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Vatreni Sleep Walk Through 2-1 Loss To Sweden

November 13, 2020



It will be interesting to see who Dalić puts out there against Sweden. Modrić and Perišić are automatic. You can also add Brekalo and Vlašić to that list as Ante Rebić hasn’t gone 90 minutes in over a month. Marcelo Brozović tested positive for COVID and will not be playing. Would Dalić try out Kovačić as the CDM behind Modrić? I would be completely fine with that rather than Badelj or Rog.


Post-Match Show



SN Projected Lineup vs. Sweden



Remember, a draw or a win is the same thing for Croatia. Either result would keep them in the top Nations League tier while relegating Sweden. Sweden will be playing for a win and only a win form the opening whistle. That means the will have to play open which will make them vulnerable to the counter-attack; and Croatia have a lethal attack down the wings.



It would be nice to see Pongračić and Ćaleta-Car together in the back with Vida out due to COVID. No reason to pair Lovren with either of the young guns.



If Croatia gets the result they need (win/draw), that would in essence make Tuesday’s game against Portugal a friendly for the Vatreni. Ronaldo and Portugal may need a victory at Poljud to top the group but that will be known after Saturday’s games.



Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 126 comments

  1. Maminjo says:

    So is it confirmed that Brozovic is the only member of the squad who has it?

    With Vida and Lovren out, we may actually see a Bradaric, Caleta-Car, Pongracic, Uremovic back four lineup.

    I just hope Pongracic’s form doesn’t hinder him too much, as this would be his second game in months.

  2. France says:

    Both these teams are group B level teams so at least one of them will end up where they belong.

  3. Soul Champ says:

    Kovačić !?

  4. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    @Maminjo – Good question. Which players have the virus could have a significant effect on our ability to compete. One hopes the off-field management has been strict enough at least to prevent players who sat out the last game from getting infected…

  5. BEĆAR says:

    I read that Livakovic and Petkovic have been cleared to play.

    Other than Brozovic, I’ve only read that one of the coaches also has COVID, so far…….

  6. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    Thanks for the info guys. Didn’t see that about Broz. Petkovic won’t be available for the Sweden game. It’s all Budimir!

  7. BEĆAR says:

    Svi spremni za nastup
    “Zasad je situacija u redu, nema ozlijeđenih, Priključili su nam se Livaković i Petković i mislim da ćemo moći izvesti najbolji mogući sastav”

    That’s from the HNS website.

  8. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    Jutarnji: izbornik Zlatko Dalić ne može računati na Andreja Kramarića, a Bruno Petković tek se oporavio od bolesti. Hoće li se Dalić odlučiti na ‘lažne’ napadače, kao što je to napravio protiv Francuske ili će od prve minute imati ‘klasičnog’ napadača?

    Petkovic just recovered. That could go either way. Why play him when we don’t absolutely need him.

  9. BZ says:

    Thank goodness we are playing a bunch of hacks.

    This could have been bad.

    Again Rakitic could have served us well. (yeah yeah yeah)

    This would have been a perfect game to play Rebic or Perisic up top.

    Budimir going to need to show up, we can’t afford more missed sitters. We can’t count on the refs missing another obvious hand ball. He will get his opportunities playing with the first team.

    Pjaca should have been called up

  10. Anonymous says:

    Pjaca is hurt will be unavailable 3 too 6 weeks I believe.

  11. Maminjo says:

    “Genoa striker Marko Pjaca is set to remain out of action for a month with a bicep femoris lesion”

    Man. This guy with his injuries.

    Well at least it’s not his knees.

  12. Maminjo says:

    At least it’s not a rupture.

    I think this is similar tendon injury as Victor Oladipo if it was a rupture.

  13. Romi says:

    Appears 4 5 0 formation according to insiders Livakovic Barisic CC Uremovic Juranovic Badelj Kovacic Modric Vlasic Perisic Brekalo linuep.

  14. BEĆAR says:

    Luka Modric tests negative for COVID-19Real Madrid – La Liga Results from latest tes

    14/11/2020 11:41 CET
    En Español
    Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has tested negative for COVID-19, following the positive test of his Croatia teammate, Domagoj Vida.

    There was plenty of fear in the Spanish capital that Modric would end up testing positive, after having taken a photo with Vida the day before Croatia’s match against Turkey last Wednesday. The defender ended up playing the first half before being informed that he has had a positive result.

    The tests done by the Croatia squad did reveal that Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic and a member of the coaching team are also carrying the virus. Croatia will take on Sweden on Saturday night in the Nations League.

