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Vatreni Going Full Speed At Spain

September 9, 2018

11 za Španjolsku-



If you thought Zlatko Dalić and Croatia would take their foot off the gas pedal come UEFA Nations League (UNL)…you were wrong.



The Vatreni face Spain in Elche in their UNL debut game on Tuesday with a full starting lineup; minus injuries of course.



The UNL is a new tournament taking place from September 2018 through June 2019. It tiers all European teams into four leagues, with Croatia currently in the A-League, the strongest one. Croatia were grouped with Spain in England. Whoever tops the group will go to the semifinals in June. Whoever finishes last in the group will be relegated to the B-League in four years. The team that wins the A-League playoff in June will be crowned UNL champions and will earn an automatic berth to Euro 2020. Three automatic berths also go to the champions of Leagues B, C and D. That means the UNL will produce four total berths for Euro 2020 before proper qualifying even begins.



New Croatia #1 goalkeeper Lovre Kalinić will be in goal with Domagoj Vida and Clube Brugge defender Matej Mitrović in front of him. The 24 year-old Mitrović was solid in the back against Portugal and is currently filling in for an injured Dejan Lovren. World Cup Instagram phenom Šime Vrsaljko will play his right-back position with Josip Pivarić opposite of him. With a 31-yer old Ivan Strinić battling heart issues, the left-back position is Pivarić’s to lose as he played okay there coming off the bench in Russia.



Nothing changes in the midfield with Modrić and Rakitić pulling the strings while Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozović adds defensive cover. Ivan Perišić and Marko Pjaca will play the wings with AEK Athens striker Marko Livaja playing as the lone forward. Croatia is currently thin in the strike force will Kramarić and Rebić out with injury, even though Krama will be on the bench for this match. He played and scored in Hoffenheim’s last match.



The last time Croatia and Spain met was in the Euro 2016 group finale where the Vatreni came back to win 2-1 to top the group. Subašić blocked a Ramos penalty and Perišić scored off the left wing in Bordeaux with five minutes remaining in the match. Marko Pjaca was playing out of his mind and if he can replicate those efforts, Croatia will be in good shape moving forward.




Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 20 comments

  1. Soul Champ says:

    Dalić deployment spot on once again.

    Please refresh the side early in second half with Kovačić.

    Livaja .. you want to rock the man bun .. please score verse Spain and it’s all good.

    Actually Livaja has some game and just needs to roll with the elite talent around him.

    Mitrovic will ensure all set pieces will be taken care of.

    UNL is the best thing for Croatia in the history of UEFA.

    Replace at Estonia to at Spain .. yes please!

  2. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    Pivaric and Brozovic add more attacking possibilties than the lineup that played Portugal. Rakitic should help us keep possession better too. Ajmo!

  3. Chopper says:

    I reckon we can drop the ‘L’ from Kalinic given the ‘N’ is likely never to put the shirt on again

  4. LAknat for UEFA President says:

    I will change the format as not allowing a winner from B, C, D group qualify automatically!

  5. jkhgfdgh says:

    this site is a godsend for serbs, especially the chetnik ultranationalist serbs and the seselj, dodik, karadzic, vucic loving crowd, they go about with their agendas all over the world and you guys constantly suck each others dicks about soccer jockstraps, how much do serbs pay you to keep going with this drivel drek regularly?

  6. someguy says:

    Really?…………………take your hand out of your pants and get the fuck off of this site, you fucking weirdo

  7. Z says:

    I also don’t understand why the lower leagues get direct qualification. Just doesn’t make sense. Prize money, I understand.

  8. Soul Champ says:

    I like that A, B, C and D get automatic bids.

    UNL will make all of Europe stronger.

    The automatic bid gives an edge to the UNL.

    If lower tier team wins their level then they earned it.

    Man “n” player would have started tomorrow?!

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    All good.

    Livaja has an opportunity for instant relevance.

    Because I love Rebić as our center forward.

    Also Pjaca .. leave your heart and soul on that pitch tomorrow!

  9. BZ says:

    u-21 did what was expected v Belarus. 4-0

    Big question, can our great team make Livaja, Santini or Cop look good?

    Livaja’s game vs Portugal was terrible, but as an optimist, I’ll chalk it up to big game jitters. Time to man up Livaja!

    Thought Santini deserved to start based on his willingness to hustle, but again, these guys aren’t the answer.

  10. The truth says:

    I was surprised by livajas lethargy during the Portugal but maybe that’s just his style

    Different players have different motors. Olic, rebic, mandzukic are cut from one type of clothes

    It’s a feather in the cap but not necessary to be great. Messi runs an extremely low motor, covers little ground, and walks but might be the greatest ever

    Granted, livaja is no messi so maybe it’s time he starts hustling

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