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France Beats Croatia 4-2…Again; With Own Goal & Trash Penalty Call

September 7, 2020

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Not just did France beat Croatia with another 4-2 result – just as they did in the World Cup Final – but they did it with another own goal and undeserved penalty call. Obviously, not that big of a deal this time around as UEFA Nations League is no World Cup and both sides were without their best players.

 

 

Here are my notes from the France game:

 

 

1. After the game manager Zlatko Dalić said, “Great 43 minutes then two-minute blackout.” After a disastrous 4-1 loss to Portugal on Saturday, where the team showed little drive, they were clearly the better team during the first half in Paris. Croatia scored first through a Dejan Lovren strike and commanded the game for the first 43 minutes. Great!

 

 

2. The Croatian defense absolutely shut down in the last three minutes of the first half allowing France to score twice and take all the momentum into the locker rooms at halftime. You can never let that happen, even if you are playing with new players in the back for the first time. Not good.

 

 

3. Ćaleta-Car did not look confident in the back. This was a great opportunity for him to showcase himself as a future center-back but I’m not sold. He gave the French way too much respect and it cost him and Croatian goalie Dominik Livaković. He plays for a decent Ligue 1 side in Marseille. Needs to do better.

 

 

4. Mateo Kovačić is officially getting the “RED ALERT” from me! Kova is supposed to take over as the engineer for Modrić in the midfield when he finally hangs up his boots. This was supposed to be a fantastic 2-game weekend where the Chelsea “Player of the Season” would give us a glimpse of the future – but nothing. He needs more intensity and it’s just not there. Worrisome.

 

 

4. Brekalo finally does something! Josip Brekalo has been on a bit of a decline since the COVID restart but coming off the bench in the second half and scoring a goal all by himself against the entire French defense will certainly boost his confidence. If Brekalo can be consistent in the offensive end, he will be fine. Good job today!

 

 

5. Petković for Kramarić! Dinamo’s Bruno Petković has officially jumped Andrej Kramarić on my striker list. Krama has become too high maintenance for me as he needs perfect passes to do anything. Petković resembles Mario Mandžukić and can hold up the ball with his back to goal; which is perfect for the Croatian offense. Give me more Bruno!

 

 

6. Croatia played much, much, much better against France compared to Portugal. So I’m happy about that. But guess what? You can’t concede FOUR GOALS in back-to-back games. Isuse! Have the Vatreni ever conceded eight goals in one weekend? Can we get a ‘fact check’ on that? Unacceptable!

 

 

7. Marcelo Brozović is the man! He will never get the love he deserves on the field but the guy makes everyone else’s job that much easier. A defensive rock!

 

 

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Official Starting XI vs. France

 

 

The 2018 World Cup Final rematch is upon us but it will be without many of its stars. We already knew that Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić would not be joining Croatia for their September Nations League matches against Portugal and France due to rest. Šime Vrsaljko was a late scratch as well due to recovery and testing positive for COVID-19 last month. And now France’s youngest star – Kylian Mbappe – has tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend and will not play vs. Croatia, Goal.com reports. He scored the game winner for France on Saturday in a 1-0 victory over Sweden.

 

 

The Vatreni B-squad was an absolute shell of their potential talent against Portugal two days ago. You didn’t see Kovačić, Vlašić, or Rebić with the ball for more than five seconds. If it was manager Zlatko Dalić’s plan to counter against Portugal for 90 minutes in a UEFA Nations League match…well, that’s just dumb. Let the kids play and show us what they got. I felt pretty awful this weekend for saying it was going to be Nikola Vlašić’s coming out party for the Vatreni. He has been on absolute fire for his club team CSKA Moscow and I thought that would translate over the international break. Maybe he can get something going against the French.

 

 

Croatia cannot play another game against the French as they did versus Portugal. It’s not good for the development of goalie Dominik Livaković. Livaković stood on his head for the entire first half against Portugal and was our best player on pitch, but at the end of the day, he still let in four goals. This is the same thing that happened to Lovre Kalinić following Danijel Subašić’s retirement from the national team and look where he is now.

 

 

As long as the Vatreni play an attacking style against France, I will be happy. I want to see Kovačić, Vlašić, Brekalo, Rebić all mesh together as they are the next decade of Croatian football.

 

 

Dalić, let the kids play!
 

 

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Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 151 comments





  1. Iggy says:

    I kind of expect another belting for us. Sorry but we just dont seem to be able to care in meaningless no crowd games tbh, anything better than a 3 goal loss i’d be happy with.



  2. Medo says:

    One thing nobody is talking about is the effect empty stadiums have in us .
    Yes both teams are playing in the same environment but I truly believe our guys Need it for motivation more than others unfortunately.
    Our fans are some of the craziest and loudest of the bunch and the boys feed off of their energy more than others.
    Anyone recall that snooze fest when we played Italy in an empty stadium due to the swastika…our guys were lifeless.
    So that’s my excuse for the pitiful performance Saturday and I’m sticking to it…for now!



  3. BZ says:

    Just stick with the core: Rebic, Perisic, Petkovic, Brozo, and Vlasic.

    Plenty of experimenting can occur from that basis. Here are some ideas:

    1) Since you guys want to see Brekalo play…maybe Brekalo at RB again. He can’t do much worse than Jedvaj did last game. It is a way to get Brekalo on the pitch and contributing, without removing key components of our attack and possession. He wasn’t all that bad when we tried RB during qualifying.

    2) Try young CBs.

    3) See if Kovacic can play better CDM with Brozo helping out. Kova was much better once Brozo took the pressure off.

    +430 If I like what I see from tomorrow’s lineup, it is worth a shot at +430. Given the right lineup, I can see us winning 33% of the time vs France without Pogba and Mbappe. On the other hand, if Dalic screws the pooch again with his lineup and strategy, it is money down the tubes.



  4. NK Susak says:

    Was watching highlights of these other Nations League games, especially from our potential third opponents at the Euros next summer. This Haaland kid from Norway is scary good. I know it’s only Norway but his speed and size would cause all sorts of issues for our defense. Reminds me of a more polished Lukaku when he’s in form.



