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Croatians Around Europe *XXIV*

March 17, 2017






Šime Vrsaljko walks off the pitch under his own power Sunday



Šime Vrsaljko had to be subbed off two minutes into Atletico’s game on Sunday with an apparent injury to his left knee ACL. Tests will be done on Vrsaljko this week but he has already been ruled out of Croatia’s World Cup qualifier against Ukraine this Friday. With Vedran Ćorluka also out, the Croatian backline just became an issue. Does manager Ante Čačić dare call Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren for the match? Lovren just returned back from his own injury but the two are anything but friends.




Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 10.45.22 PM



It was a slow week for Croatians in Spain. Luka Modrić got the start for Real Madrid in his 200th game with the club, playing 62 minutes in a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao as Mateo Kovačić remained on the bench as an unused sub. The win keeps Real Madrid two points ahead of Barcelona with a game in hand but all eyes are now on Real’s Champions League quarterfinal clash with Bayern Munich. Ivan Rakitić played 65 minutes as Barcelona held serve with a 4-2 win over Valencia. Alen Halilović played the last 10 minutes of Las Palmas’ 1-0 win over Villareal. The victory pulls Las Palmas within five points of safety in La Liga. Duje Čop sat out Sporting Gijon’s 3-1 win over Granada due to a red card suspension.









Andrej Kramarić played the full 90 minutes for Hoffenheim in their 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. Kramarić played behind the strikers in a 3-1-4-2 and was more quiet than his typical self, with one shot off target and 46 passes completed.  Tin Jedvaj was an unused sub for Leverkusen. After 24 matches in the Bundesliga, Hoffenheim remains in 4th, 5 points ahead of Hertha Berlin, while Leverkusen is a distant 11th.






Ante Rebić started on the left for Eintracht Frankfurt as they drew 0-0 at home to Hamburg on Saturday. While the match ended their 5 match losing streak, only one point at home to relegation threatened Hamburg will still be disappointing. Rebi created two chances and had one shot before he was subbed off in the 90th minute. Frankfurt moves down to 7th with the draw, one point out of the last Europa League spot.






Danijel Subašić started between the pipes as the good vibes continued for Monaco in a 3-0 win at Caen on Saturday. Subasic was only called upon to make two easy saves as Monaco were dominant throughout the match. PSG overcome a tough opponent in Lyon to win on Sunday, leaving Monaco 3 points up with 8 matches left to play. Monaco’s only loss in 2017 was their first leg Champions League tie at Manchester City.








Vedran Ćorluka was taken off at halftime after picking up an injury in Lokomotiv Moscow’s 1-1 draw with city rival Spartak Moscow on Saturday. The bad news for Croatia is the injury is serious enough that Ćorluka won’t be joining the Croatian squad for the upcoming international fixtures. He is expected to miss around two weeks.







Domagoj Vida played the full match at the back for Dynamo Kyiv on Friday in their 2-1 win over Chornomorets Odesa. This was the final regular season match for Kyiv, and their second place finish places them in the “Championship round”, which begins next weekend.




Mario Mandžukić in action against Sampdoria on Sunday

Mario Mandžukić in action against Sampdoria on Sunday


Juventus squeaked out an important a 1-0 win over Sampdoria on Sunday night. A 7th minute goal from Juan Cuadrado was all that separated the teams. Former Dinamo Zagreb striker,Mario Mandžukić
started up top and went the distance for Juventus in the win. Super Mario had a great chance to double the lead but his shot was accidentally blocked by Gonzalo Higuain on the goal-line. Mario finished the game with two shots.

Marko Pjaca couldn't get anything going against Sampdoria on Sunday

Marko Pjaca couldn’t get anything going against Sampdoria on Sunday


Marko Pjaca came on in the 28th minute for the injured Paulo Dybala. The former Dinamo Zagreb star didn’t do much to disrupt the Sampdoria defense as he finished the match without attempting a shot. Ante Budimir looked on from the bench for Sampdoria in the loss.

