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3 Things We Learned During The International Break

October 15, 2020




1. Luka Modrić isn’t just aging like a fine wine, the man is a bottle of Louis XIII. The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner is still putting the Croatian team on his back and running around the field like a teenager with unlimited amounts of energy. It was Modrić’s extra effort that led to Croatia’s only goal against the French Wednesday night at Maksimir when he tracked down the ball in the offensive zone and cut back a perfect pass to Brekalo (in the box) instead of sending a cross through the air. The man makes everyone around him better and that still hasn’t changed at 35 years old.



It’s going to be a sad, sad day when Modrić finally hangs up his boots for the Vatreni. No midfielder on the current Croatian squad can come close to controlling the midfield like Modrić does. I stated earlier in the season that this had to be the year of Mateo Kovačić. So far, he has not impressed. Nikola Vlašić will be the real deal but he’s more attack-minded than Modrić is. Modrić controls the game at his tempo and is given so much respect from his opponents that he can conduct the midfield as he pleases. We already know Modrić will play at EURO 2021, but could he stay for the November 2022 World Cup in Qatar? We can only pray.



2. Nikola Vlašić (23) and Josip Brekalo (22) are ahead of schedule. Way ahead of schedule! The two Croatian wunderkinds are no longer kids and have officially graduated to 1st-team senior side Croatian football with major contributions already. Brekalo scored Croatia’s first goal against the Swiss last week with a wonderful volley strike just inside the post. Against Sweden, Brekalo unselfishly dished the ball off to Vlašić in the box for the game’s opening goal and the duo linked up for more of the same against Les Bleus for Croatia’s lone goal against the French. The Vatreni scored five goals in three matches during the international break. The Vlašić/Brekalo duo were responsible for three of them. The future is here to stay and these two guys will be on highlight reel for the next 10 years.



3. The Lovren (31)/Vida (31)  center-back tandem that got the Vatreni all the way to the World Cup Final has finally run out of magic. Both Vida and Lovren got torched in the past week and it’s time for Dalić to start looking to the future. Ćaleta-Car (24) needs to start both November matches against Sweden and Portugal. It would be fantastic if Dalć good implement Wolfsburg’s Marin Pongračić (23) alongside CC as well. This should be the center-back duo Croatia focuses on going into 2021. Unfortunately, Pongračić picked up mono and has been sidelined for the past month. The jury is still out on Matej Mitrović, but at 26 years old, he may have missed the boat. Croatia have tons of young talent to be showcased, but it has to happen in the correct order. Let CC and Pongračić play with each other as opposed to one of them being paired with Lovren or Vida. Roll the dice in Nations League to set up the future.



As far as Nations League goes, the best Croatia can finish in group is third. With a win/draw against Sweden, the Vatreni will ensure they stay in the top league in the next tournament, making the Portugal match at Poljud a friendly.


Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 42 comments

  1. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    Mitrović was doing well for us before he got injured. He was a defensive wall, and he was passing pretty well too.

  2. BZ says:

    Just too bad we won’t get to see our two best wings battle it out in the Milan Derby this weekend. Would have been a must watch.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What I learnt is that Dalic is having stabs in the dark

    It’s a ship without a rudder

  4. Maminjo says:


    What are you talking about?

    Brekalo doesn’t play for either Milan team


  5. Maminjo says:

    The one thing I learned these past couple of UNL rounds is that we gotta play our Red Bull Salzburg duo (Marin Pongračić and Duje Ćaleta-Car) as soon as we possibly can

  6. Andrej L says:

    Couple things we’ve learned in the past week;

    LB – Bradaric is the future and hopefully he can put on some weight in time for the summer. Not sure if anyone noticed, but during the Sweden game Kulusevski got him 1:1 and Bradaric got into an aggressive defensive stance and Kulu decided to pass back rather than try to dribble like he did against almost everyone else. Melnjak showed that he is at par to Barisic, while not world class; aren’t they at par to Strinic?

    RB – Sutalo was shooting from distance and getting involved in the attack against Greece on Tues. Hopefully, he continues to get minutes at Atalanta (not on CL list). Uremovic showed some improvements but much like Vrsaljko, both are ways away from Vrsaljko’s level in 2018.