  5. Maminjo says:

    I would start Brozović with Kovačić and see how it goes.

    If Kovačić is pedestrian and doesn’t make any forward passes in those first 25-30 minutes again (like last game) the I would sub him out immediately to make a statement. Call up guys like Moro or Bašić the next game, to play backup for Modrić/Rakitić.

    I’m still so upset about his effort that last game.

    Also, yes, we can’t play Jedvaj anymore and I would love to try out other defenders in place of Lovren (even if it’s just a substition).

    I don’t think we’ll play as badly this game because we know that the Pašalić/Kovačić experiment didn’t work, and that Jedvaj cannot start. If we fix just that alone, it would be a huge improvement.

    Add in Perišić, Petković, and maybe give another defender some burn in place of Lovren (at least off the bench) and we should be okay.

    If Dalić leaves Jedvaj in the starting eleven, and still has Pašalić in that deep role… then I think Dalić might be autistic.



  6. Maminjo says:

    @NK Šušak

    More of a reason why we should start Pongračić.

    Pongračić has dealt with Haaland before when Wolfsburg played Dortmund. Shut him down nicely. Wolfsburg still lost, but Haaland couldn’t score.

    Hopefully Pongračić recovers quickly from mono. We need to try him for the next round of Nations League games. I think he will impress us.



  7. Soul Champ says:

    @ Ante

    I was with you 100% about Vlašić.

    In fairness he is used to playing with hard running Russians who are all probably doping.

    Kramaric conundrum?

    Super skilled and can flat out finish.

    Zero motor and does not seem to be able to link up with teammates?

    Our back line has been exposed for what it is – mediocre.

    Our defense has to start from our pressing front line.

    Mandžukić is more valuable then we ever give him credit.

    We don’t press then we look pedestrian.

    Jedvaj maybe a good CB for us but at RB he is not.

    Dalic needs to build game plan around Brozovic.

    He makes everything better for us.

    Defense has cover and offense can gets to play in more space.

    I’ll take our UNL medicine if it exposes all the mediocrity.

    Which may include Dalić if there are no adjustments for France before and during the match.

    No matter the result we need to see some more young talent in October.

    All spots should be up for internal competition.

    That is how you keep competitive.



  8. CiganJeCigan says:

    is dalic fuking retarded? why play pasalic who is an attacking player as cdm?? too many small guys in the starting lineup last game, we lost every 50/50 ball, jedvaj offers nothing in attack and is horrible at rb defensively. brekalo is lazy af.

    gk: livakovic
    def: vida, caletaCar, lovren, barisic
    cdm: kova, brozo
    winger: rebic, perisic
    cam: pasalic
    attacker: Petkovic



  9. Stanko says:

    Livaković is very good at shots waist high and above but terrible reaction time and instincts at worm burners.
    Anything low and shot with velocity tends to go in on him!



  10. Croatian Canadian says:

    I’m expecting a 2-2 draw today. Even though France will not have Pogba or Mbappe. I don’t expect us to pull off victory. I could be wrong but after that horrific performance in Porto, this team is unpredictable. We just don’t preform in Nations leagues or qualifying. So far in nations league we have allowed 13 goals in five games, scored 5 and have one win. What does that tell you? These guys don’t give a flying fuck about this tournament/competition. Why don’t they play 2022 World Cup qualifying? Or have a mini tournament for each league. Do or die kind of format. Each league have a bubble and play 3-4 games. Enough with this constant travelling for useless games. I’m predicting a 2-2 draw and we’ll have the first goal. Also why the fuck was Kramaric alone upfront? Pasalic and Kovacic are not experienced enough to play central mid and contain Portugal. Go with a 4-4-2.



  11. Maminjo says:

    The rumors from Sportske Novosti have the lineup against France as this:

    Livaković
    Uremović, Lovren, Ćaleta-Car, Melnjak
    Brozović – Kovačić, Vlašić
    Rebić, Perišić
    Kramarić

    Strange that Vida is the one that is removed from our defense. I would have swapped out Lovreni instead, and I also don’t think Lovren and Caleta-Car would jive as well (they’re both kinda prone to gaffes).

    Melnjak is one of my most hated players, and he will handicap us defensively there.

    I do like that we are trying out Uremovic at RB though. We’ll see what he can bring there. If he plays poorly, then we will have to call up Sutalo and try him out (or else we’re probably gonna have to play Vida there if Vrsaljko’s injury is long term).

    jNo surprises anywhere else. Pasalic out for Brozovic is a no brainer. Perisic in for Brekalo. Everything else the same.
    think Kovacic is on thin ice though. If he plays poorly, he’s not playing for a while.



  12. Tomislav says:

    I just downloaded UEFA tv on my Apple TV and it looks like the game is available to stream. I’m going to try and watch Armenia-Estonia at noon and see if it works



  13. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen two different lineups. The one that Maminjo brought up and another that is the same lineup but has Badelj instead of Vlasic, Budimir instead of Kramaric, and Vida instead of Caleta-Car.

    I prefer the first one but the fact that both include Melnjak is worrying. Maybe he’s better than what we’ve seen, but I don’t know. Barisic had a bad game against Portugal just like Jedvaj, but I still think he’s much better than Melnjak. Happy to see Uremovic in there though so we can see what he’s all about.

    Also baffling that neither have Petkovic after he came on and scored pretty quickly. Guess if Kramaric doesn’t have a good game it will be Petkovic’s position to lose. Although, in my opinion, Kramaric was one of the players that I thought was actually trying to make things happen. However, it started to become a bit negative as he was trying to do what Messi does when Barcelona struggles. Drop back to receive the ball and try to dribble around everyone instead of using your teammates. Obviously Kramaric is no Messi and even Messi looks bad sometimes when he does that.

    I’m just hoping for some effort today. Don’t even care that much if we lose. These games should be used to experiment, but not to experiment things that we’re never going to use in an actual game like Kovacic and Pasalic together as the 2 in defensive midfield, Marko Rog at RB, and Mile Skoric in midfield (or on the roster at all for that matter). Things like Uremovic at RB, new CB pairings such as Caleta-Car and Pongracic when he’s healthy, and Bradaric at LB when he’s back from suspension.



