SHOWS: RIJEKA, CROATIA (NOVEMBER 15, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (Croatian) CROATIA CAPTAIN, LUKA MODRIC, SAYING: "The most important thing now is for us to qualify for the European championship, not yet to think about what we will do once we get there.
We are only focused right now on winning the game tomorrow, so that, God willing, tomorrow we qualify.
And if that happens, I'm convinced we will have a great team for the tournament, and that we will be in a position to do great things at the Euro.
But first, it's essential to qualify." 2.
(SOUNDBITE) (Slovak) SLOVAKIA CAPTAIN, MAREK HAMSIK, SAYING: "I express condolences (for victims of a bus crash in Slovakia).
We will try to play as well as possible so that Slovakia goes through, but that's not so important.
People's well-being always comes first, and I hope everyone who survived (the crash) will successfully overcome their injuries." STORY: Croatia and Slovakia prepared for their Euro 2020 Group E qualifier in the Croatian city of Rijeka on Friday (November 15), with both teams looking to qualify for the finals.
Slovakia, led by veteran midfielder Marek Hamsik, need a win to keep their hopes alive after they only picked up 10 points in six matches and are currently third in group behind Croatia and Hungary.
The 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia, who top the group with 14 points from seven matches, need only a single point to guarantee a berth at the final tournament.
Croatia will have to play without five of its key players, including stalwart defenders Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren, who are missing because of yellow cards in previous matches.
Although Croatia had crushed Slovakia 4-0 in their last match in September this year, captain Luka Modric cautioned that the win by such a margin does not reflect their opponents' quality.
At the news conference, Hamsik said his team would do their best on pitch, and also expressed condolences for victims of a bus crash which shocked Slovakia on Wednesday (November 13), in which 13 people were killed, including four children, and more than 20 were injured.
The weather in the northern Adriatic port city of Rijeka was very windy on Friday evening, with heavy rain forecast for Saturday, which raised concern in the media whether the game would be played at all.
In case conditions do worsen by Saturday night, UEFA said the game would be moved to Sunday.
In other Group E action on Saturday, fifth placed Azerbaijan will host fourth placed Wales.