    CF – Petkovic got his time and looked out of it. Dalic had some kind yet motivational words about Petkovic afterwards and really showed to me why Dalic is on another level compared to anyone else we’ve had; a real wolf in sheep’s clothing imo. It seems like Kramaric’s position to lose; I’m just hoping Rebic continues to improve and eventually takes over the CF position.

    The last nations league, we played without our best players while Vlasic and Brekalo played for the U21s. When the competitive matches started, both were brought into the fold and made a major difference. Hopefully, Bradaric and Sutalo can have the same impact when we start playing competitive matches.

  7. Kljun Jurcic says:

    According to Dalic he has his 11 for euros which is

    Livakovic Vrsaljko Lovren Vida Barisic Modric Brozovic Rebic Vlasic Perisic Petkovic.

    My 11
    Livakovic Vrsaljko Caleta Car Pongracic Bradaric Modric Brozovic Vlasic Brekalo Kramaric Perisic. Subs Rebic Petkovic Kovacic.

  8. Maminjo says:


    Not sure if anyone noticed??!

    Bruh. All I was doing was writing about how Bradaric put a stop to Kulusevski dammit! 😉

    Anyway, a good article came out on 24sata that listed the potential 23 players who would make the Euro squad, and it’s really an eye opener.

    Guys like Jedvaj, Rog, Pjaca, and fan-favorite Melnjak will likely not even make the squad.

    These are the 19 they said will likely make the cut (which I agree with):

    Dominik Livaković (Dinamo)
    Ivo Grbić (Atletico)
    Šime Vrsaljko (Atletico)
    Dejan Lovren (Zenit)
    Filip Uremović (Rubin)
    Domagoj Vida (Bešiktaš)
    Duje Ćaleta-Car (Marseille)
    Borna Barišić (Rangers)
    Domagoj Bradarić (Lille)
    Luka Modrić (Real Madrid)
    Marcelo Brozović (Inter)
    Mateo Kovačić (Chelsea)
    Mario Pašalić (Atalanta)
    Nikola Vlašić (CSKA)
    Josip Brekalo (Wolfsburg)
    Ivan Perišić (Inter)
    Ante Rebić (Milan)
    Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim)
    Bruno Petković (Dinamo)

    We still need a goalkeeper, another CB, and another couple of players.

    Really, it should be Sluga (as third keeper) and Pongracic (as CB)…
    Then, you have to choose two out of Badelj, Basic, Budimir, Rog, Orsic, Pjaca, Krovinovic, Sutalo, Jedvaj, Melnjak, Caktas…

    Quite a few players fighting for those last two spots.

    IMO, we need another forward (Budimir) and at least one of Basic or Badelj to play the pivot behind Modric/Brozovic.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Krovinovic will surpass Kovacic

  10. Eric says:

    Kramarić and Budimir have Covid

  11. Filip says:

    CDC recently updated estimated infection fatality rates for COVID. Here are the updated survival rates by age group:

    0-19: 99.997%
    20-49: 99.98%
    50-69: 99.5%
    70+: 94.6%

  12. Filip says:

    The scientist who invented the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test kit was Kary B. Mullis. PCR technology is what they use today to test for the so-called coronavirus. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for it in 1993. Mullis said, PCR cannot be totally and should never be used as a tool in “the diagnosis of infectious diseases.”

  13. BZ says:

    In all seriousness Maminjo, watch the 2nd half of the France game again. Try to objectively tell me Brekalo had a good game. If Rebic ever had a game like that, which he hasn’t, this board would skewer him.

    He was personally reprimanded by:
    1)Perisic for inexplicably running into a crowded space occupied by our striker Petko on a cross, when he should have been occupying the area by the back post.

    2)by Dalic after making a horrid pass attempt to Budimir. I think Dalic had to tell him to stay calm, don’t rush things.

    3)by Modric after dangerously giving the ball away on a horrid
    backpass, that sprung France on a thwarted counter.

    4)by Kramaric after Brekalo’s pass was way too hard on what was an amazing opportunity and should have been the equalizing play

    5) by BZ, when he couldn’t get past either fullback to get one decent cross off.

    6) by the crowd when he constantly ran head down into 2 defenders, consistently losing the ball.

    7)by the announcers after he sent a shot 30 yards above the crossbar, like a 9th grader on the freshman team.

    Again he is clearly our best Sub option for Rebic or Perisic after they pour their heart out on the field. Rebic and Perisic usually beat up the defense so badly that it will be a perfect time to bring in a fresh set of legs, like Brekalo to clean up the scraps.

