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Croatia Squad Named For Swiss, Portugal Friendlies in Qatar

March 9, 2020



Croatia manager Zlatko Dalić has named his 23-man squad that will travel to Doha, Qatar – the home of the 2022 World Cup – later this month. The Vatreni will play two friendlies in the Qatar Airways International Tournament. They will take on Switzerland on the 26th and Portugal on the 30th.



The full squad will be making the trip with zero omissions and zero surprises. However, Ivan Perišić still hasn’t returned to the Bayern Munich roster after needing ankle surgery last month. Mateo Kovačić had an Achilles injury scare this past week but it was nothing in the end. Šime Vrsaljko will finally be back in checkers.



The gang is back together!



Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 21 comments

  1. Iggy Iggy says:

    So it’s going ahead? I mean i just ask cos Indian Wells got cancelled which is a huge deal, Serie A and all sports in Italy ceased for the next few weeks i believe, we’re starting to see some real effects at least sports-wise of this virus, let’s hope it doesnt mess with euro2020.

  2. Soul Champ says:

    “ Šime Vrsaljko will finally be back in checkers!”

    I find this a mini miracle.

    He had two knee injuries and made the choice to get fully fit before returning to the pitch.

    Then he shuts Liverpool’s left wing attack for 90+ minutes in the CL.

    Barišić emergence as a legit LB ensures that we do not need to traumatize Šime deploying him there.

    Full back width in our attack build up just brings that extra bit of space and unpredictable moment that unsettle the D.

    We are at a place with this squad that the March matches being cancelled would not hurt us at all.

    Most of the squad could use the rest and keep safe and healthy on all levels.

  3. BZ says:

    Super excited about Vrsaljko, but I am a bit concerned with how his return will mesh with the Vlasic attack era.

    Let me explain,
    a)when Barisic and Jedvaj were our starting backs, Dalic made a concerted decision to have the wingbacks play more conservatively.
    –this freed up Vlasic and Modric from needing to cover defensively as much as we have in the past.

    b)Because Petkovic and Vlasic were so good at coming back and collecting the ball, our attack was more direct, less need to swing the ball out wide.

    Vrsaljko is (was) world class, but part of his class is his ability to easily get crosses off from the right flank. Without Mandzukic this is less valuable, but still a great attribute.

    I have no problem with a defensive stalwart like Vrsaljko being asked to stay back a bit more. Dalic and Vrsaljko will make it work.

  4. Suba says:

    Seems dalic has made up his mind on the makeup of the squad

    A couple of questionable choices but I like his decisiveness calmness and confidence

    Hope he hangs around for the next wc if not beyond

    He seems like a true inspired Croat who loves his Homeland

    Good on him

  5. Maminjo says:

    Yea, Škorić and Melnjak are horrible players and should not be called up.

    Should not ahead of younger and more talented players like Benković and Domagoj Bradarić. Even non standby players like Katić are better. Not sure why he likes them so much.

    It would have been nice to see how these younger and more talented players look alongside our A team. We’ve already seen what these Melnjak and Škorić can do. Nothing.
    At least he stopped calling up Bartolec.

    The rest of the squad is pretty much what we’re going into the Euros with. We just have to hope neither Borna Barišić or our CBs don’t get into card trouble or injured. Melnjak/Škorić will cost us a tournament if they ever need to be subbed in.

  6. Andrej L says:

    Pjaca > Colak allllll day! Don’t know wtf happened there

    I’m pretty sure Skoric and Melnjak having been getting consistent minutes and are actually in form. I don’t think the same for Benkovic/Katic and Bradaric/Sosa. Hopefully, this changes in time for Euros.

    Excited to finally have Vrsaljko back. Really helps free up our wingers by having guys willing to do overlapping runs.

  7. Maminjo says:

    Bradarić has been starting this season for Lille in the French League, and is only 20 years old. He’s been very good for our U21s.

    Melnjak is a 28 year old who was a benchwarmer for Slaven Belupo three years ago, and now plays for a bottom dwelling Turkish league team (and stunk it up for the National Team when called up).

