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Croatia Down Georgia 2-1 In Pula, Perišić Scores Winner, Vlašić OK

November 19, 2019


Vlašić helped off the field but will be okay



Croatia Starting XI: Kalinić – Melnjak, Škorić, Jedvaj, Bartolec – Kovačić, Badelj – Perišić, Pašalić, Oršić – Rebić



What I fear most in meaningless friendlies almost happened again; this time to Nikola Vlašić. Vlašić needed to be helped off the field Tuesday night in Pula but did walk off the pitch under his own power. It looked as if a Georgian player got Vlašić on the chin with the CSKA players thinking of a fractured leg at best. However, it appears to be nothing serious going into Wednesday morning. Imagine if Croatia lost Vlašić for the summer over a ‘nothing’ friendly against Georgia. That would have been a disaster.



And speaking of disasters, Lovre Kalinić just can’t catch a break. He finally got the start for Croatia and let in another ridiculously soft goal. He has the goods physically but his confidence and demeanor simply isn’t there.


Georgia would score an own goal for Croatia in awkward fashion and Ivan Perišić would score a header right in front of the goal to earn Croatia a win in their last match of 2019.



Next: Euro 2020 draw on November 30th.



You know what I hate more than a friendly?



A friendly at the end of the year once your team has already qualified for a major tournament. There’s not much you can learn from it with another meaningful match five months away. Sure, you may see some new young blood in Croatian checkers Tuesday night in Pula as the Vatreni take on Georgia, but so what?



All of our players are in the middle of their club seasons and won’t be giving 100% against a Georgia side who finished well behind Switzerland, Denmark, and Ireland in Euro 2020 qualifying in an absolute “nothing” game. The negatives have always outweighed the positives in misplaced friendlies – just ask Marko Pjaca, who blew out his ACL in 2017 playing a friendly against Estonia. He still hasn’t returned to his old form and it may never happen.



And how in the hell is the HNS scheduling friendlies against a team like Georgia?



Croatia went to the World Cup Final and we’re still scheduling friendlies against teams like Georgia?! I just don’t get it.



Don’t expect to see seasoned veterans on the pitch against Georgia for too long. Luka Modrić will not play in this match and Ivan Perisic will captain the team.



Official lineup will be released as kickoff approaches.



Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 59 comments

  1. Dannyj says:

    If the U21s weren’t playing
    I’d say just stick that team out and see what they made of

    Let’s just hope for an injury free game

  2. Anonymous says:

    UEFA forced Croatia to play a friendly. Who cares its end of the qualifying campaign have the new guys have a go

  3. Poglavnik says:

    Luka’s back in Spain already.
    Give me an attacking trident of Nikola Kalinic, Marko Livaja, and Sammir with Pranjic and Strinic at fullbacks. Lovren at holding mid and of course the god of Halilovic somewhere out there.
    Am I missing anyone else?

  4. vuki says:

    Dannyj, I saw you ask about Palaversa on the last post. He started off well but got injured. I believe he is still out because he hasn’t played since and was starting every game until the injury.

    And no Dino Halilović is not good. Hasn’t done anything for any of the clubs he’s played for as far as I know.

    As for this friendly, I do wish they were about to call up like 10 extra players for this game so they could just play whoever. This is the only type of game I’d like to see Halilović anywhere near the national team until he shapes up and starts producing. I wish that we would play a few days before the U21s and do the opposite of what we did with Brekalo (sent him back down to the U21s for a game). They even lost the game. Finishing looked dreadful based on the highlights. What else is new. If I was the HNS I would just say screw this U21s qualifying campaign. They’ve already lost twice in the first 4 games. Just call up the top ones to the main team. There’s still enough talent down there to even win all the games if they play well.

  5. Mile says:

    If anyone in Canada cares, TSN has switched their coverage today and is now showing the Wales/Hungary game at 2:45ET on TSN 4 and 5. It’s basically a playoff game, winner take all match to qualify.