  15. BEĆAR says:

    @Ante Kvartuc

    I’m not saying that he “should” play, just that he’s available. I’m on the record as “not his biggest fan”. I actually want Budimir to get a chance to play with the “A” team.

    At this point, I’m just holding my breath hoping that nobody else tests positive.

  16. Maminjo says:

    Here is the latest expected lineup…

    Juranović, Ćaleta-Car, Uremović, Barišić –
    Modrić, Badelj, Kovačić –
    Perišić, Vlašić, Brekalo

    Disappointed to see no Domagoj Bradaric.
    I assume Pongracic isn’t playing because it may be too much to play him two games so quickly after his return.

  17. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    That 4-3-3 formation could actually be good for us going forward, since it’s very flexible with our top players. None of Kramarić, Rebić, Vlašić, or Perišić is a pure 9, so this lineup will favor the rotation of those guys. A central midfield of 3 is generally more effective at stopping counterattacks before they reach the back 4 as well. It worked for Barcelona and Spain for a long time, and we have that kind of team now, heavy on midfielders and wingbacks who like to play forward and defend weakly…

  18. Mali Ante says:

    HRVATSKA (4-2-3-1) Livaković – Barišić, Ćaleta-Car, Pongračić, Uremović – Kovačić, Modrić – Vlašić, Brekalo, Perišić – Budimir

  19. CiganJeCigan says:

    i wanna see a 4-4-2 with orsic brekalo on wings and rebic perisic uptop

  20. Maminjo says:

    What Mali Ante posted above is the latest from Jutarnji.
    It’s probably right.

    Dalic doesn’t move away from the 4-2-3-1.

    I don’t see the need to keep playing Budimir (as the odds of him ever playing in a tournament are low), but at least we get to see more Pongracic in a desired CB partnership with Caleta-Car.

    Hopefully Bradaric comes on for Barisic at LB. I gotta see a fully young and offensively capable back four.

    Also, hopefully Kovacic has a good game and continues that sudden offensive attitude from the Chelsea game before. Now or never for this guy.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This lineup is looks good lets see what happens

  22. Mali Ante says:

    At least we get our Caleta Car – Pongracic partnership. Dalic likely put Barisic in to add a little veteran presence at the back instead of using Bradaric.

    Rest of the lineup is as good as we can field with our injuries etc.
    I feel better about our D even if Pongracic hasn’t played much lately…way more talent on the back line vs the last game.

  23. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    That’s a pretty good lineup out there. At least Modrić and Kovačić have played a lot together before. Maybe that will help Kova mesh…

  24. Maminjo says:

    Yea, I like the RedBull CB pairing.

    I have a feeling that Dalic really wants to go forward with these two there. I think the benefit of botching these first few UNL games, is the lost faith in Vida/Lovren…which can justify a change there without criticism from the players or media.

    However, having Barisic and Uremovic at the fullback positions leaves us weak on offence there.

    Bradaric has more high level experience than Barisic, so even though Barisic is older, he’s actually less experienced.
    However, Dalic is a relationship manager too. Barisic was on the NT earlier and played in all our qualifiers, and Dalic probably doesn’ t want Barisic to feel like he’s being left out (especially with all this Melnjak playing time recently).

  25. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Looks good…I know Maminjo is pissed that Melnjak isn’t starting but we will be ok …kidding Maminjo!!

    Sweden are a really good team. I don’t expect this to be an easy game at all!

    If we can maintain possession and recover the balls quickly, we will destroy their optimism. I hope the guys put out a very energetic effort today!

  26. Poglavnik says:

    Sweden are boring as fuck. Id rather watch a Scotland match any day.

  27. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    With 5 substitutions, we might still get to see Bradarić, Oršić, et al.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Anyone know where u can watch?

  29. Anonymous says:

    Don’t see it on ESPN+ even though they have every other game….lol

  30. gbvh says:

    Watch on UEFA TV.

    Email/password all that is required.

  31. Iggy Iggy says:

    Here’s a good stream:

    UEFA TV never works for some countries like AUS.

  32. Maminjo says:

    We’re giving them possession, sitting back, and playing the counter attack.

    Unfortunately, we need Brozović to spring counter attacks (and not Kovačić, who takes too long and is content with just holding the ball).

    First 20 minutes, we did nothing but watch Sweden attempt to create chances with their 60% possession… But it looks like we’re finally trying to score.

  33. Maminjo says:


    The worst thing anyone can ever do to me is buy me a nice official Croatia kit… With Melnjak’s name on the back.

  34. Anonymous says:


  35. Maminjo says:


    Sweden scores, and are up 1-0.

    Surprise Surprise.
    Kovačić botches the defensive play and easily gets shaken off by Kuluševski for the goal.

