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Dalić Names Croatia Squad For Euro 2020 Qualifiers vs. Slovakia, Azerbaijan

August 20, 2019


The Vatreni will have to hit the ground running in September as Euro 2020 qualifying returns. Croatia will have two away matches; having to play Slovakia in Trnava on September 6th and Azerbaijan in Baku three days later.



Ideally, six points and a clean sweep of the road trip would be nice, but if Croatia can manage four points from these two matches, they will be fine.



There aren’t any major changes from the usual 23-man squad except for Andrej Kramarić, who is currently injured and has been moved to the “standby” list. Even with Croatia’s best option up top out, Ante Rebić and Bruno Petković should be able to handle the defenses of Slovakia and Azerbaijan with Ivan Perišić and Josip Brekalo on the wings. Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić will cement the middle of the field as always. Perišić hasn’t played for Bayern Munich yet this season but should have a couple games under his belt before the international break hits.



Where Croatia is strong in midfield, they are weak in defense. With World Cup 2018 All-Star defenders Šime Vrsaljko and Ivan Strinić out due to injury and rehab; and Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren out of commission as he awaits a transfer, it will be interesting to see who is in shape to bunker the backline. Domagoj Vida, Tin Jedvaj and Matej Mitrović may have to deliver the goods in these qualifiers. On the goalie sign, Croatia #1 Lovre Kalinić has not played a game for Aston Villa this season which means Dinamo’s Dominik Livaković could get the start.



Lots of decisions for manager Zlatko Dalić at the moment. Who would be in your Starting XI?



Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 44 comments

  1. Dannyj says:

    Livakovic has to start
    I know Dinamo is doing well in champions league
    Have to assume he is playing well

  2. Maminjo says:

    Too many Dinamo guys on the team!

    Mamić je kriv! He’s using the National Team as a showcase to sell his players!

    We need a foreign coach who doesn’t answer to Mamić!


  3. Medo says:

    Great job on the Reddit Vuki and cro14 but I’m curious as to how you came up with the numerical rating for each player?
    I had no idea we had such a log-jam of young keepers…you have to feel bad for some of these guys that will never get a shot at representing their country.

  4. Maminjo says:

    This spreadsheet is actually pretty good.

    Croatian Sports should post a dedicated HTML page for this, that can be easily updated.

    I like the layout, with the photos of each player next to their stats.

    Did not realize the insane sleeve tattoos that Adrian Semper has (already at age 20).

    Also, Toma Basic is pretty like Emma Watson.

    Majer, Moro, and Ivanusec are looking like they’re gonna be solid to great players. Looks like Coric and Halilovic are pretty much done now, with these guys already surpassing them. Not even mentioning Krovinovic, Basic, Vlasic, Sunjic, Palaversa, Pasalic, Bistrovic…

    If you’re a Croatian midfielder, and you blink, your spot can already be taken by the next one, lol.

  5. Dannyj says:

    I hope you guys are right
    U have a number of high rated prospects
    Let’s hope we have future deep runs in tourneys!

  6. CroatiaU14 says:

    @Medo: the numerical ratings are mostly based on the player’s potential to play with the national team during his career. Also, some of the really young players’ ratings (Marin, Bulat, Palaversa) were boosted because because, at such a young age, they’ve already made a name for themselves in the Croatian soccer world (I hope that makes sense).

    @DannyJ after seeing clips of Čolina playing, it’s obvious that he has all the tools in the bag to become a very strong wing back for us: his speed, defending and dribbling abilities are great for a player so young. I’m really hoping he gets playing time at Hajduk this season. Maybe after the 2022 World Cup, whoever the coach is at the time will give him a chance with the national team, just like how Dalić did with Brekalo, Vlašić, and Benković. Because of his very young age, he’s probably behind Jedvaj, Barisić, and Sosa at the moment. But we never know, one or two absolute fantastic seasons could change that.

  7. CroatiaU14 says:

    U21 roster for September Euro Qualifications is out.

    Names like Marin, Ćuže, and Kulenović are on the list, which is great to see. Dinko Horkaš, Luka Ivanušec, Nikola Moro, Lovren Majer, and Boško Šutalo are also there.

    Can’t wait to watch these real young guys in action.

  8. CroatiaU14 says:

    @Maminjo that last line is so true. At least that shows that we have a lot of youth prospects in the middle of the pitch. But then again, it always seems to be the biggest midfield prospects that fall out.

  9. vuki says:

    Like CroatiaU14 said, the potentials aren’t necessarily related to all of the players in the world, but rather our players. A very high rating means we think they will end up being at least consistently in the national team based on our current opinion of the player.

    Also, one of the things CroatiaU14 and I thought could be a cool little thing to do is have a young player of the week each week. Like the best performer of the week out of the players on the list. Would people be interested in that?