  6. vuki says:

    Yeah, please don’t call up Skoric, Melnjak, or Lovre Kalinic again. Lovre Kalinic’s confidence is just gone. He needs to go somewhere where he’s playing every week and playing well before he gets called up again. Melnjak attacked and almost created a goal and then basically jogged back when a guy got the ball in his defensive area. Skoric is just plain average and we have so many better players.

  7. Andrej L says:

    I know people will blame Kalinic for that goal; rightfully so

    But that was because of poor offensive play by Melnjak. After we lost the ball in their defensive 3rd, Melnjak pressed their player as if he was a CF. He then failed to get back into position leaving our left side exposed which lead to the goal. Really poor decision making and position on behalf of Melnjak.

  8. Dannyj says:

    Started watching after the goal
    We now carry most of the play

    Ya what do we do about a back up if Livakovic goes down
    I barely trust him at This point

    Let’s hope Kalinic can get his confidence back
    He has shown before he has skill

    Needs a psychologist

  9. vuki says:

    All I’m saying is, Juranovic has provided more (at least offensively) in 10 minutes than Bartolec has in the whole first half and probably all of his other caps. Interesting to see whether he can continue to perform well.

  10. vuki says:

    Vlasic got hurt, but it didn’t look that bad to me. I think it is probably a good thing it was from a collision and not just from running. Looked to me like a short term injury. I hope I’m right.

  11. Poglavnik says:

    Juranovic looks good!
    Rebic does not. He is not in good form. Heavy touches, off balance and looking frustrated all the time. He looks like he needs a psychologist.

  12. Dannyj says:

    I thought Rog looked ok
    He is like the Badelj utility midfielder replacement type

    Juranovic ya he looked solid

    Caleta car with the big wiff to clear it at the end. We can maybe give him benefit of the doubt with the rain

    Sluga def looks more confident at this point then Kalinic

    Rebic made some good runs. Over dribbled. Missed some good opportunities to pass it off
    He is just trying to force stuff a bit too much

    Kovac gonna take him in and make him get his groove again!
    Can Rebic go back to Frankfurt during transfer window again?

  13. Poglavnik says:

    Was thinking I wish Rebic could go back to Frankfurt too!
    Actually I’d rather see Milan get their shit together and start stringing together some results. With Rebic in the lineup.

  14. Maminjo says:

    With these constant friendlies against teams like Georgia and Estonia, a part of me thinks that HNS want our players to get injured.

  15. Andrej L says:

    I thought Georgia was okay competition for the B squad. They still have an outside chance of making it to the Euros.

    We got our chance to see fringe players show what they got. Melnjak, Kalinic, and Bartolec looked the weakest links. While Rog and Juranovic looked like they have an outside chance of making the summer roster. Perisic and Rebic finally got minutes in a competitive-ish match.

    Caleta-Car worries me at times, poor decision making offensively and defensively. Really hope we can get a look at Pongracic, Katic, Uremovic, or Benkovic at some point before the summer. Hopefully, Vrsaljko is ready by then as well.

    Shame about Vlasic and Juranovic, feel like the rain played a factor too.

  16. Maminjo says:

    Missed the game.

    Who looked good out there?

    Not surprised to hear that the Dalić big three (Melnjak, Škorić, Bartolec) looked like crap.
    Disgusting waste of a callup, these three are.

    Ćaleta-Car making mistakes concerns me.
    I was hoping for this guy to be starting for us soon, but he seems to make gaffes on the regular. We’ll need him for the next tournament. Hopefully he improves.

    Kalinić being crap isn’t an issue. Livaković is a lot younger, so he’s better to invest in anyway, and we do have okay backups in the HNL if something were to happen. It’s not like Livaković is our Modrić anyway. He’s an above average keeper, but nothing special.

    However, Kalinić and Sluga have been bad this past year. They probably should not be our #2 and #3 keepers (there are better ones in HNL), but backup keeper are rarely used anyway.