  36. Anonymous says:

    @Iggy thanks works great

  37. Slavonac from Canada says:

    We attack with very few numbers, Uremovic was afraid to pass the ball forward (very shitty version of Dario Simic), Barisic couldn’t cross a ball to save his life, where the hell is Vlasic…is he even on the field?

    What a toothless performance. This type of display from our players makes me feel like we don’t have much to look forward to.

    Underwhelming display!

  38. Anonymous says:

    Had to turn it off – another garbage display – we don’t deserve to be in A league – I envisioned it again off the corner end of the half just like France…. 2-0 we fuckin suck – this Sweden team is in terrible form too but apparently we’re in worse form

  39. Slavonac from Canada says:

    I told you guys Sweden is a good team…we look fucking terrible! I’m really tired of all the hype for our newer members…they’re showing nothing!

    BTW Maminjo…Uremovic has zero value. He can only defend and not much else. And even defending he doesn’t ever look comfortable.

  40. Anonymous says:

    conceding in extra time. Its as Croatian as sarma on Christmas.

  41. Danijel says:

    WTF? Ridiculous

  42. Iggy says:

    Well, looks like yet another loss coming our way

  43. Anonymous says:

    Just about everyone looks they don’t wanna be there – another garbage display- this year is showing up to be like 2012-2013 stimac era and the. Some with the horrible results and form

  44. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    Here’s a screen name for you – Cardiac Croatian

  45. elcroato says:

    Basic for Kovacic!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Gonna get rocked by pork chops on Tuesday I don’t even know why I look forward to these games and waste my time cause it’s upsetting and worse when it’s a pathetic display of effort- can’t even get a draw and now CC missing for Portugal game – they gonna tear us apart

  47. Anonymous says:


    Bye bye

    How long can we sustain this

  48. Anonymous says:

    Bring on the god of halilovic or the god of meljnak lmao

  49. Anonymous says:

    At this point I’d take the god of mornar or livaja

  50. Mr. Black says:

    I saw the Serbia-Scotland game this week and Croatia is playing like Serbia today.
    Just waiting, being dominated, hoping for a counter goal and in the end… of course losing.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Perisic is having one of those games too- looks garbage – lost the ball quite often – bad decisions like most (all) players and was his man marking on 2nd goal

  52. Maminjo says:


    Yea, I wouldn’t have Uremović start ahead of Vrsaljko. He’s a stop gap. Both him and Barišić are just stop gap defenders who are holding those spots warm for Vrsaljko and Bradarić.

  53. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Fucking uninspiring performance…Dalic is sucking BIG time at setting these guys up for success. Blunder after blunder. Our attack looks worse than I’ve ever seen it…zero imagination, zero intensity…I honestly think many people put too much value in some our our newer players. So far, only Brekalo is at least trying to create something.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Dalic has screwed up this so called transition period

    Remember how well bilic did it

    Even Otto baric did it competently

    Euros are shaping to be a massive let down boys unless we turn things around quick

    I’d rather go down to the b league for the interim we find out feet and more importantly our heads and heart again

    This is not what croatia represents

  55. Slavonac from Canada says:

    I’ve been on the fence about Dalic for quite some time, even defending his actions and somewhat weird decisions. I did that because I didn’t want to be one of those less patient and over anxious types that are always looking to hang someone. My patience is up and I’m done with his experiments and nice and polite explanations…the World Cup ended over 2 years ago, you did well for us snd thank you for that but this is long overdue…he needs to get fired!

    If we continue like this, the entire team atmosphere and compete level will continue to drop. There is absolutely to look forward to…I’m just tired of making excuses to myself about why we are performing soo poorly. I read comments and want to believe I’m probably wrong about what we really do look like but after this today, I’m putting both feet on the ground snd just gonna say we are a long way from being a good team. Every week we name lineups and discuss players and their achievements at their clubs and yet I really do not feel confident in many of these guys!

  56. Anonymous says:

    We will come back to tie.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know who is our defensive coach too

    He needs to go too

    Our shrink doctor will be busy

  58. Chopper says:

    I’m watching France vs Portugal on one screen and our game on the other and we are nowhere near the quality of the other 2 teams in our group. A big change is required going forward. Actually a bit worried for Euros as there’s not that long to make effective changes.

  59. Maminjo says:

    Dalic seems to be too eager to give fringe players a lot of minutes (like Melnjak, Juranovic,) but when it comes to talented new players, it takes a lifetime for them to get called up and crack the lineup (Bradaric, Basic, etc).

    Bradaric and Basic should have been subbed in this game after the weak displays from Kovacic and Barisic.