  14. Ričard says:

    we dont have right backs at moment and its showing. Sutalo is a cb also but can play rb. Dont know why bartolec wasnt called and the next 2 rb i can think of are karacic and juranovic.Funny lb is are stronest spot barisic melnjak bradaric colina sosa. Kovacic is not modric he needs a top player next to him to jell.

    One thing about dalic that is weird are his call ups. Toma basic plays for bordauex doesn’t get a call. Krovinovic no call. Mile skoric why? Some times i dont understand dalic why call badelj if he wont play. That staring 11 against portugal would have worked if we played a minos world county not portugal.

    Samo jako but Dalic yes we were 2nd in the world but lets not live off that look at 98 mi smo 3 na svitu took 20 years to get another medal.



  15. Franjo Tudjman says:

    1) I can’t see how Kramaric starts again over Petkovic after that debacle.

    2) Does anyone have an online link for the game, not including the ESPN+ one?



  16. Miki says:

    Need to stop calling some players.

    Skoric melnjak badelj if croatia are building for future.

    I loved when cacic would make Hnl national team friendly matches.

    Goalkeepers we have some nice ones

    Right back next year try sutalo or ask why fran karacic wanted to play for Australia get him to play as reseve to Sime or call bartolec no nore jedvaj at rb he is a solid cb

    The under 21s have solid players that will make the senior team.

    For player that play in liga petica toma basic and lets see what krovinov does in epl.

    Im tired of this balkan mentality liga nacije is a joke play the fucken sport grizite mfs.

    If i were in dalice team the best at each position no stare zasluge



  17. Tomislav says:

    I just downloaded UEFA tv on my Apple TV and it looks like the game is available to stream. I’m going to try and watch Armenia-Estonia at noon and see if it works

    Streaming on UEFA tv works for those who are interested, streaming quality is really good



  18. Andrej L says:

    Non call up Marko Rog who plays consistently at CDM scored this week. Will be interesting to see if he is able to get a call up instead of Badelj during the next round of games.

    Marko Pjaca started and scored the lone goal against the U23 Juve team. Higuain and Khedira were both left out of training due to pending departure. Maybe Pjaca might not get loaned out this fall. I’d definitely prefer him over Colak and Budimir.

    I’m interested to see Uremovic play at RB. Brozo, Perisic, and Petkovic are starters for me, even for Nations League.

    Also, Antonio Marin was on fire last game for the U19s. Will be following his development at Dinamo.



  19. Franjo Tudjman says:

    I registered for UEFA.TV as has been posted here. All I see are highlights of previous games.

    I don’t see the Croatia/France match. Why can’t I locate it? It appears you guys see the link for it but I don’t.



  20. Maminjo says:

    @Nikola Vukmanic

    You’re exactly right.

    Dalic likes to experiment, but the experimenting he does is nothing that we would ever use in a tournament.

    He did this during the last Nations League, playing guys that don’t even deserve a callup (like Livaja and Cop) and pulling weird stunts like Rog at RB.

    He’s now doing it again.

    We have insane depth in our deep lying midfield position with veterans like Modric, Rakitic and Brozovic capable of playing there. We also have Badelj, Basic, Kovacic, and even youngsters like Palaversa or Bistrovic who are doing well for their clubs and will be up for a callup soon. Never, under any circumstance, will we ever need to play Pasalic there.

    Also, under no circumstance, are we ever going to play Melnjak in a tournament either. We have Barisic already, who is fine I guess, and is already proven to be much better than Melnjak. On top of that, we have intriguing younger players in Bradaric and Sosa who are in form and on better teams than Barisic himself (let alone Melnjak). We also have some even more intriguing LB prospects in our junior ranks too. Why even bother with Melnjak at all? Skoric is an even stranger one.

    Uremovic is the only recent Dalic experiment that makes sense since we have no RBs, and he can kind of play there (and he starts in a good league).

    Seeing what Uremovic, Pongracic, Caleta-Car and Domagoj Bradaric can do for our senior squad is the MAIN experiment that needs to take place.

    The only other real experiments that we maybe need to see is who between Krama and Bruno gets to start up top…and who fills that third central midfield role between Vlasic, Rakitic, Kovacic and Pasalic (since Modric and Brozovic are guaranteed starters).

    Maybe give Ivo Grbic a half, here and there, to see what he can do as goalkeeper.

    But really, that’s it.

    These other experiments with Melnjak, Skoric, and random bench players playing completely out of position only sets us back and hurts the chemistry that we are trying to develop with our key starting players.

    We lose our seeding for the next tournament (and probably drop to a Pot 3 team) and we don’t develop any chemistry or actual real scenarios that we would use in the tournament as well.



  21. Crotown says:

    Can we ever realize we need a real coach – get an Italian guy- our guys will accept him and it’s close enough and he’ll get something from these guys- I just sense these guys are doing to Dalić what they did to all the other guys- when they get pushed they stop and put it on the coach- let’s get an outsider once and for all- try something new- pukni po glava- Lika style



  22. BZ says:

    My favorite thing when Kramaric starts with Rebic and Perisic:
    When Perisic yells at Kramaric for not making the obvious, easy pass.

    Kramaric is capable of scoring, he better show it today otherwise Petko is obviously our starter.

    It is obvious Rebic and Perisic do not like playing with Kramaric.

    Our high press is only as good as it’s weakest link.

    Regarding the D:
    If we play our brand, anyone will look good.

    If we play for the countee, everyone will look bad.

    Livakovic:
    Get the ball out of your hands FASTER. This is a highly underrated aspect of the game. Vs Portugal he didn’t start anything quickly (kudos to Portugal for defending it properly.)



  23. Miki says:

    @maminjo well said.

    Id add krovinovic to the mix. Of cms that should be given chance sunjic also true dm.

    Please search for a rb and please in the future call sosa or bradaric even colina no more melnjak please



  24. Maminjo says:

    Good news is Atalanta sold their RB to Leicester for big money, so Šutalo may be playing there a lot this season.