  17. Iggy Iggy says:

    who was saying if Poland fails to win vs Slovenia it affects somethign with the seedings in the last thread? Cos it’s 1-1 in that game atm

  18. Mile says:

    Iggy, seeds are pretty well set with the Germany and Wales results today. If Poland does win today, Croatia has the worst first place record of all 10 group winners, but who cares. Croatia’s group had all pretty decent teams, while some other groups had two crappy teams.

    #1s – Italy, England, Belgium Spain, Germany and Ukraine.
    #2s – France, Switzerland, Poland, Croatia, Netherlands, Russia
    #3s – Portugal, Turkey, Denmark, Austria, Sweden and Czech Republic

    The remaining #4 seeds will be Wales, Finland and the playoff winners.

  19. Dannyj says:

    Wasn’t that posavec kid supposed to be decent?

    Vuki or cro u-14 will prob know the best option for backup going forward

    But u would think Kalinic is done till he really steps up his game

    Any word on Vlasic? Long time till euros but I’m already freaking out for injuries

    Really hoping Benkovic gets playing time and becomes a legit fill in cb
    With him and Jedvaj those would be ok backups

    Barisic and Vrsaljko On the ends but who really backs em up
    Barisic is def a step up from pivaric and Strinic overall
    And I think will improve

  20. Dannyj says:

    It doesn’t really matter where we are grouped
    All those group three teams are capable of upsets

    Is it top three teams going through the group like last time I believe ?

    Can’t wait to see new uniforms
    They better keep the dark
    Looks so good in black..

  21. Mile says:

    Top two in each group and then four of the best six third place teams go to the round of 16.

    And yes, Wales will be the toughest number 4 seed, no matter who the four playoff winners are.

    Would love to see England, France, Portugal and Wales as one group. Would be a good chance one of those top three go home early.

  22. Maminjo says:


    I don’t care about the difficulty of our Pot 4 seed.

    If they are difficult for us, they will be difficult for the other teams in our group as well. Matchup-wise, we’re usually very good against Wales, so I’m not worried.

    I would prefer to avoid teams like Denmark who play a horrible brand of football to watch. Also, I would prefer we play teams who would open up. Not sure if a team like Finland would do that. Also, I guess I would rather avoid teams with home field advantage (they totally botched this, lol).

    We generally do very well against European competition anyway, so I’m looking forward to this.

    The only thing that would worry me are injuries. If we were to lose Vlasic and if Vrsaljko were to not recover fully…then, I would be very upset.

  23. Maminjo says:

    Vlasic update:

    Nakon utakmice Vlašić je objasnio što se zapravo dogodilo.

    “Momak je uklizao, nije bilo namjerno, lupio me u potkoljenicu, mislio sam da je nešto ozbiljno ali ipak mislim da nije, napravit ću još rendgen”, rekao je mladi hrvatski nogometaš i zatim kazao kako misli da je preloma nema. “Mislim da nije prelom, vidite da hodam, nadam se da nije preozbiljno”, rekao je Vlašić pred kamerom Nove TV.

    …in short, he got nailed in the shins by this player, he thought it was serious, but it ‘seems’ like it’s not (based on how it feels now).

    He’s still gotta go get X-rays to confirm, but he doesn’t think there is a break (as he is walking fine).

  24. Lika Joey says:

    Igor Stimac on the verge of getting fired in India. Ante Cacic was a tactical genius compared to him lol.

  25. vuki says:

    The goalkeeper situation is not a big deal for me even if Livakovic gets injured. I would definitely like to see Josip Posavec over the other 2 at least. We also have Ivo Grbic who isn’t bad, just concedes often because he’s on a bad Lokomotiva team. Then there’s Adrian Semper who plays for the U21s now, but I’ve always rated him highly ever since he started for that U17 World Cup that had a few of our current highly rated prospects on it (Brekalo, Moro, Ivanusec, Gjira, and to a less extent Kalaica and Davor Lovren). Karlo Letica was good and was our 3rd choice keeper but lost his starting spot at Club Brugge and is now on loan in the Serie A to be a back up keeper similarly to who Semper was the back up last season on loan. Maybe it will end up the same way and Letica will be the starter next season? Who knows. Dinko Horkas is decent, but untested at first team level. Same goes for Karlo Ziger, Dominik Kotarski, and Renato Josipovic. Basically we need a lot of players to really turn out bad in order to not have at least an average keeper for a while.