    We actually have talented players at every position. COVID hasn’t helped, but it seems like Dalic is keen on trying to find some diamond in the rough, when we already have good players.

    Call up the U21 stars (Moro, Majer) and call up the most talented players who play in the top leagues (Bradaric, Basic, etc) and call it a day.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Dalic is trying to be too clever

    His I am from the poor boy from western Hercegovina livno moving to varazdin making it big act is not working anymore

    Now turning into a smart ass

  61. Iggy says:

    At least we got a goal so we will prolly still avoid coming last in the group.

    Alhtough im not sure that’s better? Being in league B might make it easier to qualify for things so who knows??

  62. Maminjo says:

    Subbing in players like Rog and Melnjak, ahead of players like Bradaric and Toma Basic is unacceptable.

    I understand that Dalic has a weird thing about it ‘being tough to get into the national team’…but this is a dumb policy.

    Play the talent you have at your disposal.

  63. Anonymous says:

    @slavonac – completely agree – were light years away from competing with the big dogs like we did over 2 years ago. In fact, we’re regressing not progressing and sets up interesting dynamic at home against the chops last game of NL. They will be goin for the win as they play ever game like Vince Vaughn says about Rudy in practice (which is what NL essentially is, practice) last practice of the season and these assholes think it’s the fuckin super bowl lol – either way – we better step up or we’re gonna get raped

  64. Anonymous says:

    Chops need the win too defend there shitty title of NL champions and will go for it so we must be prepared. Playing for nothing but pride now

  65. Well. Hopefully Portugal won’t be up for our game since it is meaningless for them. I doubt we’ll be up for it either though after this lackluster performance.

    Such strange substitutions. We’re 2 goals down and we sub on Pasalic as a false nine. Then, we sub on Petkovic (good move as we need goals), Rog for Kovacic (not horrible I suppose since Kovacic was invisible at best today), and then Melnjak for Pongracic…I know Pongracic isn’t fully fit but come on.

    Why not bring on Orsic after he his good performance in the friendly against Turkey? He is probably our fastest player and would have had a chance to attack Sweden’s slow and tired legs. Also no Bradaric in even the friendly? Might as well have let him play with the U21s as they blew a 2-0 lead to Scotland the other day and might have screwed themselves in qualification.

    Budimir was weak today, but he’s only as good as his service and he had none. Juranovic didn’t have much to do, but he was better today I suppose. Toma Basic looked solid in the friendly and should get some more minutes.

    Curious to see what our lineup will be for Portugal considering we need a better result than Sweden gets against France. Hopefully France’s fringe players put on a show in an attempt for more minutes…

    I’m expecting a defense of:

    Depends on how bad Uremovic’s injury is. Someone else in midfield though please. I’d prefer Basic or Rog. Kovacic needs to have someone light a fire under him. He just never seems motivated to play. Just hope we don’t get relegated again after this expanded format. Not that the Nations League matters. Maybe if we get relegated we’ll call up exclusively fringe and young players for it.

  66. Mr. Black says:

    I don’t think Dalic is to blame. I guess this generation is simply overrated.
    Brekalo has sometimes some great moves but how many balls did he lose today. Or he didn’t control the ball well… or his pass goes wrong.
    With the quality of this team, we must just hoping to qualify for tournaments. Hoping to reach a final or semi final, would be unrealistic.
    Livakovic did save us a few times.
    Caleta Car will never be as good for us as Lovren was in Russia 2018. I speak some French and I follow the French competition. They don’t see Caleta as a decent defender in France.
    RB should be for Juranovic. I’m not saying he’s world class, but at least he is a RB.
    We should forget about Budimir. He did his best, just not good enough.
    Modric is still our best player at 35.
    Vlasic did his best but still not good enough to carry us.
    Perisic is used to play with better players and it shows. He got frustrated.
    Kovacic should have stand up today but.. I don’t know. He doesn’t reach the required level.
    Lets pray Lovren reaches his level from the world cup again at Euro 2021 and then Vrsaljko comes back.
    And a that talk about Bradaric. At Lille where he plays the fans look at him as we used to look at Pranjic, a liability. Maybe he’ll be better in a few years, but for now forget about it.

  67. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Did Vlasic even play today? I mean, what exactly did he do?

    Good comments from several of you.

  68. Anonymous says:

    France will play for the draw at home knowing that’s enough to win the group and we’ll most likely (hopefully not) get beat at home against the chops which will relegate us. Heard it hear first, although it’s not rocket science of a perception.