    We’ll see if he has some RB skills.



  25. Franjo Tudjman says:

    Timislav,

    Where do you live? In the States, when you click on the link, it says:

    “Ovaj video nije dostupan u vašoj zemlji” :(



  26. Timislav says:

    I live in Canada, I use a VPN to show my IP is in Croatia, I just use it to watch the pregame show but will watch the match on UEFA TV



  27. Iggy Iggy says:

    tried the uefa.tv thing, only see highlights, it prolly depends what region u are in. Anyway prolly if i could choose one it’d be a Coric win today but let’s hope we dont get embarrassed vs France



  28. BZ says:

    Brozo clinic at Cdm

    Lovren with a goal reminiscent of Perisic vs France

    High Press looking solid

    Keep hustling Kramaric



  29. Maminjo says:

    2-1

    Sigh.

    We played well (with Brozović being the big positive change) but some defensive brain farts here and there from our back four, and France gets a couple of easy ones.



  30. Iggy Iggy says:

    Such a shame, we were up 1-0 and Coric was up a set and a break! But it looks like normal losing services restored for us after promising starts. Well, Coric still has a shot i think, maybe, fingers crossed.



  31. Well it’s definitely a much, much better performance than Saturday. I will say Melnjak hasn’t been too bad. But I still think we have better. Uremovic has been alright. Attack is looking pretty decent. Defense had a couple lapses there. I would say we’re unlucky to be losing at half. We’ll see what happens in the second half.



  32. BZ says:

    Ok down 2-1

    Unlucky to be down 1

    Bring on the teacher’s pet! Petkovic.

    Kramaric played ok, but Petkovic better.

    France hanging all over our guys. It’s like a six year old climbing on a tree. Very subtle hacking, yanking is taking a toll on us physically. Kudos to them for getting away with it.



  33. BZ says:

    Looks like Brekalo on for Rebic

    He should look better today, has better support. i don’t like it but am open minded



  34. Mali Ante says:

    Brekalo…..I was about to say he hasn’t been playing great.
    If he has that in him he’s worth playing off the bench at least.



  35. Mali Ante says:

    Pasalic with a horrible giveaway. Not sure he’s repka material.
    With Vlasic around he won’t ever start. Doesn’t have speed or dribbling abilities to make up for the lack of speed.



  36. Maminjo says:

    That wasn’t a penalty.

    This game is just a crappy combination of Dalić’s poor subs, referee bias, and errors from our back four.



  37. Zach G says:

    Pretty hot take to say a guy starting for a top 15 team in the world isn’t good enough to come off the bench for Croatia



  38. Mile says:

    And on top of that, Coric is blowing the QF match to Zverev, Wins the first set 6-1, up a break in the second set, blows that leads, loses the tiebreak and now is getting crushed in the 3rd set tiebreak. Ugh.



  39. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Many of our players are very skilled…we really have superior technical abilities…at high speeds and in tight spaces. The thing we lack is consistent pressing, we have very big dips in our game where we lose concentration for periods, we make our own shit luck by losing discipline at times.

    France beats us because they are patient, they keep to their assignments and don’t deviate from them…and their TOP players contribute regularly.

    I’ve liked when we played with more structure, even if we don’t look sexy in our style of play. Most good teams play like that. Being compact and disciplined, not giving the opponents an inch defensively and making them work for every opportunity. Today, we give away opportunities due to a lack of concentration or being undisciplined…we shouldn’t concede those types of goals at this level!



  40. Anonymous says:

    8 goals in 2 games… I don’t want to start counting Dalic out just yet, but clearly something needs to be changed.



  41. Anonymous says:

    Excuses excuses all we want – 8 goals in 2 games – most of you don’t wanna face the music but we’re a B team with some A players perhaps- although improvement from pork chop game (which ain’t saying much as that was rock bottom or close to it) we’re still not in the league of the frogs and chops – painful as it is for me to say ! And the refs – again, what can u say- sports a bit of a joke cause of that shit – whatever – life goes on as Corky says



  42. Suba says:

    So let me get things right

    The dodgy wc final result has now been legitimised and Modric and raketa definitely cannot retire for a long while yet

    Great thanks Dalic



  43. Horvat says:

    Can’t expect our boys to press if they are not fit right now.

    I would rather lose playing the way we did than win the way the French did today. They could barely put three passes together.



  44. Poglavnik says:

    At least we’re not boring.
    That was an improvement while using some questionable players.
    And we all know on our day we can still bring it.



  45. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Anonymous, I think the difference between us at our best and us today are the things I said earlier. Discipline and not losing concentration for long periods of the game. Good teams stay focused and don’t get drawn into situations where they lose their shape…we were really compact at the World Cup and everyone was doing their on-field assignments ALWAYS…this team looks undisciplined!



  46. Horvat says:

    I have been saying from day one, Pasalic is not national team quality.

    Rebic is obviously not in form, like most others.

    Let’s all relax. Our boys played decent today. They are not in form.



  47. Andrej L says:

    Overall, great response from the last game. Unlucky, that Vlasic’s post shot doesn’t hit their goalie for an own goal and obviously if they got that penalty then we should’ve too. No VAR in Nations League.

    Caleta-Car was excellent in the air and calm on the ball. Seems hard not to start him now.

    Brozovic looks to get open and has excellent passing abilities. He was the main difference between the last two games. Pasalic is position-less in my opinion and played poorly again.

    Great bounce back game from Kovacic; his stats were Chelsea level this game.

    Livakovic with another solid performance. Really impressed with his play.



  48. Mile says:

    Just saw highlights. Nice too see that although the world has changed, Croatia getting screwed by the refs and France getting all the calls hasn’t changed.



  49. Mr. Black says:

    Why don’t we try Rakitic as central defender. I’m pretty sure he has the defensive capacities. He did well as defensive midfielder for Barcelona.