  10. The truth says:

    I’d be interested in young player of the week. I’ve really fallen off tracking a lot these guys. We had the interns and the new guys at my firm doing soccer analytics for a whole to sharpen and test their coding skills,, but things have been so busy lately that’s largely stopped now so all the stat projections i used to get agent coming any more. So this is a good way to keep up to date

  11. Medo says:

    I would not write off Coric just yet…riding the pine at Roma we are clueless as to how he’s progressed be it most of it practice.
    Halilovic is another story…he’s running out of leagues and chances

  12. CroatiaU14 says:

    Halilović should just go back to the HNL for guaranteed playing time.

    I know this isn’t a big deal but the U20 team beat Cibalia’s first team 3-0. One of the goals came from Baturina.

  13. Mr. Black says:

    News about the English Championship

    Ivan Sunjic played 90 the entire game today for Birmingham City against Barnsley. Birmingham won 2-0.

    Simon Sluga (or third or probably second goalie) lost with Luton today (1-0 against Sheffield). Simon played the full 90 minutes.

  14. . .Crnkovic says:

    I think the problem that coric and halilovic have (hopefully it won’t be the same for Marin) is that their talent is so exeptional that it carried them all the way to HNL prominence and to moves to big clubs. Then there are two ways, either work hard at becoming a pro who is also able to do the simple things perfectly as well as the talent. Guys like modric and David Silva have done that, realised they are no maradona so become world class role players. Or alternatively push the limits of their talent in effect saying that tactics are secondary for them because they are that good…guys like gascoigne and prosinecki had the balls to do that. Unfortunately they have done neither..

  15. Dannyj says:

    The whole talent with out hard work statement holds true for Halilovic
    If he humbled himself works hard and digs deep he can prob have a decent career still

    Do u guys think Livakovic is our guy for the next 4 years or more? I know in that list there are a couple of young talented keepers but it does seem like Livakovic could Be a subasic type quality guy

  16. Maminjo says:

    We need to stick with Livaković.

    Lovre Kalinić looked horrible this past year, and I don’t wanna see anything like that in a tournament.

    We’ve already had too many goalkeeper blunders to last us a lifetime.

    Livaković looks decent, and is still only 24. This is very important. He’s never looked too shaky, and will only get better with experience.

    Kalinić is already 29 and has hit rock bottom, riding the pine for his club so shortly after his transfer. Who knows when he will get back to his highest level of play… And at this age, who cares.

    No point in putting our time and money on a guy who may bounce back when he’s 31 then only give us a couple years before dropping again.

    We’ve never had a young keeper as our #1.

    We may as well try it now. Nothing to lose.

  17. vuki says:

    I definitely say go with Livakovic until someone becomes better than him (if anyone does). Also, I still never thought Subasic was that great of a GK. It is true he is a big reason that we made it to the final of the World Cup, but there have been many moments where I was asking myself what he was doing.

  18. Maminjo says:


    We’re always a couple years too late when moving on to the next goalkeeper.

    Subašić was good in 2014, but we stuck it out with Pletikosa for the 2014 World Cup and it cost us dearly.

    Kalinić was more in form than Subašić in this past World Cup, and although Subašić had a great shootout with Denmark, he was incredibly shaky in every other game he played in that World Cup.

    Now it’s Kalinić that suddenly fell off a cliff… but luckily, we made the switch. Livaković will probably have a great season, and it will carry through into the next tournament. We can’t wait on Kalinić. He can be our backup, and that’s that.

  19. vuki says:

    Yes Subasic was better than Pletikosa in 2014 when Pletikosa was at the end of his career. I completely agree with that, but he was always shaky to me. The first thing that comes to mind is when he just palmed the ball straight back out for the Turkish striker in qualifying. He was a good goalie, better than many national teams have, but he is held in such high esteem because of that penalty shootout. And fair enough, he saved us there. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy for being a decent keeper, but still overall, not as good as people have recently said he was.

  20. Crnkovic says:

    stipe. is the f man. the f in man. stand up and deal with bitches. stand up like that. yes yes. i need a new t-shirt. i know a lot of you dont even understand. i hope goran sent him a message

  21. Crnkovic says:

    cormier is a hell of a fighter. i tell you. i compare him to eubank. propa martial artist. now what miocic did… kind of beyond that. think

  22. Suba says:

    What Subasic was the man he owned that World Cup

    U can’t hold one little mistake against turkey in instanbul against him

    No respect man

  23. Kobilo says:

    Croatia will not qualify for the Euros and are headed for a 4-6 year slump.

    Our top players are over 30 and under 24 years old. Not enough talent in the most important age group.

    We will resemble our neighboring countries for awhile, but will be back to having a top 15 team in the World again around 2025.

  24. Kruno says:

    Yes, no structure to develop players properly during the war, 1991-1995, has come to roost. It will show starting in this qualification.

  25. Soul Champ says:

    @ Vuki and Croatia U14

    You two are a 100 in my book!

