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Not too bothered about the particular result but what i would like to see is some game time for those youngsters this time round. That’s arguably more important than the result, actually. But yeah obv be nice to win or draw or at least avoid a belting again!
Written by Anthony Zorić
Thursday night in Zagreb, Croatia will take on Spain in their third League of Nations match. This is a chance to get revenge for the 6-0 thrashing the Spaniards gave Croatia in Elche. Currently, Spain lead the group with six points from three matches. England have four points from three matches while Croatia have one point with a game in hand. A win over Spain would keep Croatian chances of a first place finish alive in Group 4. Sunday’s match between Croatia and England at Wembley will be an exciting one. Whenever a Croat fan hears ‘ Wembley’, Petrić images pop up in the head hitting that left-footed bomb to knock England out of Euro 2008.
Croatia has played a total of seven matches against Spain with a record of 2-1-4. The first time the two teams met was in a friendly on March 23, 1994. In Valencia, over 40,000 spectators witnessed a shock Croatia victory with goals from Šuker and Prosinečki. It was Croatia’s 9th match as an independent nation and it was a big statement at the time for little Croatia. The second Croatia win over Spain came in a 2-1 thriller in Bordeaux at Euro 2016. An unforgettable comeback that ended with a Perišić goal in the final minutes which would have all Croatia fans flying before the round of 16.
Since the successful 2018 World Cup campaign, Croatia has managed just one win, two ties and a loss. The lone Croatia win was a 2-1 victory over Jordan. Croatia is still waiting to score their first League of Nations goal in the competition. Croatian strikers Kramarić and Rebić have been in excellent form for their clubs recently.
Sportske Novosti reported that Dalić is planning to start with a lineup of Kalinić-A.Milić-Lovren-Vida-Vrsaljko-Modrić-Rakitić-Brozović-Perišić-Rebić-Kramarić. After experimenting with Rebić at the center forward position against England, SN believes Dalić will put him back in his natural position at right wing. That would put Kramarić in the center forward role. Kramarić played on the right wing against England and found himself in two good opportunities which he could not finish. Kramarić was used by Dalić on the wing against Ukraine in the pivotal away match where he scored two goals last year. Dalić looks at him as a danger from second plan trailing another attacker. He always seems to find himself in the right place that gives him a chance to score. He isn’t the prototype back to goal #9. Krama is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and does well getting defenders off balance and gliding past them. Dalić has been hesitant to play him up top because when he did in a pre-World Cup friendly versus Brazil, he was ineffective. Our midfield and wingers were too far away from him that match which left him isolated. Kramarić is an ideal lažna devetka (false 9) for a highly technical squad.
Problems for Croatia arise because both Perišić and Rebić lack top level technical abilities. They are both explosive players which can get down to the line cross balls into the box but we can never play a possession up tempo game with them two in the lineup because they just don’t have the characteristics. Youngsters Josip Brekalo and Nikola Vlašić, who have been called up, are much more suited to a possession game where Kramaric’s qualities could flourish.
Vlašić and Brekalo are important players in the future of Croatian football. Vlašić has made a large impact at CSKA Moskva starting as an attacking center midfielder. He’s a versatile player who can also play wide on the wing because of his strength, skill and explosiveness. Both players have been in Dalić’s plans but weren’t called up recently because they were busy with U-21 duties. The players led the U-21 team to qualify for the first U-21 Euros first time since 2004. There is a chance that Vlašić will come off the bench tomorrow; as he is in great form. Young players like Vlašić and Brekalo knocking on the first team door will make sure that the starters don’t get too comfortable after their achievements in Russia. It’s important to have young hungry players in the squad to push others to play their top game.
A sold out Maksimir should make for a wonderful atmosphere in Zagreb. It will be the first sold out match since Croatia took on Greece in the first leg of World Cup playoffs. It’s unfortunate that the Croatia-England match did not have fans as the atmosphere was depressing. I still believe the Croatian Football Federation must do everything in their power to try to use Croatia’s success in the 2018 World Cup to create a better relationship with Split and start to host some matches at Poljud. Split and Zagreb are still at odds and the HNS must work to better the relationship that they have abused so badly.
NY Red Bulls, Nikola has a Croatian mother Portuguese father he is born in South Africa I believe. I read a few years back that he has real potential and a desire to play for Croatia.
Iggyy choose Australia over Yugoslavia.
Kalinic is an idiot and loser.
Yea, I would rather look at HNL players than to bother calling up mediocre players from average leagues like Milić, Santini, and Livaja.
Guys like Mislav Oršić and this Boćkaj kid are probably better players anyway. All these mediocre caliber guys we keep calling up are just former HNL players who were dropped from their clubs and sent off on free (or super cheap) transfer deals. Doesn’t make them any better just because some Belgian or Greek league team is willing to take a flyer on them for free.
I don’t consider guys like Milić or Čop as better players because they play in better leagues. They were free players, whereas guys like Oršić are not being let go by their HNL teams. They are more valuable (and probably better) despite playing in a weaker HNL.
Apparently Dalic sent N. Kalinic a dozen roses and slivovica as an olive branch. Kalinic refused and said he prefers to drink cappuccinos and watch videos on how to be a man on the bench. He said Atletico pay him more than if he collected welfare on his sofa at home.
I think Dalic either lets Jedvaj play LB or lets Vida play LB and brings in Mitrovic. I highly doubt that he starts Milic. Although, I did think Milic played okay against a weak Jordan last go around.