Ivan Perišić in action against Torino on Sunday

Ivan Perišić in action against Torino on Sunday

PHOTO: inter
Inter Milan played a disappointing 2-2 draw against Torino Saturday night. Croatian international Ivan Perišić started on the left wing and went the distance. The former Hajduk Split prospect registered six shots but failed to register any one of those six shots on goal. Ivan will enjoy the international weekend break as he will be suspended for the Ukraine qualifier on Friday.


Marcelo Brozović came on in the 76th minute of play for Inter Milan in search of a game winner. However, Inter had to settle for a draw as their Champions League dreams fade away. The draw leaves Inter in fifth place, five points behind third-placed Napoli, who hold the final Champions League spot.


Nikola Kalinić mobbed by teammates after scoring the game winner against Crotone on Sunday

Nikola Kalinić mobbed by teammates after scoring the game winner against Crotone on Sunday

Photo: ilnapolista.it


Nikola Kalinić saved the best for last as the former Hajduk Split star scored the game winner in the 89th minute in a 1-0 win for Fiorentina against Crotone on Sunday night. Fiorentina couldn’t get anything going offensively against a stubborn Crotone defense. A painfully undeserving win for Fiorentina who looked completely lost for ideas and invention.


Nikola Kalinić game winner


Milan Badelj started and played 71 minutes for Fiorentina in the win while Hrvoje Milić looked on from the bench.
Stipe Perica came on in the 58th minute of play for Udinese in a 4-1 win over Palermo on Sunday. Andrija Balić looked on from the bench in the win. Ivan Strinić and Marko Rog both looked on from the bench as Napoli almost squandered a 3-0 lead and held on for a 3-2 win against Empoli on Sunday. Mario Pašalić played the final 15 minutes for AC Milan in a 1-0 win against Genoa on Saturday.





Next Matches:






Friday, 3/24
World Cup Qualifiers
Ukraine at Croatia(12:45pm PST/3:45pm EST)(HRT2, Fox Soccer Plus), Iceland at Kosovo(12:45pm PST/3:45pm EST), Finland at Turkey(10am PST/1pm EST)(Fox Sports2),
Tuesday, 3/28
Croatia at Estonia(10am PST/1pm EST)(Friendly)



~Ante Kvartuč reporting from sunny Southern California and Zach Gilfix reporting from Minneapolis




Denis Svirčić
Posted By: Denis Svirčić 48 comments

  1. BZ says:

    No Strinic or Pasalic

    Pivaric probably plays LB vs Ukraine. I don’t like Strinic’s effort anyway so no drop off there.

  2. LAknat says:

    seem stupid Cacic never learned and just called up defiant and uncredible player. where is Pasalic, lovren and why Cop right there?

  3. Lazio says:

    Lovren has been injured, he might be playing against Man City today though, so I can understand why he hasn’t picked Lovren.
    Maybe Cop is there for the friendly against Estonia, can’t see him getting any minutes against the Ukraine. I would love to hear Cacic explain why Pasalic isn’t in the squad and this Bradaric character is!

    Vrsaljko Mitrovic Jedvaj Vida
    Brozovic Modric Rakitic Pjaca

    Should be good enough to win the game.

  4. Az says:

    Vrsaljko is injured in 2nd min..our first team of back four is not playing..plus perisic..no lovren no corluka no strinic no vrsj..thats it

  5. vuk says:

    so word coming out , is Dario srna has volunteered to step in for one game… it is not a permanent re joining of the team… but just an old vet throwing a helping hand in time of need

  6. Maminjo says:

    Vrsaljko is a big loss for us.

    He’s averaged one assist per game for us in these qualifiers. His picture perfect crosses are going to be missing in the Ukraine game.

    Huge upgrade from Srna, who (with the exception of these past Euros) looks like he does a lot only because he holds possessions and spends a lot of time falling and flopping before sending in a weak cross.

    Ever since Vrsaljko has been starting for us, we’ve actually been scoring some headers and have chances being created from the flanks.

    With no Perisic and no Vrsaljko, our attacks from the wing will be limited.

    Hopefully Mandzo can play his ass off on the wing like he has for Juve…or Pjaca and/or Brozovic have good games there for us.

