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Dalić Names 32-Man Preliminary Squad For Russia

May 14, 2018




The World Cup is officially one month away with the opening match between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia set for June 14th. The Vatreni open up against Nigeria on June 16th.



Croatia manager Zlatko Dalić has named his 32-man squad which will take on Brazil in Liverpool on June 3rd and Senegal in Osijek on June 7th in pre-World Cup friendlies.



There’s not much of a surprise with the first 32. The squad will be trimmed down to an official 23 World Cup players by June 4th.


“On this list are mostly players who we have relied on so far, who have shown the burden of qualification and took Croatia to Russia. There are also several new names, Sosa and Letica, who were not yet in the A team, and players who are close to being named such as Brekalo, Vlašić, Livaja, Benković and Halilović – this is a confirmation that we believe in their talent and recognize their work and that they are surely the future of our team with the young players already involved,” manager Zlatko Dalić stated.



Nine players from this list are confirmed to be dropped prior to the start of the World Cup. Of those, Letica, Barišić, Nižić, Ćaleta-Car, Sosa, Bradarić, Čop and Santini are expected to watch the World Cup from their living rooms; barring injuries.



Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 50 comments

  1. Andrej L says:

    Let’s just hope he doesn’t start Kalinic for once. I don’t see Pasalic making the squad in conjunction with the guys Kvartuc mentioned. Seems obvious that barring any injuries, he’s taking the top 8 def, 6 mids, and 6 attackers.

  2. Soul Champ says:

    Dalić getting real conservative with our attack wing options.

    Now we have to hope both Pjaca and Rebic are 100 percent?

    Halilovic is a head scratcher?

    He has come back from serious ankle injury and has played in La Liga!

    Brekalo is the goods.

    Vlašić is always on the front foot.

    From the young ones who made the 32:

    Čaleta-Car has to make the cut.

    I also would take Borna Sosa as he fills the need of a quality LB.

    Strinic has lost his heart for the Vatreni.

    Pivaric is pedestrian at best.

  3. Slavonac from Canada says:

    My God, we would complain even if every one of our selected players were in top form. Lets analyze this for a second….who would we replace from this list of players for Halilovic, and Vlasic? You honestly think they’d be game changers?

    There will be the usual 11-14 players selected and will see the field. The only way we’d see others get minutes is in case of injury or if we somehow walked through the first two games with a win in each.

    I’m really not worried about our 17th, 18th and 19th choice for the team. The most important positions we need to fill will be at Left back, and an attacker down the right side…the rest we should be ok with. Subs will be used tactically or in case of some injury….and in that case, we better hope we don’t have an issue at left back.

    There shouldn’t be some type of mystery here. All of us know who the first 14-15 players are and its not like Halilovic or Vlasic would come in and surprise us all!

  4. vuki says:

    Pretty upsetting to see the likes of Čop and Santini in there. Sure Santini does well enough for Caen, but he is not going to sniff the field at the World Cup if he manages to make the squad. I don’t see why he would not call up at least one more young player that can play on the wing. Brekalo, Halilovic, Vlasic…I just hope that since this will be the last World Cup/major tournament for many of our older players, they come out and give it their all to do as well as they can. When our team plays to its full potential they can beat any team. All we can do is hope.

  5. Lovro says:

    Do I honestly think Halilovic can be a game changer? You bet your sweet ass. He’s one of the few we have. Needing a goal in the last few minutes in a game, he’d be the first player I’d sub in, especially as bad as our forwards are.

  6. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Alen Halilovic – 19 games played – 2 goals – 1 assist

    “Needing a goal in the last few minutes in a game, he’d be the first player I’d sub in, especially as bad as our forwards are”…

    come on Lovro, he’s had 35 appearances with Las palmas since 2017 and scored 2 measily goals and you’d bet on him? based on what?

    Look bro, we really don’t have a ton to pick from down that right side but I’d prefer an injured Pjaca or Vlasic (who hasn’t been called) before I’d choose Halilovic. He reminds me of Freddy Adu as the kid that never really reached the expected potential. with that said, he has time but we shouldn’t be banking anything on Halilovic at this point since he’s proven he can’t help any of the teams he’s been on to do relatively well!

    there’s a lot more to a game than one or two slalom runs! there are defensive duties as well as being involved with and without the ball! Halilovic would be good if dribbling was counted for points but as of now, he’s really not as good as he was presented to us at first!