  50. Mile says:

    Guys, VAR doesn’t matter. It is only used to help the preferred teams. If it’s an 50-50 penalty call in France’s favor, it’s a penalty. If it’s in Croatia’s favor it’s not. There were many other WC games where VAR was a joke. Remember the Serb guy getting tackled by two Swiss guys? I remember watching it thinking, VAR will get this right. And they played on. And then remembering, it was against Switzerland, and the Swiss, like the French, get all the calls. FIFA HQ is there.



  51. Stari says:

    Nations league is a junk tournament. We’ll see at the Euros how good we are. You guys need to chill. These are just glorified friendlies. No motivation = no performance. Croatians thrive on real battles not practice games.
    When we spank England and reach at least the semifinals with this team you will all be singing a different tune.



  52. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Uremovic was very insecure on that right side. I don’t know enough about his style of play so its kinda hard to critique him. He looked shell shocked but maybe that was nerves…Vida didn’t do much better either.



  53. I thought it was a decent bounce back after the debacle on Saturday. It was not a great performance. The defense still needs work. I genuinely really hope that in October we try Domagoj Bradaric at LB. Leave Lovren home to try to motivate him to get better. Pongracic and Caleta-Car to start at CBs at least in the friendly against Switzerland. Hopefully Sime is back to play RB by then.

    We’re playing 3 times in October. Geez. Not sure if this is allowed but I would actually like to see a 30-man squad if possible and play exclusively fringe players and young players in the friendly match. Switzerland is a tough team so it would be a good test.

    The substitution of Brekalo for Rebic was good, if not obvious, and it paid off. Then Uremovic was injured so we had to sub on Vida at RB. However, the last sub made no sense to me. Pasalic for Perisic? I know Vlasic moved to the wing and Pasalic at attacking mid makes sense, but it seemed like he was more of a CM and wasn’t attacking. If we’re gonna move Vlasic to the wing after a sub. Why not sub on Petkovic or even Budimir to play up top and then let Kramaric drop back to attacking mid/second striker. He was dropping really far all game anyway. And Pasalic wasn’t great today either because again he was out of position. I just don’t see a spot for him honestly. I think Pasalic is a better player than Rog, but I would have called up Rog if we needed another CM. He was on the stand-bys but yet when Modric dropped out we called up two strikers that we didn’t use. I would have picked Orsic before them as we only had the 3 wingers.

    All we were asking for before this game was some effort and a formation that our players can actually play and I think we got that. I will say I have my doubts about Dalic and while I wouldn’t fire him based on the Nations League, I really hope he’s not the reason we struggle at the Euros and/or World Cup.



  54. Stipe says:

    @ANYBODY

    I couldn’t watch or DVR the game. I work from home due to covid. All of the Courthouse are closed. I was planning on watching the game ok ESPN + while I was doing my work. But I got a call by a Judge who wanted to record a motion. I was so pissed.

    I’m crazy busy. I know the score but I didn’t read any comments or articles.

    Can anyone tell me how it went please?



  55. Franjo says:

    We need to stop living in the past. Croatia is an over achiever. The World Cup was an amazing run and yes we finished second but reality is we didn’t win! These two Nations League showings proved we don’t have the depth needed to win. We need to have the killer instinct of winning games and showing the world what we are capable of. The big countries show up to win no matter the competition and were not there yet. We need to get a foreign coach who will bring out the best in the younger generation. Dalic served his purpose at the World Cup but we need change for the future.



  56. LAknat says:

    Dear Dalic

    If you want to try some players . . .
    Don’t try like a Shiit. Try like Me with this >

    …………………….Kramaric……….Pasalic…………………..
    …….Rebic………………….Kovacic………………Vlasic……
    …………………Rakitic…………………Brozovic………………
    ……………..Caleta Car……Vida…..D Lovren………………
    ……………………………….Livakovic……………………………



  57. Mali Ante says:

    @ Zach G
    Not sure if you watched the same as I did. Others have backed up my comments about Pasalic in the thread.
    Not saying he’s a bad player, in fact I will always too for any Croatian player to excel and do well. He’s just not tailored to play in our system. He won’t take Vlašić spot for the next 10 years..which means he plays central mid. He doesn’t cover well or track back enough defensively. He plays a more offensive role for Atalanta. I’m hoping he surprises me and turns it on as he’s still young enough but we have many other kids coming through the pipeline that could easily take his spot.



  58. Anonymous says:

    i don’t think we necessarily need a foreign coach, but a croatian coach that is has experience in a quality league and with good results. Examples include: 1.) Ivan Leko 2.) Ivan Juric 3.) Vladimir Petkovic



  59. gbvh says:

    Yes at least we’re not boring. And it’s Nations League.

    Ballyhooed, Darling Forever Kings Of The Soccer Universe England has one total goal in games against Iceland and Denmark. And that was on a PK. Zzzzzzzzzzz.



  60. Mali Ante says:

    For the record this was a much better effort and aside from a few breaks and mental lapses we should have had a better result.
    Everyone was working harder, even Krama ran more than I’ve seen in the past and I think I saw him actually pass the ball. Lol.
    What we did realize is that our D is suspect and we need to incorporate Pongracic, pray for Vrsaljko to come back and stay healthy, and give Bradaric/Sosa a run.



  61. Maminjo says:

    To be fair to Pasalic, he was used very stupidly by Dalic these past two games.

    He’s shown us that he’s not good defensively, and definitely cannot be used as a CDM.
    He’s also not an outright attacker either.

    Kovacic was better this game, but still doesn’t seem very focused.

    Watching Brozovic run our offense and run back and forth to apply pressure and win balls…with Kovacic just jogging lightly in background is frustrating to watch. Kovacic does not pressure the opponents at all (no matter how dangerously close they are in our third).

    I wouldn’t start either Pasalic or Kovacic for a while. Maybe Pasalic and Kovacic can play if we move to a different midfield formation…but I’d rather just keep the 4-2-3-1 and experiment between Rakitic and Vlasic in that CAM role (I don’t see Pasalic as a starter anyway).

    Our back four made a lot of mistakes. Probably due to not playing with each other too much. Saw some communication errors there.

    I actually didn’t mind Uremovic at all. He seemed decent before he was injured, but I was also distracted for the first 20 min so maybe I missed some stuff from him. Melnjak I still don’t like and I don’t want to see him playing anymore (he’s just not good enough).