    Corluka missing in the back will be tough too.

  7. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    That friendly match against Northern Ireland will prove crucial. We can play well with Jedvaj-Mitrovic-Vida-Leovac (the left back is on standby). We should be able to play equally well with Pivaric on the left side.

    Jedvaj, Mitrovic, Vida, Pivaric
    Rog, Modric, Kovacic
    Kramaric, Kalinic, Mandzukic

  8. Zee says:

    You right maminjo. Big loss. Srna might be viable option. I’m worried about next Friday. Vida and mitrovic gotta play out of their minds. Hopefully we will pull through this game.

  9. Soul Champ says:

    @ Svima

    Stari is hype about this Friday’s match.

    Key injuries and red card keeping some studs on the sideline?

    That is why having the most depth in the last decade comes into play.

    I have been hard on Srna over the last 2-3 years.

    But in a one off against Ukraine where he has been king, actually think he could be an asset at RB.

    Put Pjaca on his wing and there will be no worries.

    Kovačić is due to for a breakout.

    Rog is a BEAST.

    Kalinic scored AGAIN today.

    Mandžukić hasn’t seen service in a month on that midfield duty at Juve.

    Modrić is Modrić.

    Rakitic looked like crap today.

    Jedvaj needs a run out.

    Vida is BEAST.

    Kramaric is in BEAST mode as well.

    To early preliminary line up:

    Kramaric _______Kovacic ________Pjaca
    ________Modric ________Rakitic
    Pivaric___Vida ___Jedvaj____Srna


    Kalinic, Rog, Badelj

    U Boj …

  10. Dannyj says:

    Oh boy this just keeps getting better but luckily we have nuff depth to step up
    They have chance to shine and to make cacic job harder in future
    I don’t know if that’s just some rumor but srna still has some legs left. He knows the Ukraine players and would be a valuable asset. U know he wants to play bad still

  11. Dannyj says:

    U think they will play manzukkc on left side
    We already know he can run forever and will help the weak left back tremendously with his tracking back and tenacity

  12. Maminjo says:

    Mandzo and Kalinic both have to start, simply due to them being so in form right now.

    Mandzo won’t be able to send in any crosses for shit, but hopefully Kalinic can figure out a way to score. That dude has been scoring injury time goals like crazy in Serie A right now,

    Kramaric and Pjaca are a couple other offensive options who are also pretty in-form right now.

    It’s just a matter of how to correctly pick from Mandzo, Kalinic, Pjaca and Kramaric up front. Maybe we start all four with Mandzo and Pjaca on the wing and Kramaric right behind Kalinic?

    Of course, Rakitic, Kovacic and Brozovic are still in the equation too. Kinda hard to forget them, even if they’re not starting every league match.

    Good problem to have, but still difficult to find the right chemistry.

    Pressure is on Cacic to win this important home game. Doesn’t help that the fans will almost certainly try and sabotage this match.

  13. Zee says:

    Soul champ i hope you right. I’m worried like i said. Gotta win this game on Friday of we in deep trouble!

  14. Soul Champ says:

    @ Z

    It is good to feel worried.

    Ukraine are a hard running team and have some quality attack wingers. Plus they have been a bit of a bogie team for us over the years. With our full crew we could have given them a beat down.

    Our boys will need to come out with focus intent.

    Maybe the crowd will be positive.

    If there is not the national guard holding down security then we truly are gripped with idiocy.

    Čačić needs to earn his keep this week.

    Put the availabe horses in the courses.

    We have enough available talent to play 14 players that will produce a result.

    At home we need to be the aggressor.

    U boj

  15. Lazio says:

    I enjoyed Kreilach’s work in that clip, hopefully Union Berlin get promoted, right now they’re 2pts off top spot with a game in hand.
    They’ve got Punčec as well, I might be a Union Berlin fan next season!

  16. Jm says:

    Cacic saying srna retired from the nt too early. I say wave him back in for a game…. But all signs so far point to a no go

  17. Vulvaich says:

    I hope the Ultras come out in force. Some flares and explosions
    Would be nice. Banana and racist chants galore. This should make the faux Croats happy. FU the EU !!