  7. Lovro says:

    Halilovic would be surrounded by world class players, not by a team just relegated to the second division.

  8. Toronto Croatia Toronto Croatia says:

    I think the squad looks pretty good. Can’t complain.

    And Ante ..not that its your fault but now that more eyes will be on this website during world cup time you might have to do a better job at moderating these forums. The Liberal media would love to paint Croatians as racist or homophobic so having trolls going off in the comment sections dont help.

  9. The truth says:

    Agreed with slavonac

    Croatia must be positively painted to the outside world

    This squad is exactly what was expected. Which is fine.

  10. Poglavnik says:

    Halilovic doesn’t know how to pass and he’s selfish. He’s fun to watch but he would drive our veterans nuts.
    He can wait for the next cycle.
    He played no part in getting us there. So unless he was truly lighting it up since our qualifying ended (which he hasn’t) he doesn’t deserve to go.

  11. Soul Champ says:

    Halilovic before his injury was putting in sweet crosses for his scrub Las Palmas teammates.

    Then he went down with severe ankle injury and he came back to work his body into shape.

    We need a RW to compliment our two best players.

    Perisic and Modrić need some support in the attacking third.

    We are competing against Nigeria – Argentina – Iceland.

    You better be able to run with Nigeria and Iceland and if you can’t score against Argentina then you have no chance of producing a result.

    Halilovic is an ideal fit for a RW role with our current squad.

    I’ll take Vlašić in a heartbeat as he runs like he wants to make something happen.

    This pretense like Halilovic is “Freddy Adu?” is BS.

    @ Lovro

    Great point.

    Las Palmas is not the Croatian national team.

    His matured game on the RW is just what the doctor ordered.

    @ Svima

    Please list who can actually dribble attack on the RW for Croatia from this 32?

  12. Incognito says:

    Toronto Croatia makes a good point.

    Ante, you should consider bringing in some sort of approval system for posts during the World Cup, perhaps even after if it goes well. While I enjoy a good debate, some of the stuff I read on here is childish, immature or just flat out racist. You should delegate post approval to trusted individuals to filter out the smeće before it gets posted.

    The media will be all over this site and will not hesitate to paint us all with the same brush based on what they read.

  13. Slavonac from Canada says:

    ok Soul Champ, I decided I have to pick on you today!

    “Halilovic before his injury was putting in sweet crosses for his scrub Las Palmas teammates.

    Then he went down with severe ankle injury and he came back to work his body into shape.

    We need a RW to compliment our two best players”
    “Perisic and Modrić need some support in the attacking third”

    Are you suggesting that Modric is a goal scorer now and that Halilovic would serve him?

    Honestly Soul, you really are a cheerleader at times…but I do know you’re a good guy!

  14. Lika Joey says:

    Slavonac, I agree 100% on your view on Halilovic. Toronto Croatia…support 81 Toronto brother! I just hope Dalic isn’t as green as his resume. Pasalic, Bradaric…no Brekalo? I think Brekalo should of got the call up.

  15. Andrej L says:

    I think most us will agree on the final cut. The issue is the media build up on guys like Brekalo, Vlasic, and Halilovic. Most of us think of them as the future and would like to see them get experience with the senior team.

    If Rebic or Pjaca get injured, is it really a good idea to bring in Cop or Santini?!? In this situation, I think Dalic pushes Rog up as the back up winger and brings in Pasalic or Bradaric. So why are Cop and Santini even there; neither are natural wingers and we don’t need more CFs. I think this is where the real issue is. I think most people agree that Rebic had a better season than Vlasic, Brekalo, and Halilovic. Despite the injury, we all know how dangerous Pjaca can be. So I can understand no Brekalo, Halilovic, or Vlasic on the final cut but why not try bring them as back ups for these exhibition games. At least he brought Sosa and Caleta-Car to get some senior team experience.

  16. Iggy says:

    I don’t agree with siphoning ALL comments off to some moderation system. It”s a mood killer when we are posting as we just score a goal in the WC and then the post doesnt appear for 20 mins, no point doing that.

    Perhaps just police the forums closely and/or have some kind of keyword blocker, i mean u know the ones that need to go are the really racist posts. Childish or silly posts are absolutely fine, even totally stupid posts are fine and should stand, and argumentative ones too.

    All you need to remove is the abject racism which has crept in especially on the article before this.