  69. Anonymous says:

    @ vukmanić and mr. black – spot on

  70. Anonymous says:

    kovacic and brekalo are shit, why does dalic refuse to play orsic

  71. Anonymous says:

    Dare I say it

    Bring back Rakitic and Mandzukic

  72. Slavonac from Canada says:

    As much as I’d like Rakitic and Mandzukic, I think that would send a very bad message to the savez and all it’s players.

  73. BZ says:

    Hmm I read things like:

    “Why play him (Petkovic) when we don’t absolutely need him.” –Because he is the only other striker, other than Mandzukic,to show he can gel with our core starters

    “This lineup is looks good lets see what happens” –No, no it didn’t. If Petkovic was available, he should have played. Brekalo is Brekalo. That backline looks sad, but even our backline with Vrsaljko at WC’18 would have looked sad, had Dalic started Kramaric over Mandzukic or Rebic.

    Then others saying I should be banned from this site for suggesting Pjaca is better than Bum Budimir at CF.

    “Dalic bungled this transition!”–
    This should never have been considered a transition period. The only key player to retire was Mandzukic, Dalic and the whole country should have begged for his return. Flattery works! Same thing now for Rakitic.

    Let’s talk about the 8,000 pound gorillas in the room. I’ve been clear in my positions about “winning” soccer for 2 years:

    1)We are an average team without our high press, and big wings. We will never sustain high level success without guys like Perisic and Rebic on the wings.

    2)Why is it so hard for everyone to call out Brekalo when he has a bad game? Today he looked like shit again. He doesn’t play our brand of winning soccer. Sure he might find a nut and score against shit teams, and or good teams resting their starters, but he isn’t our “brand”. This starting stretch of his has been one of our worst stretches since…forever.

    3)Petkovic should be given the confidence to know he is our starting CF, or at worst, our clear #2 behind Kramaric.

    4)Many don’t remember how pathetic we all felt after the Peru game in Miami before the World Cup.
    Then the Rebic Revelation happened a few days later, when we beat Mexico on Mexico’s home turf (Texas)! Everything was clear, and the rest is history. Ask Frankfurt, and AC Milan if Rebic didn’t turn their clubs around, cause they both had Rebic Revelations too. Brekalo should be given a shot…at RB. He could have honed his skill at RB by now.

  74. Maminjo says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think France clinched the group.

    Since this is a UEFA competition (and not FIFA), It goes head-to-head instead of goal differential.

    France got a win and draw against Portugal, and even if Portugal beats us, the best they can do it tie France on points (but the tie breaker is their head to head record, which France won).

  75. Crotown says:

    Been saying it since World Cup- Dalic out and a foreign coach in – maybe somebody Italian close to Croatia but not politically connected with HNS- this is horrible – unacceptable play- we can’t do anything with this coaching and players – there is zero team defence and recognition of what should happen when we don’t have the ball- I’m sure Dalic doesn’t understand defense – times up- looking for a coaching change soon

  76. Maminjo says:

    @Mr. Black

    It doesn’t matter what a bunch of frogs think.

    Based on what we’ve seen from Caleta-Car lately, he’s been good for us. Bradaric too. We need to see more of that, and they are both young and will develop.

    Lovren and Vida were good for us at the World Cup, but a lot of that was also the support they had in front of them in Brozovic, Modric, and Rakitic.

    We have been leaking goals because we’ve been experimenting with Kovacic, Pasalic, Rog, Badelj, and a bunch of random midfielders who can’t hold a candle to Brozovic, Modric and Raketa when it comes to defending.
    Plus, we’ve been completely rotating our backline every single game (partly due to injury, and partly due to experimentation).

    Today’s tactics were also wrong. We didn’t press at all, and decided to give Sweden possession (as we sat back hoping for the draw.) This is the opposite of what gave Dalic success at the World Cup. He had the personnel to press and create, but he chose to play it safe to remain in League A.
    This game actually reminded me of the time when Bilic tried to get the 0-0 draw in Greece to qualify for Euro2012…then it backfired and we lost 2-0.

    We can’t play for the draw. It’s always hurt us.

  77. Iggy says:

    LOL nice start to the video with Abba there Ante!

  78. Slavonac from Canada says:

    I ask myself…”why do we look so disorganized, disinterested and without any real plan”?

    Sure, we really miss Brozovic and I also think Kovacic is playing without any real understanding of his role. We then look at our outside backs and neither of them can really add any creativity or make a decent cross . ( the only reason I ever mention Melnjak as any type of solution is because he actually has a motor snd he keeps on pushing up snd delivering decent balls).

    Players like our new star Vlasic disappear far too often when he plays for us. In my opinion, his real quality is his goals…he has a good knack for scoring BUT I really haven’t yet seen him play a great overall game for us.