  18. idemo says:

    heard there was a Croatian owned company in California that does international moving/shipping….. planning on moving back to Croatia this year any of you know this person or company or recommend any international moving services? @Mishko?

  19. Faux Cro says:

    @Soul Champ:

    I agree with you about Srna and Rakitic.

    Srna is perfect for a a one off game against the Ukraine.

    I don’t think Rakitic or Barca have looked particularly good this year.

    Not replacing Dani Alves has affected how Rakitic plays.

  20. BZ says:

    I’d take Srna in a heartbeat. We have all been hard on him, but if Vrsaljko ever gives us a tourney like the one Srna had in Euro 2016, then I would be pleasantly surprised ( and I have been high on Vrsaljko lately, although if it is an acl then he might never regain that straight line speed.)

    F the EU is one thing, but don’t ruin the game.
    Not sure there would be any misguided reason for them to use the banana chants vs Ukraine, is there? Hopefully not.

  21. Lika Joey says:

    Bz, apparently Vrsajko doesn’t need surgery…it isn’t as bad of an injury as they first thought.

  22. Ante says:

    I heard the Croatian fans are preparing to disgrace themselves again with chants like za dom spremni

  23. Bobby V says:

    Don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but, Luka Modric’s form in the past month or so has dropped dramatically.

    He has been losing the ball more and has not connected on his passes. He doesn’t seem alert or into the last few matches.

    He has been substituted a few times and left out of a few games, including against Las Palmas, and it has nothing to do with the Champions League schedule.

    Tired, hurt, or both?

  24. Bobby V says:

    Doesn’t look like Croatia – Ukraine on WatchESPN or Fox Sports in the States.

    Anybody know if it will be on YouTube?

    Will have to watch it on SAAN TV.

  25. Brkic says:

    @BobbyV on Modric

    Yes, I agree there has been a drop in his recent form.

    I noticed him grabbing and stretching his groin area in the early minutes of last weekends game. Aside from that I can’t say I have a theory on it.

    He’s still one of the best players on the pitch for Madrid, so guessing he is being subbed/left off to rest him where possible. I know many will disagree, but Modric is the best we have ever had… hoping he can hold up for a few more years.

  26. Ante says:

    So glad espn is carrying Serbia Georgia and Kosovo Iceland rather than Croatia Ukraine. This is what Croatian fans get for disgracing themselves with chants like za dom spremni

  27. Kyle says:

    Game is being broadcast on ‘Fox Soccer Plus’ in the states. If you don’t have fox sports plus, I recommend you go to http://www.fubo.tv (new online tv provider-like sling/vue) and sign-up for free 7 days trail. Once you’ve signed up, you can download the app on roku or watch online within the browser.

  28. LAknat says:


  29. Zee says:

    Maybe badelj instead of kovacic.

  30. Bobby V says:

    @Kyle – thanks for the info.

    I have a Roku box, downloaded the Fox Sports Go app (free) and login using my father’s Brighthouse Cable account info in Florida rather than my Comcast info here in Boston. He gets way more soccer channels than we do, (including Fox Soccer Plus) which allows me to watch everything he has.

  31. CroatianPerson85 says:


    Try batman stream or sportlemon to stream any sporting event. I’ve been watching all Cro games and UFC here for the past few years.

  32. CroatianPerson85 says:


    Why do you not like the phrase “Za dom spremni”? Aside from Zionist/commie Yugoslavs docking us points which is why we all get pissed collectively regardless of our sociopolitical views.

    There is a deeper underlying issue behind that whole ZDS controversy. It’s not a nazi chant. It existed well before any Nazis. Mind you it’s a Wikipedia link, so grain of salt.

    https://hr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Za_dom (For those who can read Croatian)

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Za_dom_spremni (English)

    Amazing how different history is depending on who writes it. English version says this chant began in the 40’s. Croatian version shows its from the 1600’s. Make of it what you will.

  33. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Bobby V,

    I have roku as well, the Mexican version and I get most movies that just recently came out to theatres on my tv.

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