    Also i would’ve liked Brekalo in the squad over the no-hopers like Santini, if nothing else, acknowledge youth rather than older guys if neither are going to play

  17. The truth says:

    Steps to properly filtering this site for the broader media

    Delete all the racist nonsense

    Highlight all my comments in yellow so the world/media know that Croatians are capable of sound soccer analysis backed with analytics

  18. Niko Kolac says:

    We will be out in the group stage ESPN FC thinks so we might lose first game to Crna Rasa Nigerija.

  19. crnkovic says:

    message for anonymous. let me assure you my brother. the white race is not under threat.

    firstly, every civilisation in history has been diverse. the romans, the babylonians, the aztecs, the benin. all of them have had diverse ethnic populations. the concentration of wealth in any civilisation is a result of the work done by those on its periphery so the clothes we wear are made for very little money in bangladesh, the gold and the oil come from somewhere not your back garden. so its only natural and just that people themselves will also gravitate towards the concentration of wealth. the only way to mitigate that is to create a more even playing field across the globe

    secondly, people will more often than not marry within their own culture. most nigerian people create kids with other nigerian people, same for croatians, greeks, italians, thais etc etc…creating a new generation of that heritage. nobody is going around murdering white people on mass. so therefore the best way to ensure the survival of the white race is to calm down, get a decent job, be a good guy and find a nice croatian girl to marry and have kids with. then we can all get on with trying to make the best of a difficult world

  20. crnkovic says:

    a word on our opponents. i saw iheanoachos goal yesterday at it scared me a little. but its worth remembering that this nigeria team is not the vintage of the 1990’s. yes they have energy and talent and desire and they will have a game plan. but this nigeria team doesn’t have a single world class player in its ranks. no okocha, kanu, yekini, west, oliseh, finidi, amuneke. our team has several players who are at the top of their game. world class players with big experience and big talent. as long as our team can match the motivation of the nigerians of course we should win. same for argentina. they have messi and other fantastic forwards but across the pitch we can match them

  21. The truth says:

    @ crnkovic

    It’s fun for us to analyze but really it’s pretty worthless.

    Argentina is head and shoulders above the group

    After that it’s an even split between the rest

    Luck will likely decide who advances but the diaspora will jump on all sorts of reasoning when really were just playing dice

  22. Horvat says:

    Can’t everyone see this “The Truth”” guy was once using the name “Turkey”.

    I feel sorry for him! He is burning with so much envy he can’t keep himself away from Croatian sports or tourist sites.

  23. Anonymous says:

    No truth is not turkey. Truth is ziva. I dont agree that argentina are head and shoulders above the rest. They got hammered the other day by spain. They got beat the other day 4-2 by nigeria. Get outta here with your inferiority complex

  24. Crnkovic says:

    @croyo. Homo sapiens says i found hawaii in a canoe. Invented music. Tamed wolves. Painted the cisteen chapel. And been to the moon. So you neandertals better show some respect

  25. The truth says:

    When Argentina wants to play, they are head and shoulders above the rest

    They were unfocused for qualifiers and don’t care about friendlies

    Let’s look at their last three tournaments where they cared… Runner up in would cup 2014, copa America 2015 and 2016

    Croatia pretends like it has stars on its team cause Ivan rakitic plays for Barcelona… Argentina has real stars

    Assuming they were all Croatian, i would trade perisic, mandzukic, kramaric and rakitic for messi in a 4 for 1 trade

  26. Maminjo says:

    I would have liked to see Halilovic and Brekalo in the squad. Don’t like seeing Caleta-Car being dismissed before even given a chance in these friendlies. All these players had very solid seasons.

    Even though they likely won’t play (even if they made the squad), it’s not impossible that we get hit with a collection of injuries or cards…and if that were to happen, I don’t see how a player like Duje Cop provides ANY value at all.

    Guys like Cop, Bradaric and Santini had just as little impact in us getting to this World Cup than any of these youngsters who are trending upward in their careers.

    Just because they were all ‘called up’ at some point during the campaign, doesn’t mean they had any impact to us being here. Kind of stupid on Dalic to say this but whatever. He seems cut from the same people-pleasing cloth as Slaven Bilic. I will judge him after the tournament though. Hopefully he surprises us with some good tactics to compensate for his loyalty to players like Mandzo, Kalinic and Lovren.

  27. Lika Joey says:

    I wouldn’t trade messi for all those players. Messi with Argentina is 40% the player he is with Barca.

