chamberlain targeting early return|
|New Zealand-born Aki will ´relish´ facing All Blacks – Marmion|
|Portugal cannot focus on absent Ronaldo - Santos|
|Ramsey reiterates he wants to stay with Jaguars despite cryptic tweet|
|We tried to hit a home run and it didn´t work out - D´Antoni explains Carmelo exit|
|West Ham´s Zabaleta backs Premier League´s VAR introduction|
|Southgate eyes winning end to England´s ´brilliant year´|
|Patient Zverev seizes opportunity to make amends at ATP Finals|
|Rodgers: Packers still believe they can make playoffs|
|Mahomes hoping to ketchup to Heinz´s touchdown target|
|Ranieri tells Fulham fans not to expect repeat of Leicester ´fairytale´|
|Brown to leave role as RFU chief executive|
|Croatia star Rakitic ruled out of England clash|
|Capital gains for Zverev as he secures last-four spot in London|
|Sancho rise continues with Player of the Month award|
|Jones-Buchanan, Ablett and Briscoe sign new Rhinos deals|
|Root leads from the front as aggressive England assume control|
|Croatia´s Lovren antagonises Ramos and ´rude´ Spain|
|Rakitic has ´enormous respect´ for England ahead of Nations League decider|
|Ireland make flanker switch with Leavy out of All Blacks clash|
|Pakistan rip through Black Caps in Abu Dhabi|
|WATCH: Barcelona mark 15-year anniversary of Messi´s first match|