    Petkovic- from what I hear about the guys, he has some real attitude issues that prevent him from becoming a consistent good performer. This is why I think he’s getting benched at his club snd with the National team at times.

    Uremovic looks afraid to play. I feel like he doesn’t believe in himself…he goes backwards 95% of them time.

    Caleta Car will only get better with more ownership of his position, I hope he’s mentally strong snd can rise to the role!

    Perisic turned it up a notch in the second half and it’s always the same story with him. He can change the outcome of any game…he has abilities most people only dream of snd he can’t score in many different ways!

    Budimir – looks like a nice guy but he lacks talent, he lacks the nose for goal snd he’s probably been given a raw deal playing with the crappy service today.

    Brekalo is a tricky player but in my opinion, he needs to be more effective, more often.

    A lot of the team environment and playing style depends on Dalic. He’s been failing miserably lately snd I’m tired of waiting to see him with his experiments. He had to face reality and understand that the team’s performances are his performances!

  79. Anonymous says:

    “What did Vlasic do?”

    I didn’t watch the game but could it have been that 23yr old Vlasic did what prime Modric and Mandzukic did in ’16 against Portugal, in a game that wasn’t meaningless?

    “I guess this generation is simply overrated.”

    Would you say the generation before was overrated before they did something in Russia?

    Most of you guys suffer from recency bias and seem to have forgotten how long it took the so called “golden generation” to actually reach the heights of losing a final.

    “Bring back Rakitic and Mandzukic.”

    It’s time to get rid of the old blokes that wont be around for Croatia’s next run not bring the old blokes like Mandzukic and Rakitic back. Mandzukic retired on the high of losing a final, scoring a lucky goal to go with his own goal in a losing final, a lot of players would love to retire on the high note of losing a final.

    Croatia has never won a title, let that sink in.

  80. Slavonac from Canada says:

    *** I meant to say Perisic can score in many different ways! ( either foot, long distance or short distance, head, dribble, one on one…

  81. Maminjo says:

    We can’t know how good this generation is until we see them in a tournament.

    Tournament results are everything.

    There are no distractions with club commitments and (more importantly) there are no experiments.

    If they botch the Euros and World Cup, then we can say they’re overrated… but some of these guys have impressed with what little time they’ve been given.

    The problem has been this revolving door of players, many experiments, and too many of these “role player” types playing at the same time.

    We got away with a “Strinić” at the last World Cup… But we’ve been playing a collection of these kinds of players in Rog, Badelj, Barišić, Melnjak, Juranović… Many of them at the same time.
    It’s difficult to beat talented teams like France and Portugal when you’re fielding even one weak link. We’ve been playing at least two or three in these Nations League games (with experiments on top of that).

  82. Anonymous says:

    Where would this site be without Maminjo?

  83. Pero says:

    Was that you Maminjo 😛

  84. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Maminjo, I agree they need time but at the same time, we should be able to see when there is potential snd when there isn’t! I’m still hopeful Vlasic and Brekalo will turn out like you think they will. Caleta Car looks like a confident player but what about the rest of these newer additions?

  85. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    Kovačić single-handedly cost us one goal. The other conceded goal was just a very well-executed corner kick play, which we should expect to have to deal with every game. More troubling was the inability to create offense. Why was Uremović one of our most-involved forward pressers? Where were Budimir, Brekalo, and Vlašić? Why do Barisič and Kovačić not move the ball more forward more often? Why was nobody getting open off the ball to receive from Modrić? I’d rather see a bunch of full-throttle “second-string” players make it interesting than what we saw today…

  86. Anonymous says:

    That’s what happens when 2 dalmatincis dissect a bad loss like that hahaha

    Very funny Ante and Frane

    Classic stuff

    Not sure about you guys letting Dalic off the hook sooo easily

  87. BEĆAR says:

    Will we ever have a goalie that can make great saves? The first goal needed to be saved. Maybe even the second.

  88. Mali Ante says:

    Aside from Kovacic (who is not a DM and never will be) everyone one else was basically the best from what we have.

    We miss Brozo terribly….he is very key for us given our weak back line and we don’t have a suitable replacement for him.

    I saw bits of the game today in the first half…Sweden took it to us. Bad tactics but it’s less on on Dalic and more about the facts. We are missing KEY players in Rebic, Brozovic, Vrsaljko and Kramaric who would start hands down if they were healthy.

    It is what it is boys. We aren’t a deep team and losing those guys decimates us. Not to mention Sweden is a very good team. Remember they knocked Italy out from qualifying from the WC.