  14. Maminjo says:


    Don’t you dare say these things about Jo-Jo Breaky!

  15. Dannyj says:

    The thing with brekalo tho he can make that little bit of magic from nothing as well it seems?

    But seriously how sick is Vlasic with his finish. He just points and shoots He doesn’t seem to need a big wind up or shows where he is going With it

    I’ve been calling for krovinovic to shine before his injury. I think he deserves a shot. I have faith the guy would make the best of his minutes

    Like seriously Kova had a few good mins last game for sure
    But we need to keep trying some stuff till we can find someone who can grab the midfield by the balls like luka has
    Course there is only one luka but as the article mentioned Vlasic is a bit diff style
    Broz more defense minded

    Sure hope luka is on that good GH and can play in Qatar

    For me it looks like Budimir tries harder then Petko
    Petko does have a nice touch in tight areas and can
    Finish. He also pushes through with his big body but he doesn’t have that tenacity like Budimir I think would show(who btw tested positive for Covid)

    I’ve loved the vida Lovren combo as much as anyone
    But we need to see some new stuff back there
    Three games in November
    We should see some more potential looks

    When do World Cup qualifier start?

  16. Dannyj says:

    And also Perisic still a beast
    His patented step over still making it happen

  17. Maminjo says:

    We have like two or three World Cup qualifiers in March.

    I completely forgot about that.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I like Joey Budalo. He’s a short spunky guy.

  19. Marko says:

    You guys see this guardian article regarding top 10 contenders – although I don’t think we’re top 3 not yet (even thought tons of time from here to euro to get into that position) hell it barely took 10 months from a fi land defeat to being ina World Cup final but what a joke the guardian is / like a douchebag holiga bias article – were not even in top 10 of contenders and Poland and Russia are lol – give me a break – some of the rest are obvious but we’re still better then those perogie vodka fuckers

  20. Marko says:

    @ Dannyj – that step over is clutch – led to rakitic flick on for selfish outcast kalinic right before half time euro 16 game and like 2 mins in WcC18 game willy got lucky with a stretched out save in the counter against Argentina perisic step over…2-4 years ago and he’s still doin it has plenty left in the tank it seems for more

  21. Marko says:

    He’s got so many – each game he produces at least few whether it be NT or inter – Pasalic shoulda buried the step over cross but decent coverage and fanned on it and rebound lloris just got lucky – that late 1st half injury time when Pickford slashed up mandzukic leg then laid trash talk (Karma u fuck !) was another great one – so many- beast mode for sure and that height he generates almost like pork chop Cr7 he gets great vertical

  22. Lika Joey says:

    Marko, the Guardian is correct. Did you watch Croatia play Portugal? We lost all but one of out nations league games. We conceded 10 goals against us thus far. Croatia needs Sime back and two new centre backs immediately. How the hell would any logical soccer mind even consider putting us in the top 10 now. If we played anyone of those teams like we have been playing we would lose not against Russia tho.Croatia looks like a shell of the team who played at the World cup.

  23. Lika Joey says:

    I think Poland is an underrated team. It’s criminal that the Balon dor isn’t happening this year because Lewandowski would be the winner.

  24. Maminjo says:

    There isn’t a Polish person out there who truly believes they could beat Croatia in a tournament.

    Poland and Russia generally do very well in qualifications… But rarely do well in tournaments, unless PEDs are involved lol.

    Croatia is easily a top-8 contender.

    That article is putting heavy weight into the qualifying matches, which is not an accurate reflection of what teams are capable of doing when they are fully primed and free of all club obligations in a tournament setting.

  25. Maminjo says:

    Also, let’s not pretend that the English author of that article is not suffering from Croatian Semifinal elimination PTSD… Who also happen to be in the same group as his team at the Euros.

    Dude has gotta face his fears eventually.

  26. Filip says:

    Yesterday, in a suburb of Paris, a Croatian man BEHEADS a Frenchman after Croatia’s latest 2-1 loss to the French team. It was reported the man shouted “za dom spremni” during the attack.

  27. Andrej L says:

    @ Christmas
    Great link. Really good analysis. I do agree that our defense while pressing was not cohesive enough. The entire team has to press together in order to create turnovers. I really feel that this defensive tactical awareness is the difference between good and great teams.