    Duje made some mistakes, but he’s younger and on an upswing. I’d stick it out with him for now. It’s nice having a big and tall CB like Duje for set pieces (something we’ve been missing with Vida there). Lovren and Vida shouldn’t be automatic starters anymore. We gotta get Pongracic in there next game, and Bradaric too. Maybe give Uremovic some more time too and see where it goes with these younger guys.

    The rest of the squad is fine. Krama, Vlasic and Brekalo got a lot of flak last game, but they belong on this team along with Rebic, Petkovic, Modric, Rakitic, Brozovic, and Vrsaljko.

    It’s 3 out of our back 4 that is wide open (Lovren, Vida and Barisic should not feel so secure). Also, I don’t think Kovacic or Pasalic can start either. Dalic needs to bench them.



  62. Soul Champ says:

    Brozovic is our guy.

    I have been watching Kovačić closely for the last 6 years. He will compliment Vlašić and Brozovic. There is no replacing Modrić, and are best does not need to be #8.

    Brozovic has that presence with the ball and sees the plays develop.

    So our best player will be a CDM.

    Great.

    Build around him.

    I can think of worse positions to build around.

    I too had zoom meetings.

    Turn on the game and bang, open header and then phantom penalty.

    Kramaric can either accept his role off the bench or cut him.

    Kalinic 2.0.

    Even when he plays well he takes away from the team.

    I just saw that Brekalo goal.

    No one can do that in our squad.

    I am sorry him and Vlašić start no matter what.

    Mandžukić – Modrić back for a run.

    Livakovic .. too small for me.

    I need a 196 monster in there with a ZDS Gotovina beast mode presence.

    Give me Grbic.

    Dalic is good and had a great run with a veteran group that was due. But is he anywhere near the level of a world class manager
    ?

    Petković has the presence I like as well.

    This was great for us.

    France and Portugal played their A game and gave us a meaningful week.

    Let’s see how we do next month?

    Uvijek Vjerni



  63. Anonymous says:

    We were bad last Nations League and
    Disastersous here. Dalic has had an
    Awful record including the WC final.
    How many times can we use the experiment
    Excuse? Don’t give me that we will wake up
    When the Euro comes around. We have been
    Shit. Only one good match when we beat
    Spain.



  64. The truth says:

    Ya people gotta calm down.

    Today was fine

    These games don’t really mean anything and there’s probably an argument that we outplayed the World Cup coalitions today

    People calling for dalic firing are just unsteady

    Only so much a guy can do with a team of unfit and unmotivated guys in a few days

    Uremovic and perisic were forced subs… and brekalo was a good pro active sub



  65. Truth

    Dalic May be a decent guy and not saying he should be fired but he may be over his head with this job, people are upset for good reason. It’s hard to be a Croatian and be the but of jokes and calling our team garbage and now these last two performance proves 2018 was a fluke. It’s true COVID might of played a part and some of the boys were not form. Why was Portugal and the French Spain and Germany in form? The players have to want it . We lost in 2018 because we defeated ourselves. It’s true we got some bad calls against in 2018 and we should of had at least 2 penalties and the crowd coming onto the field stopping a raktic break away, Suba was hurt and should of not been in goal. He did great in the penalty but those could of been saved. We still have difficulty defending set pieces and today our defense had flaws . This is been on going problem . We are not going to get the big breaks in big tournaments so we have to make sure we are not reckless and cannot allow mistakes happen. This falls on dalic



  66. ElviSS says:

    We are getting blown away.
    Unacceptable! We haven’t been losing
    Gritty games where we can say we played
    Hard but just came up short. Other teams
    Are under the same conditions with the
    China virus. We need to learn to hold
    Position and not fold. The late goals
    In the first half was like pre Worldcup
    Matches where we would collapse at the end
    Of matches. To Touch confusion. I wish
    We had a defensive captain who can
    Lead the back end.



  67. Crotown says:

    Find a coach outside of Croatia- how can people write that this in anyway is good- there is no Defense or any sense of proper positioning – France and Portugal were walking pass these guys like their standing still and most of the time- our guys are standing still

    Of course – refs are garbage but lots of self inflicted errors and not a lot of strategic coaching to alter the play or the game

    Bye Dalić- get in line with the rest of nice guys from doma that can’t coach- please pick an outsider-



  68. Stanko says:

    Livaković needs to be more aggressive on corners..he had all day to punch that ball out or even snatch it.
    Pasalic is a fish out of water for us he just doesn’t fit in.
    Why sub vida in at right back did we not have any other options,you could see he was out of his element on the offensive end.
    On a good note Brozo is a beast …Vlasic and Brekalo will form a dynamic cohesive in time you can just feel it!
    We really need Pongracic or Big Ben to solidify a spot in the back 4.
    We will be ok once Luka comes back but let’s hope he plays until he’s 70!



  69. Maminjo says:

    We’re fine.

    We just need a shakeup in the back four, and no more experiments with our CDMs with players who cannot defend.

    These two games may have been a blessing in disguise to ensure that Dalić doesn’t simply stick with the status quo back four, and assume that Lovren, Vida and Barišić will get it done for us at the Euros.

    If we won these two games, then Dalić would have simply stuck with Lovren/Vida 100%. Since we’ve let in 8 goals, he is not so sure about them.

    This will give guys like Pongračić and Bradarić a chance in the back four to impress. I could see Ćaleta-Car and these guys become starters for us if they play well in the next couple of rounds. They are younger and more talented, plus they play on better club teams. Everybody loves loyalty, but there is a limit.

    The other blessing is that it likely glues Pašalić and Kovačić to the bench. These two cannot do what Modrić and Brozović can do. Dalić tried to get cute, and now looks stupid.

    Next month, we’ll see Modrić back in the lineup with a couple of young guns in defense… And we’ll be a lot better for it (especially when the Euros roll around).



  70. Maminjo says:

    Also, our U21 team tied the Czechs yesterday which put them too far behind in qualifying for the Euros. This could be good news in terms of freeing up some of these young guys for our senior squad.