    Lastly, these 3 games in a short timeframe (like the last set of games) isn’t good for us with our lack of quality depth and our injuries. Dalic has to balance out those three games in 7 days and not start our best lineup every game.

    You will see Bradaric next game guaranteed.

  89. Anonymous says:

    Too many people taking it easy on Liga

    He is not our answer to suba

    Is Kova too Christian to succeed in the cut throat world of professional football

    He is too soft

    Something not right with him mentally

    He needs to be dropped from our squad completely

    The experiments are over now

  90. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    @ Iggy,

    ABBA was for you baby! 🙂

    @ All,

    France clinched top spot today with their win. Portugal are locked into the 2nd spot. We have the tiebreaker with Sweden since we’ve scored more goals than they have. We only need to match their result on Tuesday to stay in League A.

    Alright, Ive cooled off a bit. I just hate when our guys aren’t playing at 100% or to their strengths. Here goes my logic.

    UEFA Nations League sucks. Even if that game was to top the group, whatever. We didn’t up any superstar player injuries but it looks like Uremovic pulled his hammy in the 40′.

    How can these guys (Modric, Perisic, Kovacic) get up for a game like this when they have their clubs in their ears to take it easy? It’s an already super condensed season due to COVID. September to December is slammed with games, especially if you’re in CL/EL.

    They really should of just pushed back Nations League. It’s crazy that these players have to play 3 games in 8 days.

    I really didn’t see much throttle from our team today from the opening whistle, whether that was tactics or the players only playing at 70%.

    We have the goods and we will see that come to fruition in June. Sure, I’m trying to justify the situation but we just didn’t look good.

    What if Dalic threw in the towel for Nations League a long time ago? What if he’s trying to keep players fresh and told them to chill today? We’ll know the answer on Tuesday when we see the lineup vs. Portugal. But I don’t expect Modric or Perisic to play more than 45 minutes.

  91. Anonymous says:

    I meant liva not Liga

  92. BEĆAR says:

    Let’s stop using Club teams as an excuse please. EVERY National teams’ players play club soccer.

  93. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    Let’s hope we see some drive the next game…

  94. Maminjo says:


    Remember… We need to replace Mandžo, Rakitić, Subašić, Strinić, and one (maybe both) of Vida & Lovren.

    We have them already in Kramarić/Petković, Vlašić, Livaković, Bradarić, and Ćaleta-Car.

    We already figured this out in qualifying, when guys like Vlašić, Petković, Livaković and Ćaleta-Car were playing for us. Bradarić is the more recent addition that looks like he’ll grab that LB spot.

    The rest of the Nations League games were just a mishmash of unlikely experimentation with the remaining “role player” types. Personally, I think most of this was a waste of time but maybe Dalić needed that extra confirmation that these guys can’t cut it (I dunno).

    Guys like Rog, Kovačić, Pašalić, Melnjak, Juranović, Badelj… Just don’t cut it as starters.

    Guys like Moro, Majer, Bistrović, Toma Bašić, Pongračić, Brekalo, Bradarić, Ćaleta-Car… Are the only ones that we should be evaluating as potential starters for the future, and most of these guys have impressed with our senior team, U21 team, and club teams.

    We are erroneously associating these losses with our future generation of players.
    It’s not true.
    The goals that we’ve been leaking in these past two games have been the fault of Badelj, Melnjak, Juranović, and Kovačić (off the top of my head).
    None of these guys are our future.

    If we start leaking goals because of Vlašić, Moro, Bradarić, Ćaleta-Car, etc… Then we can worry about the future.

  95. Slavonac from Canada says:

    I hope you’re right Maminjo! You do make some sense but we’ve never seen all those guys on the squad at the same time.

  96. Maminjo says:

    One weak link can completely mess up the game for us…
    and we’ve been consistently playing with 2-3 weak links in the lineup in these UNL games.

    Today’s weaknesses were Kovačić (who was essentially asked to be a fifth defender, which doesn’t suit him) and having BOTH Uremović and Barišić in the fullback position (with neither being an offensive threat on the wings).

    We chose not to press, and we had weak personnel to spring any sort of counter attack.
    Even if we had just subbed in Bradarić out there, there would have been some sort of connection between our defensive and offensive players… But we chose to give Sweden the ball, allow them to gather themselves with no pressure, and didn’t field too many offensive weapons (other than our actual forwards). We pretty much just kept punting long balls.

    Even against a team like Sweden, if you field too many stop gap players (especially in roles that don’t suit them or the tactics) you’ll lose.

