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Sign Up Ćorluka For Slovakia

October 23, 2019


Vedran Ćorluka



So what is our favorite bloodied, water polo cap wearing Croatian defender doing these days?



Sure, Vedran Ćorluka retired from the Croatian national team following the 2018 World Cup; being capped by Croatia a total of 103 times. But he’s not exactly sitting on a tropical beach somewhere sipping on pina coladas and smoking a pack of Marlboro Reds.



Although he’s off most Croatian radars since his retirement, Ćorluka is starting for his club Lokomotiv Moscow- not just in the Russian Premier League, but in Champions League as well.



As I received by FotMob alerts on my phone this past Tuesday, reminding me which Croatian players were in the lineup for their respective Champions League matches, I saw Ćorluka’s name across my screen.



“Hmmmm. At 33 years old, Ćorluka is getting Champions League starts? Against Ronaldo and Juventus nonetheless. He’s going to get roasted for 3 or 4 goals. Poor guy,” I thought to myself. And as I followed the game I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. In Torino, Lokomotiv not only scored first to take a 1-0 lead into halftime, but they kept Juventus scoreless for 77 minutes. That’s no easy task for any club out there when you have to face the firepower Juve have with Ronaldo and Dybala. Dybala finally woke Juventus fans up and scored twice within three minutes late in the second half to earn Juventus a 2-1 victory.





But you know what? Ćorluka was solid at the back and neither goal was due to him. With Lovren and Vida both out of the Slovakia Euro 2020 qualifier due to yellow card suspensions and the jury still out on Mitrović and Ćaleta-Car, bring in Ćorluka!



Sure he retired, but even Michael Jordan came out of retirement. He can start one final game for the Vatreni in a final farewell to a legendary Croatian player. And it’s not like it’s a meaningless friendly. Croatia only need a draw to book a Euro 2020 berth. How sweet it would be for Ćorluka to help the Vatreni punch their ticket and celebrate with them in Rijeka.



Sign up Ćarli for one more game!



Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 54 comments

  1. Mr. Black says:

    I’d play Katic-Peric as central defenders.

    Peric plays a lot with goalie Livakovic at Dynamo Zagreb so there will be at least some chemistry.

    Katic often plays with left back Barisic at Glasgow Rangers.

  2. Maminjo says:

    Yea Katić and Perić make sense.
    They’re in full form and have some chemistry with others on the team.

    Only issue with those two is that they’re both in the “Joe Šimunić” mold.

    More size than speed.

    I think Katić is like 6’5″ and Perić is 6’6″.

    Great in the air for corners and free kicks, but might be slow to get back on a Slovakia counter.

  3. Maminjo says:

    Not sure how fast a player Uremović is, but he’s been playing on our U21 team and has been playing first team football in Russia for two years.

    Hopefully he gets a look too.

  4. Andrej L says:

    I’m hoping for Katic & Caleta-Car….predicting a Skoric & Peric situation from Dalic with Mitrovic and Katic on the bench

  5. Maminjo says:


    Not a chance.

    I think Škorić only got called up to pander to the Osijek crowd, just like how Meljnak was played in the game in Varaždin to pander to that crowd (as they are hometown boys).

    Dalić likes pleasing the fans. But I don’t think he actually believes that guys like this are National Team caliber who could ever start a game for us.

    The only defenders that could justifiably be called up to play CB for us (aside from Lovren and Vida) are…

    – Perić
    – Katić
    – Uremović
    – Ćaleta-Car
    – Benković
    – Jedvaj

    I don’t think Dalić will test our biggest talent (Benković) until he gets a few games under his belt at club level.

    Nor do I think he will slide Jedvaj over (as he has nobody to replace him at RB).

    Ćaleta-Car may not be called up either, due to him bailing on the U21 side at the Euros.

    We’re probably looking at two of Perić, Katić and Uremović.

  6. Maminjo says:

    Jedvaj and Bartolec?

    I hope not.

    There is no point in ever playing Bartolec. No defense and no offense. I don’t get it with him.

  7. vuki says:

    I read an article about Steven Gerrard saying he’s pacing Nikola Katic. He sees a big future for him at Rangers and doesn’t want to overexpose him. That’s why sometimes he’s starting, sometimes he’s not. As for our defense against Slovakia, I would hope for any combination of Peric, Katic, and Caleta-Car. All doing well this season at club level and could all eventually play a part in the future. While the experience of Corluka would be useful, I also think it would be extremely valuable to let these guys play in a pressure situation. Yes, Slovakia needs to win and will try to put the pressure on us, but that is going to open up so many things for our midfield and offense. I don’t think Slovakia has the balls to go all out from the beginning and will play super cautiously. We need to just pressure them from the first whistle. I think the best line-up for that would be:

    Kramaric, Perisic, Rebic, Vlasic, Modric, Brozovic, Barisic, Katic/Peric/Caleta-Car (pick 2), Jedvaj, Livakovic

    I’d consider Benkovic but as far as I know he hasn’t even played for Leicester’s U23 team recently. Looks like he could go back on loan to Celtic. Mitrovic hasn’t been playing much recently either. I think he’s injured and coming back soon, not sure. If we’re bringing back Corluka for one game, we better get someone very quick next to him, otherwise we’ll have to worry about anyone with an ounce of speed scoring. That’s why Lovren/Corluka and Vida have worked decently enough. Vida is relatively quick and can chase down a ball over the top. I’m excited for the game. We’ve been needing someone to step up and take the CB roles as we’ve always been somewhat shaky there. No better way to test some players out than the most high stakes qualifying game. I just don’t see us losing this game even if Dalic was to do something silly like playing Skoric, Jedvaj, and Bartolec together (better not have just jinxed it). We have the ability around the rest of the field to destroy Slovakia early. Just need to play with confidence and be aggressive really.

  8. Razbijač says:

    Now whether Katic starts or not the match against Slovakia, we need to get ‘im on the pitch! Even as a late sub.

    There’s been rumors of Katic thinking of playing for BiH. So we gotta pull the ole “cap ‘n trap!”

  9. Razbijač says:

    Only thing good about Bartolec is he’s got that long Scandinavian throw-in down pat.

    He started today against Dynamo Kyiv for those who wanna know..

  10. Croat Canadian says:

    I highly doubt he’ll come back. The chances are the same as Mandzo and Suba putting the national jersey back on. Their time is over. They had good long years with the national team but let’s start focusing on youth instead. Starting lineup should be


  11. Maminjo says:

    The concern with Slovakia is that they HAVE to play desperate, because they are the only team in our group that can’t go through the Nations League playoffs. If they don’t win, they’re out.

    Hungary and Wales are eligible for a playoff since the two teams that topped their Nations League groups (Denmark and Finland) are gonna qualify directly next month. Even Azerbaijan is eligible if Kosovo qualifies.

    We need to play very smart and not let the Slovaks pressure us early, to surprise us with an early goal.

  12. Dannyj says:

    There is just no way they should beat us even with our weakened defense
    We have to own the midfield as per usual

    It’s our game to lose
    They have to play into our strengths and we are at home
    Whether it’s Rijeka Zagreb split or freaking some selo with baba watching
    It’s our home and it’s an advantage
    I could also see us getting a favorable call

    As much as some hate us
    People like to see cro at the big stage
    Much more then Slovakia

    Plus they owe us a few calls for Pete’s sake

  13. Dannyj says:

    We do need goaltending

    I didn’t see the Dinamo game but a few said Livaković could have done better on the goals

  14. BZ says:

    Livakovic has yet to show anything at the NT level. He better step up v Slovakia

    Katic not ready, although it’s Slovakia and just about anybody will be ok if Rebic and Perisic keep winning possession (as they are wont to do.)

    It is still Lovren and Vida’s time as it is still Mandzukic’s time. They all have earned one failed Euro. Mandzukic should not have stepped down. (and I don’t like Lovren.)

    The last few games were interesting bc Dalic clearly told our wingbacks to stay back more than usual. ie Help focus on defense, bc our mids and forwards need no help keeping possession. It worked vs Slovakia and Hungary. Dalic will do the same vs Slovakia again.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I find that Livakovic is always well positioned.

    The Man City game showed this, where they had tons of chances, but he was in the right place in the right time always.

    He hasn’t shown us that he can be one of those keepers that can bail us out and stop a sure-fire goal from occurring, but whatever.

    After having so many keepers losing us critical games to blunders, I will gladly take the keeper that saves the shots you are supposed to save.

  16. Anonymous says:


    Kovacic is redundant for us.

    Everything he does (maintain possession, win balls, play defence) is already well done by all of our central midfielders, especially Modric and Brozovic.

    Then, everything he lacks (shooting, passing into the opponent’s third) is done better by four of our other central midfielders in Brozo, Modric, Raketa and Vlasic.

    He’s good, but we’re just that stacked.

  17. Lika Joey says:

    Kovacic is a jack of all trades and a master of none. Extremely skillful player who rarely assists and scores a goal every few years.

  18. Dannyj says:

    Why can’t we have just a bit more higher end depth at defense

    Question how was vida rated say at some of these guys age we are talking about steeping in
    Peric, caleta, Benkovic, mitrovic, katic

  19. BZ says:

    Kova’s game is not working for us. Too many midfield combinations to consider before him.
    Love the guy, and know he is quality, but he doesn’t mesh.

  20. Maminjo says:

    @Lika Joey

    He’s not a box to box midfielder… And everybody nowadays wants the complete package (offense and defense).

    Brozović, Modrić, Rakitić and now Vlašić are all very good both offensively and defensively.