    I’ve noticed a recent trend where we’ve been letting some talent stay too long with the U21s… But some of these guys (Šutalo, Moro, Sosa) really should have been called up to the senior team.

    Šutalo would have been a very useful sub when Uremović got injured. Moro was needed when we decided not to call up Modrić and Rakitić (especially since Pašalić was struggling trying to play deep, a role Moro plays well). Sosa is just way better than Melnjak at LB and could have started.

    It just doesn’t make sense to have worse players on the senior team, just because we want to achieve something in the youth competitions (that nobody really cares about).

    Hopefully some of the young defenders get a chance against Sweden in the next game.



  71. Stari says:

    Croatian inspector.

    It’s hard to be Croatian and the butt of jokes? Please!!! 2018 was not a fluke and anyone who says so is a complete idiot and doesn’t know nogomet. It takes a lot of hard work, talent, skill, team chemistry and luck to make the WC final. Stars need to align. It was our moment and we were unlucky not to win it all.
    We have all the tools necessary to win the next Euro…but again all these factors need to fall into place again. It actually works to our advantage that other countries look at us as lucky. We have good depth, good mix of youth and experience. We can beat any team on the planet and it would not surprise me.
    The problems we appear to be having right now are not really problems at all. The squad we fielded for the last 2 games have never actually played a full game together from start to finish. And that against the Euro and WC champs.
    Give the boys and Dalic some time to work out the kinks and build some chemistry.
    And stop hating and overreacting and calling for everyone’s heads and talking about how bad they are.
    Do we all forget that Croatians show up when it counts, not for meaningless bullshit? That’s why qualifying is almost always so tough for us, nobody really gives a shit until the big show.
    And about Dalic, I’d rather have a less hyped Croatian coach that has a Rosary in his pocket (and has led a team to the WC final) than any over hyped foreigner who will not be able to understand the Hrvat mentality and ethos.

    Bog i Hrvati



  72. Anonymous says:

    Under 21 still have 4 games left should be enough games left too qualify as we are the best team in the group and are starting too play well. Big improvement today much better hard too say this when you lose 4-2 but I thought they where the better team today just gave away three goals and one gift wrapped by the referee (never a penalty). Kramarić can not play the position of top front man we look much better with Petković there and Brozović is the real deal as is Perišić French players had to foul him every time he had the ball.



  73. BZ says:

    Captain Obvious: Hey the only two good games we played since WC 2018 was with Rebic, Perisic,Petkovic, Brozo, & Vlasic on the field.

    Dalic: Wait til you see Kramaric, Pasalic, Kova, and Brekalo can do. TWICE!

    Captain Obvious: But the last 25 minutes vs Portugal and the first half vs France you looked significantly better without that combination.

    Dalic: You don’t know soccer. Did you see Brekalo’s goal? Ignore the fact that we looked like shit the 2nd half, we are going to rely on random moments of greatness from Kramaric, Pasalic, Brekalo, and Kovacic for the next 10 years.



  74. Andrej L says:

    I personally like playing with Petkovic up top but today the roaming false 9 Kramaric worked better against a 3 man defense. He was able to get onto the ball in between the defensive and midfield lines in order to create. He was also able to get the CB to follow at times which created space for Rebic/Perisic. Good game plan by Dalic in my books.

    Re who was the better team;
    57% Possession
    478 (86%) accurate passes vs France’s 338 (80%)
    one stat that showed immaturity was dribbling;
    4/15 (27%) vs France’s 5/10
    Imagine if Rebic doesn’t dummy that ball or Kramaric shots rather than dribbles when they coughed up the ball in their penalty box.

    I don’t see where there were issues with Kovacic or Caleta-Car; they were two of our best players today!
    Full match;
    https://www.fullmatchesandshows.com/2020/09/08/france-vs-croatia-highlights-full-match-2/



  75. Andrej L says:

    Re U21s
    Sutalo is probably the only one that might get called if Vrsaljko doesn’t regain form/fitness. I think the Jedvaj experiment has gone for too long and he even admits that he prefers to play CB.

    Bradaric is still only 20 yo and considering Sosa is playing well for the U21s; maybe he does get the call. Plus Colina is a decent back up to Sosa.

    Moro is good but I’m not confident he’s better than Rog or Badelj at this time.

    I watched the U21s Czech game and they outplayed us. They pressed us and we struggled. We also started with guys like Bistrovic and Kulenovic on the bench.



  76. LAknat says:

    …………………….Kramaric……….Pasalic…………………..
    …….Rebic………………….Kovacic………………Vlasic……
    …………………Rakitic…………….…Brozovic……………….
    …….………..Caleta Car……Vida…..D Lovren……….………
    ……………….…………….Livakovic……………………………



  77. BZ says:

    Andrej L- If you like that roaming false 9, then you should like Petkovic even more. Petkovic a master at drifting back to receive with a defender at his back.

    Kramaric more of a precise sniper, but hasn’t done much sniping lately.

    In the end, the only thing I care about is if Perisic’s injury is serious or not. Hoping it isn’t an ACL.

    Hats of to Ben Yedder for those sublime passes that led to the first 2 French goals. That’s just great soccer, nothing we could do against perfect passes like that.



  78. Iggy Iggy says:

    Losing by a couple of goals to the world champs in their home country when you had a dodgy PK and an own goal against is honestly not that bad tbh with u. I just really want to stop us getting obliterated in these nations league games occasionally which unfortunately is becoming a bit of a trend it seems.



  79. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Re Petkovic,

    I’m not sure why he didn’t get any playing time in yesterday’s game, I think he’s a really good player but I also have my reservations about him.