    The reason Melnjak makes the team is because he is Marko Rog’s cousin and he’s from Varaždin (just like Dalić).
    These connections and relationships matter.

    Škorić makes the team because of Dalić’s project of trying to unite the nation (and having a representative from NK Osijek on the team).

    Nikola Katić makes a lot of sense since he starts and plays next to Barišić at Rangers. No idea why Dalić is being a prick and not even giving him a standby callup. I don’t blame him for threatening to play for BiH (even though he’s bluffing).

    Uremović is also another one who used to be an U21 regular, and has been starting at Rubin Kazan for two years now. Not sure why he’s constantly overlooked too.

    Filip Benković is our biggest talent, and has been getting games in at Bristol. He’s too good not to have in the lineup.

    Heck, even Marin Pongračić got a couple starts recently at Wolfsburg.

    Just off the top of my head, those are four very capable CBs, much, much better than Škorić… and all of them young enough to gain experience with the senior team and develop. Keeping Škorić is a big risk if he makes the tournament squad. He’s unplayable.

  8. Nikola Vukmanić (vuki) says:

    Yeah, I hate to crap on Melnjak and Skoric so much because it’s probably their dream to play for the national team, but I too do not think they are good enough. We saw what happens when you don’t have capable back ups against England last year when Barisic wasn’t in the squad either because he was injured or wasn’t in consideration yet and then Vrsaljko went down injured forcing us to use Jedvaj and Antonio Milic at the full back positions. They both got burnt all game. Think of it this way. We replaced Corluka with Skoric. That’s a downgrade to me. I was nervous during the World Cup when Corluka was subbed on because although he’s actually a capable player, he just isn’t anything like he used to be. I thought for sure he was going to get caught out on a counter attack. I still think I’d prefer Corluka to be around if I had to choose between the two. But for sure Katic should be in over him. Maybe not Benkovic or Pongracic as they haven’t been playing super regularly.

    Maybe they’ll prove us wrong, who knows. Strinic and Pivaric were players that got crapped on a lot on here and they played well during the World Cup as they gave it their all and stepped up to the occasion.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If anyone has watched Lille this season they’d know Bradaric is very good. I’ve watched Bradaric about 4 times this season and everytime I’ve thought this guy should be in NT squad.

  10. Andrej L says:

    @ Maminjo
    I’m definitely a fan of those young CBs especially Benkovic. That said, Katic hasn’t been a regular starter in the 2nd half of the season and Uremovic’s last game was in November. You were right about Bradaric, he seems to doing well and isn’t on the U21 roster. However, he only starts about 57% of games and gets 56% of minutes according to Transfermarkt. I don’t follow the Varazdin connection; Dalic is from Livno.

    Skoric shouldn’t be able to make the Euro roster just like Mitrovic didn’t last time around. I’ll give him credit though, he’s actually okay with the ball at his feet (also plays CDM) and doesn’t make any Lovren type of mistakes. Hopefully, this motivates the young guys because Lovren and Vida are going to be up there in age by the time the world cup comes around.

  11. Andrej L says:

    @ Anonymous
    How was Bradaric defensively? Maybe that could be the issue since seems a lot more attack minded?

  12. Maminjo says:

    Skoric does make Lovren type mistakes.

    He was subbed into that critical game against Wales (the first game) in Osijek, to satisfy the NK Osijek fans there.

    It was a bad sub, and we were only up 2-1. He immediately fouled and gave up a free kick outside the box, that thankfully, Bale missed. That game was after our loss in Hungary. It was a critical match to win, and Skoric couldn’t even last a minute.

  13. Maminjo says:

    Oh right, yes, Dalic is from Livno…but he lives in Varazdin. He’s lived in Varazdin for almost 30 years.

    He probably knows Melnjak and his family (Varazdin has only 45,000 inhabitants). There’s no reason to justify him actually playing for us though.

  14. Anonymous says:

    @Andrej L

    I’d imagine he’s doing what his coach expects from him, but you’re right it has been his offensive game that’s been impressive in the games I’ve watched. I haven’t noticed that he’s been bad defensively, but I’m just a casual.

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