    Kovačić is better defensively than Rakitić and Vlašić, but not enough to make up for the complete void he leaves on offense (which Rakitić and especially Vlašić are very good in).

    He’s fifth in the pecking order, and the only way he moves up is after Modrić and Rakitić retire (and if Moro doesn’t surpass him soon, which can very much happen too).

  21. Iggy says:

    Dannj u must be kidding, at that age? Vida wasnt even on the radar, even a few years ago he was seen as a plague on this very site. Nobody wanted him playing for us. He kinda came out of nowhere and proved his worth at a later age iirc.

  22. Maminjo says:


    Most of those guys are further along than Vida was at the same age.

    Vida’s career was kinda wonky. He went to Leverkusen at 21, but didn’t play at all for the entire year…then went back to Dinamo (during their terrible years in the Champions League) and played there for a couple years until he got sold to Dynamo Kiev at age 24. He was only a regular playing member of the National Team when he hit 25.

    Uremovic is 22 and starts for Rubin Kazan for two years now in (what is now) a very strong and highly ranked Russian League.

    Benkovic at age 21 last year absolutely KILLED it for Celtic in the Scottish League. It’s a shame they didn’t extend his loan spell there, but he is definitely more talented than Vida and Lovren at their respective ages. Benkovic is just a taller version of Lovren, but without the boneheadedness.

    Caleta-Car is 23 and starts for Marseilles in the French League. Easy to say that he’s further along.

    You can even make arguments for Katic (23) and Peric (25) due to Katic being younger and playing regularly for a couple years there, and Peric’s version of Dinamo today being a stronger team than the Dinamo Zagreb and Dynamo Kiev teams that Vida was starting for at the same age.

    Defenders are weird though. Sometimes their development can plateau or take a weird turn south, but it’s good that we have so many who are under 25. Just need a couple to pan out.

  23. Maminjo says:

    Also, I love all this talk about Nikola Katic potentially being capped by BiH.


    The kid is a Hercegovac from Ljubuški.

    He would probably rather play for nobody, than for Bosna.

  24. Suba says:

    Vida only got the nod ahead because corluka favoured him over Lovren

    Let’s move on from those two and find a new defensive partnership

    By the way the comment that Kova is defensively better than Raketa and Brozovic yeah he really showed that quality against Wales in being mowed down before conceding the goal

    There no place for him in this current team unfortunately so yes he’s redundant

    Can’t defend can’t score is pretty much the conclusion

  25. Dannyj says:

    Benkovic finds himself in similar type situation as Krama at Leicester
    Has some goods
    Team is doing well without them

    So let’s hope he gets back to Celtic or somewhere else
    But sounds like Celtic is there farm type team
    As long as he is playing
    Kid does look talented

    I think as in all positions mental confidence must be huge in defending that’s prob why u see some guys fall flat

  26. Dannyj says:

    Seriously I can say I’d still prob trust old man corluka over Lovren In a one match playoff right now

  27. Dannyj says:

    All this talk bout the upcoming Jerseys
    Do u guys remember the black jersey that Dutch team had with red and white checkers??
    We talked bout it what now seems years ago

  28. Anonymous says:

    Vida sux, Lovren sux etc. Now all of a sudden we need them. Scrambling to find replacements. They are both solid. You don’t know what you got till its gone. Vida is solid. Sure, he makes mistakes but isn’t that what sport is all about or nobody would win. Go to pks.

  29. Lika Joey says:

    Maminjo, I agree brother! Brozovic is on the cusp of becoming a world class holding midfielder. A destroyer type of player who can shoot and score. Mateo might not ever be a star for us.

  30. Maminjo says:

    Epic Brozo is definitely world class.

    It’s hard to find another midfielder that does what he does.
    Very complete player.

    Sadly, I don’t think Mateo will ever be anything special for us.

    He’s good, but not as impactful as any of our midfielders. We can already see how impactful Vlašić is.

    Nikola Moro is kind of a Kovačić clone, in that he does everything that Kovačić does well… But he’s many years younger and actually has a pretty good rocket of a shot from distance. Still has a lot of good development years.

    Once Modrić and Rakitić retire, I really think that our central trio will end up being Brozović, Vlašić and possibly Moro instead of Kovačić.

  31. Dannyj says:

    I think we really missed broz against Wales
    Who is the closest thing to modric to take over
    Ok here is another who becomes captain when modric and Rakitic retire?

  32. Mario Mandzukic says:

    Hey guys I have alot of free time now and i just wanted to thank Ante Kvartuc for that article, he is the reason we pushed on to the final

    Thanks Ante!

  33. Dannyj says:

    Mario thanks for your efforts too bad u left the repka for Juve
    Guess u thought Ronaldo thought you were cool
    But good thing u noticed that article that propelled u to greatness!

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