    Need to have a regular youth report here at C.S.

    Also it allows all the old cynical Hrvati to come out talk about all the “busts” and who will never make it.

    @ Kobilo and Kruno

    Fair points .. AND .. when we qualify and make a deep run next summer don’t be a Ziva Istina and run away from your posts.

    Most crew :


    Spremni crew:


    Uvijek vjerni crew:


    Also at least one of all these talented youngsters like a Moro will breakthrough.

    Now World Cup 2022 maybe the challenge as our core legends retire?

    But some of these kids will step up.

    I am hoping more fight their way onto the Euro 2020 squad.

    This September is pivotal and Dalic has proven he can put the horses in the courses to start .. it is his plan B and C in games that he is improving but not quite there.

    It is time for Rebić to lead the line.

    With Kramaric out he has space to shine.

    Also sneaky feeling that Perišić will be in the mood with Kramaric out and wanting to make a statement at Bayern.

    Motivated Perišić is a must watch!

  26. Maminjo says:

    @person posting as both Kobilo and Kruno…

    There is no way we ever drop down to the level of our neighbours.

    Our worst point was not qualifying for two tournaments… And in both cases, it was by a single point and came down to the last game.

    Our worst performance at a tournament was finishing third in our group, missing out on the knockout stages. We’ve never finished bottom of a group.

    Our poorest tournament results are on par with Serbia’s greatest ever performance in a tournament… Which was finishing third in their group (they’ve always finished last place, and actually finished dead last in the entire 2006 World Cup too).

    Slovenia and BiH have qualified three times between them in all tournaments, also never progressing.

    All former Yugo teams have missed more tournaments than they’ve qualified for… And many times, they crash out of qualifying in spectacular fashion (never even coming close to qualifying).

    Our worst, is pretty much better than the best of all the other countries combined, lol.

  27. vuki says:


    That’s definitely not the only mistake he’s made. I said off the top of my head. I’m not trying to disrespect him, I said he is a good keeper, but he is definitely not as good as people thought he was after the world cup. For example, yes his leg was shot so he couldn’t dive for the shots, but his positioning on most of the goals scored on him in the World Cup was just not good. Why is he that far off his line for Cherysev’s goal? I have no justification for that one.

    Also, back in 2015 against Norway when we lost 2-0. The first goal, yes Srna gets turned but there are tons of defenders in front of the far post, but Subasic gets beat near post because he dove the other way. I can justify this one because it’s a shot from close range and it’s just how you react in that split second, but I do think he could do better to at least get close to saving it.

    Just go back and watch any goal he’s conceded for us, it’s always one of three things. A set piece that he can’t do much about because his defenders get beat in the air, defenders getting destroyed and making it a 1v1, or a long shot where he is hardly ever getting near to saving it.

    Again, I love the guy and every keeper has their mistakes. He was a good, maybe very good keeper and is a legend for our national team, but he was not some top, top goalie just because he won GK of the year while playing for the best and 2nd best team in one of the least competitive leagues in the world. I don’t know if I come off as saying he’s bad, but I just think at least 2 of the goalkeepers we have coming up will be better than him.

    I personally think Livakovic is already getting there. From what I’ve seen from him, he seems to be great at saving short range shots, but can get caught out by the random long range shot. Maybe I’m harsh on Subasic, I don’t know, but it just almost always seemed like he could have done better on many of the goals scored on him.

  28. Croat Canadian says:

    Team is lacking key players due to injuries. Not having one of our top forwards will hurt us. As far as the squad announcement goes, it looks average. We’ll for sure get a victory against Azerbaijan but I fear Slovakia. I’m thinking loss to Slovakia. They have a great home win percentage. They also beat Hungary and thrashed Azerbaijan, two things we were unable to do. I’m nervous as hell for the remaining five games. I feel like if we play light up like we always do in qualifiers. Slovakia and Hungary are my picks to go through. Players like Rebic, Perisic and Kovacic need to step up.

  29. NK Susak says:

    Thats a great and informative list. That takes a lot of work and is appreciated. Its amazing the depth and talent that continues to flow and hopefully some of them develop into regular senior side call-ups. The only thing I didnt agree with, is that Kovacic is a step away from being one of the worlds best midfielders??? Ive been one of his harshest critics and will continue to be until proven otherwise. He is getting more valuable minutes under Lampard but still hasnt taken control of any game. A couple of neat touches here and there, than disappears for large chunks of a game. Starting regularly and getting more than 60-70 minutes a game needs to come first, before being thrown into any conversation of world class midfielders. I am really hoping he does wake up for club and country, but my hopes and patience are fading at this point.

  30. CroatiaU14 says:

    He hasn’t been capped by Germany but he declared for them. Maybe that’ll change, you never know.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Looking at the defensive corps, wouldn’t we want Duje Caleta-Car? Or is he out of form at the moment?

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