  28. The truth says:

    Leave modric and I’d probably be willing to swap everyone else out to get messi and play with Croatia b team

    Rebic messi pjaca
    Kovacic modric bozovic
    Pivariv jedvaj corluka whoever
    . Kalinic

    Greater than current Croatia team

  29. Anonymous says:

    Horvat said,
    Can’t everyone see this “The Truth”” guy was once using the name “Turkey”.

    No, why don’t you enlighten us?

    @Crnkovic said,
    “No truth is not turkey. Truth is ziva.”

    How do you know this?

    @Ante K said,
    “And by shit comments, I mean those comments that have nothing to do with the subject material.”

    Horvat & Crnkovic, do you guys believe that your comments have anything to do with the subject material?

    Anyway, my thoughts on who The truth & Ziva are,

    @Ante K is the dumbass that said the players should “walk off the pitch at halftime against Ukraine,” and a stupider comment there never has been. Are the problems that led him to believe the players should “walk off the pitch at halftime against Ukraine” still present? “Walking off the pitch” would’ve been some “short term pain for long term gain” in his opinion? Ziva Istina used to say that!

    @Ante K also said that his biggest fear in the UCL final is Lovren “cleating up on Modric.” @The truth aired the same concerns, these two are the only ones to come up with that doozy!
    Did @Ante K know of @The truth’s comment when he said what he did about Lovren and just repeat it like it was his own thought, or is he @The truth, and was he Ziva? Me thinks it’s the latter.

  30. The truth says:

    Well the truth being Turkey would be tough since i speak Croatian

    If there is so much curiosity, let me give you guys some info and anyone truly motivated enough could probably piece things together

    The truth description
    -foremost expert on Croatian sports, politics and analytics
    -biggest domoljub out there
    -former soccer player who left home in the 90s right before the war
    -after career cut short moved back home before moving to the US to start up a business. Now retired for the most part
    -resides in tri state area
    -likes to shred on kite board when he gets the chance

  31. Anonymous says:

    Truth Troll is a 11 year old boy with quite an imagination, and a penchant for trolling in the internet and calling Croatian athletes childish and disrespectful names

  32. LAknat says:

    with the greatest formation ever 3-5-2
    Vrsaljko is expected to be more effective in every match!
    as a right side, He can join in the attack and make midfield even thicker with more momentum than usual (4-3-3). Halilovic will be fit in his replace with a good dribbling and running compare to Pjaca.

    Remember LAknat prophecy
    vs Nigeria:
    the main focus is a referee that will apparently be unfair and support Nigeria with their diving act!
    vs Argentine:
    Interestingly, best performing ever!
    vs Iceland:
    Disappointing, midget history will repeat again!

  33. croop says:

    Really don’t get why a player like Cop, a 28 year old striker who only scored 6 goals in 30 games in Belgium gets a spot on the list over one of our young dynamic players such as Brekalo, Halilovic, Vlasic or even Majer. Players who would give us some depth on the wings one of the areas we are lacking.

  34. Tone says:

    Any update on Sime? Hopefully taken off as precaution for WC but alteltico probably don’t care about that

  35. Vlad says:

    I’m pretty sure sime was taken off due to cards he had a yellow. in the semi he got two yellow against arsenal so I’m sure the coaches weren’t really trusting him

  36. BZ says:

    1) Vrsaljko likely taken off because of a combination of the following a) He had a yellow card, another card could have put their title at risk. b) Atletico has a good backup in Juanfran

    2)All Inter has to do is win vs Lazio. The first tiebreaker is H2h result and they tied the first game. Even if not, I am not sure where you get 5 goals from?

  37. chi1 says:

    BZ – I originally also thought the 1st tiebreaker was league GD (like in the Bundesliga). In that case, Inter would have needed to beat Lazio by 4 goals (they are -6 in GD to Lazio, and also scored many fewer goals. Therefore they would have needed to beat them by 4 in order to have a better GD).

    After you posted though, I saw that yeah, head-head is the 1st tiebreaker for Serie A. So yeah, Inter just needs to win by a goal to get the last CL spot. Should be pretty intense.

  38. BZ says:

    All good, Inter v Lazio is a must see. Perisic & Brozo get a chance to display their crunch time abilities before the World Cup. Will they succeed or will they give the trolls on this forum more fodder for their Mental Midget agenda?

    Will say that I am a bit worried, because Perisic’s legs have looked tired these past few months. Still love him, but he is not 100%. I say rest him for 1 or both of the friendlies.

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