  28. Anonymous says:


    We can dream

  29. Poglavnik says:

    Winning a few ko round games every 20 years does not automatically make one a top 10 contender for every future tourney. We’re not winning shit until we shore up that backline. If only we could develop a world class CB or GK..

  30. Maminjo says:

    If wining a few KO rounds is easy, they why don’t others do it?

    How about Medaling every 20 years?

    Only 6 teams medaled twice in these past 20 years. We’re one of them.

  31. Maminjo says:

    I’d rather be a team that goes big or goes home (like us or the Netherlands) than a perpetual Round of 16 team like Mexico who will never win a World Cup.

  32. Maminjo says:

    Actually, not 6 teams. Just 5 teams.

    France, Germany, Brazil, Netherlands and Croatia.

    These are the only teams who medaled twice in a World Cup in the past 20 years.

    If you go back 60 years, then you can add two more teams (Italy and Argentina) bringing the total to 7 teams who had medaled twice.

  33. Anonymous says:

    “Modrić controls the game at his tempo and is given so much respect from his opponents that he can conduct the midfield as he pleases.”

    That’s a great point. You won’t see highlights on espn of Modric making a slick move or pass in the midfield that opens the gates but you’ll see highlights of a running back making a good 15 yard run in the middle of the field on a drive that didn’t lead to a score b/c that’s measurable to an American sports fan who doesn’t understand original football.

    The 1st time I saw Modric play was in a friendly against Scotland the year before he went to Tottenham. The only soccer I watched back then was the Croatian NT the rare times they were on. In that game Modric makes a slick move in the midfield and the English announcer prominently notes it and says “that’s what we have to look forward to”. So I started watching Tottenham games and learned the sport watching Modric and came to understand it wasn’t just about goal highlights. And now it’s my favorite sport.

  34. Anonymous says:

    On the same note. I once heard an American man of Italian descent call in to a sports talk radio show and he talked about how he took his wife on a trip to the old country and they went to a Seria A game even though they weren’t soccer fans at all. And he said what stood out to him is that the crowd gave a standing ovation to player who deftly dribbled the ball past a few defenders in the midfield. He said he really appreciated that compared to some football player catching a 6 yard slant pass and gyrating around like he did something out of the ordinary.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I must clarify, European football is my favorite sport, including the EC & WC of course. I don’t watch any other soccer, least of all the MLS, who I can’t stand for incessantly sticking antiWhite BLM bullshit in everyone’s face. Not only that, they are affiliated with a Political Correctness Seminary called New Hampshire University who in one of their commercials, has their high priest, literally dressed in a robe with a huge medallion around his neck effeminately proclaim “the world equally distributes talent, but it doesn’t equally distribute opportunity”.

    This “opportunity” magically appears in only White countries. LIAR, TRAITOR, FUCKING RAT.

  36. Anonymous says:

    A french antiWhite got beheaded by the “diversity” he loved and the “hate speech” he condemned his own people for.

  37. Anonymous says:

    An 18 year old Chechnyan beheaded a french teacher who had insulted the prophet Muhammad and killed several other people. Then Macron, one of the leaders of the CRIMINAL antiWhite establishment who puts his own people in jail for the “hate speech” of SAYING France should remain a White country has the fucking nerve to say the teacher was murdered for her “free speech”.

    Not to mention law abiding citizens in France have no right to armed self defense against machete wielding Jihadists let into France by the CRIMINAL antiWhite establishment.

  38. Anonymous says:

    My guess is the people who got murdered agreed that anyone who criticizes “diversity” should be put in jail and honest law abiding citizens have no right to armed self defense. AntiWhites are INSANELY stupid. You honestly think these RETARDS are going to stay in power?

  39. Anonymous says:

    Hi, my name is Emmanuel Macron, one of the leaders of the CRIMINAL antiWhite establishment; we are going to foist the third world on our own people and put anyone who criticizes this GENOCIDAL policy in jail for “hate speech” and call them “conspiracy theorists”. And we are going to fight the crime committed by these third worlders by not allowing honest law abiding citizens to have guns!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Teachers should mock homosexuals and transgenders in future, at least they wont chop your head off.

    Homosexuals and transgenders would probably kill themselves and then the teachers could use them as an example of why they were stupid for not accepting freedom of speech.

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