    I saw someone compare Petkovic to Mandzukic, saying something along the lines that they play alike and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Bruno Petkovic is far more skilled and has soo many more abilities to dribble through players and make some incredible passes and score incredible goals that he create’s on his own. I’ve watched him at Dinamo and some with our National team and the guy has some mad skills. The bad side of Petkovic is that he won’t put much of an effort to chase guys down. He’s very lazy and won’t press for any duration other than the odd times here and there. My impression is that one day he will regret his lazy attitude that has caused his coaches to bench him like Bjelica did…and its a shame because he has everything to be better than Prso, Mandzukic, Kramaric, Olic, Klasnic and many others we’ve seen over the years…its his attitude that prevents him from getting to the one step higher in his career! When we look at what guys like Mandzuki or Olic brought to their teams, it wasn’t Petkovic’s brilliant twists and turns or amazing dribble’s in tight areas….it was their extremely high work rate, sacrificing their body, getting into the right spaces at the right time and working hard to get back and regain possession.

    I’m a fan of Petkovic but I think his own lack of work rate and will to do the right things to make him a better player will make him a less desirable type of player. Games aren’t only won inside the box nowadays, there’s a lot more to contributing to you team than scoring a goal or setting one up.



  80. Slavonac from Canada says:

    PS…If I was to compare style…Petkovic is more like Benzema (except Benzema isn’t lazy) than he is to Mandzukic!



  81. Londonac says:

    At least this time we didn’t play like a poor man’s second rate San Marino, which we were against Portugal.

    The dodgy penalty decisions plus two minutes of madness at the end of the first half were the only difference between us and the French yesterday. We haven’t been strong defensively since the Bilic, Simic and Stimac days, and we’ve never had a stand out keeper so our current problems are nothing new.

    Otherwise maybe my expectations have been lowered since the glory days of our world cup run, but I thought last night’s showing away from home against the defending world champions for what everyone knows is a meaningless tournament wasn’t that bad.



  82. Anonymous says:

    You guys are being way to kind. We have been piss poor since the world cup. Losing a hard fought match is fine but we have been demolished going back to last Nations league. We have to Trash the meatballs and win at least one aganist the next France/port matches.



  83. Mile says:

    Didn’t see what the dodgy penalty was other than the freebie France got. I’m guessing Croatia should have had one that wasn’t called. Anyone have video on that?



  84. Anonymous says:

    The world will just laugh at us. I was disappointed noone slapped Antoine Griezmann around. That would have been worth a red card. Super Joe would have.



  85. BZ says:

    @Slavonac- Petko is not Mandzukic, but his work rate with Rebic and Perisic is way better than Kramaric’s. I have to assume Petko didn’t start vs France due to his lingering injury. If Dalic started Kramaric bc he fears hurting Kramaric’s ego, then they both need to go.

    @all-Yeah, I guess you guys are right, we should be proud that we lost 4-2 to France’s C team.

    On the bright side:
    Vlasic was awesome

    Kovacic way better with Brozo there to help. Some solid thru balls. But still way below Modric, Rakitic, Vlasic, and Brozo for a starting spot.

    Brekalo’s goal was awesome, in light of the comical defense. He needs to tidy up those 2 ridiculous giveaways that led to a easy French opportunities. Especially the one that, if not for Livakovic’s great save and Brozo’s amazing hustle, would have led to yet another easy French goal. I am confident he will improve.

    Pasalic and Kramaric easily the 2 worst performers in our attack.

    Only guy with a worse performance than Pasalic was Dalic.



  86. Anonymous says:

    @hfhkggghhkff@gmail.com, “Yeah you’re the brazil of europe, you guys look like brazillians too.”

    Which Brazilians exactly? There’s White Brazilians, Black Brazilians, “Native-American” Brazilians and Mulatto Brazilians. I know of an EXCLUSIVE German-Polish town in Brazil.



  87. Maminjo says:

    Apparently, this is the reported lineup for the next round of matches ;)

    ………………………….. Grbić
    … Vrsaljko, Pongračić, Ćaleta-Car, Bradarić
    …………………… Modrić, Brozović
    …………………………. Vlašić
    ……………………. Rebić, Perišić
    ………………………. Petković



  88. BZ says:

    @Maminjo-Now that is a lineup. Bring on Brekalo, Rakitic as subs…look out.
    Too bad we have to reserve a sub to replace Vrsaljko if he limps off.

    Can’t wait to see Grbic. Livakovic was ok, but at least 2 of those goals were not NT level keeping (3rd goal Port, and header of corner vs France.) Biggest concern to me is his ability to restart play. Better than Kalinic though.



  89. Suba says:

    I am worried about Liva

    I would like someone more imposing and commanding

    I do not see those qualities in him

    Mamic using the national team again to make a big sell

    I would try Grbic next to see how handles the high pressures of national team football

    I am also getting worried about Dalics tactical manoeuvres

    We are leaking in goals at an alarming rate.

    He needs to bring in a qualified defensive coach or an assistant Italian coach or get a rocket up their lazy arses

    Frankly it’s always been our archilles heel

    We need to pay more attention to this

    Every other parts of the play field is sweet



  90. Maminjo says:

    @BZ

    That is the CroatianSports.com lineup.

    It’s the lineup everybody wants to see.

    I doubt we’ll ever see it though.



  91. Maminjo says:

    @Dalmatia

    I like Benković, but we can’t play him until he nails down regular playing time at club level first (like Pongračić and Ćaleta-Car have done).



  92. Miki says:

    Dalics choices since wc2018 have been all wrong its like his magic is run out or something. We need more hnl national team fri3ndlys like čacic did.

    I dont know anyomore need to rebuild for future im sick of getting scored on 4 plus against big teams since post wc 2018.

    @maminjo that lineup looks good on paper but dalic keeps stick8ng with meljnak skoric jedvaj at right back isnt gonna cut it and need to play a dm imo need a guy like sunjic palaveres nejesmasic need to gel like bilic did 2006 mix youth and old



  93. Anonymous says:

    Dalic suffers from the same symptoms as many coaches do (Bilic too) where they are quick to bring in new players when they first start their coaching term…but are slow to change it up once they’ve developed a relationship and loyalty to these players.

    I think that breaking up the Lovren/Vida CB partnership will be the most difficult thing for Dalic to do.

    Guys like Melnjak and Skoric are probably very humble (like Dalic) and are happy to be selected to the National Team (since they know that they suck).
    He probably gives them a longer leash for callups, and will continue to include them on the roster (and maybe trying to help them out in getting a decent transfer to a better club).





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