    I think a 23 man squad that I would like to see for the Euros based on current situations and kind of what I hope certain players’ situations are by that time would be something like this:

    GK: Livakovic, Posavec, Kalinic/Sluga/Grbic/Semper/Horkas (basically just take your pick, it’s the 3rd choice GK)

    DEF: Lovren, Vida, Vrsaljko, Barisic, Jedvaj, Caleta-Car, Bradaric/Sosa, Benkovic/Peric/Mitrovic/Pongracic/Uremovic

    MID: Modric, Rakitic, Brozovic, Kovacic, Vlasic, Moro/Ivanusec/Badelj/Rog/Pasalic/Sunjic

    FWD: Kramaric, Perisic, Petkovic, Rebic, Brekalo, Orsic

    So yeah, basically every position would have the last spot up for grabs based on who plays or fits the best. But I think this team is a good mix of youth and experience. I’m hoping that lots of players are tested in March or whenever the next friendlies are and that the preliminary squad gets to train together for a couple weeks at least so that if any young players miss out, at least they get a feel for the players they will play with.

  26. Mostar says:

    Group B is almost full and the draw hasn’t even begun yet. Due to a million reasons, Group B already has Belgium, Russia(hosts) and Denmark (hosts)

    We can’t be drawn into that group

    The next group has two teams in it already

    Group C has Netherland (hosts) and pot 1 Ukraine

    We can’t be drawn into this group either because Netherlands is a pot 2 team and we are in pot 2

    We will be in either Italys, Englands, Spains, or Germanys group. I hope we are drawn into Germany’s group

  27. Mostar says:

    I just hope we avoid Italy’s group at ALL COSTS because that’s the group with host cities Rome and Baku. Absolutely horrible travel

  28. Iggy says:

    oh wow didnt realise the groups are already populating.

    Sucks we can’t get ukraine.

    So u know on the home ground BS advantage, does that continue after the group stage? Do teams who CAN play at home just play all their games at home or some shit? like just how rigged is this shit?

  29. Dannyj says:

    Ok I get they are rigged
    But I’ve asked before and no one seemed to know
    How do tickets get allotted?
    I’ve put my name in but how does it work
    Say cro plays Germany in Germany
    Like would half tickets be allocated for cro?
    Or is it all just random

    Cause u know Croats from cro and diaspora will be all over Europe in full force next summer
    Even more so
    We have picked up a shit ton of neutral fans im sure over the last couple years

  30. Mile says:

    Belgium can be in group B or C. And Ukraine can be in B or C. So Croatia can’t play either of these teams. Because of that, no matter what, they will play a host #1 seed. So yes, the draw and how they finished did matter. It would have been much better if they had beaten Azerbaijan and Wales and gotten a #1 seed. Then they wouldn’t have played a road game in all likelihood. But I do like that France will have to play Italy, England, Spain or Germany on the road. And hopefully Portugal is in their group too. UEFA is probably kicking themselves for setting up the draw this was and having their beloved France having a tough road. I’m sure they’ll get Turkey or the Czechs in pot 3 and the Path D playoff winner in pot 4. Gotta make sure France get through the first round.

  31. Mile says:

    Nevermind, Mostar is right, Ukraine and Russia can’t be in the same group, so group B is Belgium, Russia and Denmark for sure and group C has Ukraine and Netherlands. So the Dutch and Belgians are very happy today.

  32. Mile says:

    And they are even happier because in the round of 16, first place in B and first place in C both play 3rd place teams in other groups.

    And no team gets a home advantage in the round of 16 game, which is good. I am hoping Croatia gets group F. Check this out, if Croatia gets second in group F and England gets first in group D, it’s England vs. Croatia in Dublin in the round of 16.

    Would everyone be up for that?

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