    We badly needed Brozović for this type of game. Kovačić already proved to us (multiple times) that he cannot play this role. We should’ve at least given Bašić a half since he actually plays this role in France and is much more offensively capable than Kovačić. Bradarić should have come on after seeing how terribly Barišić was doing with those crosses.
    Just those two changes alone would have probably given us what we needed to play the counter.

  97. Anonymous says:

    Livakovic was definitely our best player, and I’m happy he continues to play well in games where nobody else is giving a shit.

    Our team is great on paper, and I’m tired of people saying that it’s not. We have a LOT of talent. What we lack is direction and work ethic. It’s way too early to say that Dalic should be sacked, but I’m losing confidence in him quickly. Croatia has had a TERRIBLE 2020, and if we don’t do well in the euros it’s time to hire a more experienced, high-level coach.

  98. Crotown says:

    Anonymous- one more loss and I’m sure you will all wagons will circle to sack Dalic- he can’t coach defensive play at all- time to go

  99. Crotown says:

    How can these guys put Croatian uniform and play luck such bums- its an embarrassment

  100. BEĆAR says:


    You have lots of interesting opinions on most players. What are your thoughts on Livakovic? I’m not sold….

  101. Maminjo says:

    Watch us win the Euros now lol

  102. Maminjo says:


    I dunno.

    Livaković seems like he has good reflexes, but I’m not sure about him either.

    He’s seems like he’s good at reacting to shots that are within an arm’s reach of him, but I’ve seen him botch a few easy ones too.

    I don’t recall ever seeing him come out to clear any crosses or corners. Maybe I’m not paying attention and he is, I dunno. He’s kind of short for a keeper, so that could be why.

    I can definitely see him having that ‘kiks’ factor that all Croatian goalkeepers are born with.
    But we’re stuck with him for a while. Not sure if Grbić or Sluga are any better.

  103. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Maminjo….this cracked me up:

    “ I can definitely see him having that ‘kiks’ factor that all Croatian goalkeepers are born with.”


  104. Romi says:

    Dalic needs to know that you cannot play a midfield of modric kovacic vlasic he played that afew times and it didnt work need a dm to have modrics back i know broz was missed very much. But i have a hard time with dalic selections as of late Orisic is in form for dinamo doesnt get chance was best player vs turkey. Why not call sunjic who is pysical.player or basic who is a dm. Or next time nikola moro krovinovic.

    I know most dont like Rog but hes a dm who has lungs and can back track so for me

    Livakovic dosnt come off his line and that’s his biggest problem

    Barisic not good meljnak is better than him bradaric needs a shot cant be worse

    Oour center back are young need to learn id rather caleta kicks whos 23 than vida lovren who are 32 and over 50 caps

    Midfield need a dm im sorry when broz isnt there we suck modric is 35+ Kovacic no comment

    Napad wont judge it because we have no cf budimir is good but didnt get balls in to him like vs turkey

    Rebic and his aggressive play really was missed aswell

    In conclusion no panic mode yet we are small nation and dont have a b team if 1 2 players are out we feel it on pitch
    As for Dalic he is a stuburn hercegovac never forget 2018 but time to move on from stare zasluge idemo vatreni

  105. Soul Champ says:

    Dalic replaced a dysfunctional situation three years ago and brought a baseline of stability for our world class players to shine.

    Unfortunately he seems to be behind the curve of evolution with this pool of players.

    His plans seem dull and like dynamic intent.

    It’s shame how we can’t have a world class coach to add the 12th man to matches.

    Other top teams have better coaches.

    There seems to be some sort of group think at HNS that lacks innovation with the national team set up.

    We can invent the Rimac electric sports car but we can’t take our collective talent to produce a result at Sweden?

    This is a full time project for Dalic.

    The players work for their clubs and come in a few times a year for Croatia.

    Have the plan put place for them to be successful.

  106. Mail Ante says:

    I see a lot of people all over Dalic. The truth is with the number of quality players we have out, we don’t have good enough replacements. Our U21 possibilities would help some but regardless of tactics the players have to perform. From what I’ve read and saw on highlights it was a toothless performance.

    As side from that playing three games in such a short time with our current lack of depth isn’t helping.

    When we are back to full strength and can field Rebic to press, Brozo to solidify the midfield, replace Bradaric with Barisic to get some attack from our fullback and Vrsaljko at RB, Krama to be our striker (although not ideal for him) we will be a COMPLETELY different team.

    All of sudden we have Brekalo off the bench among others.

    We do need to figure out our central defenders but I think the Caleta Car Pongracic combo will
    be good for us with Gvardiol waiting in the wings.

    We are beat up and lacking quality depth and it’s killing us right now.

  107. Maminjo says:


    Hey man. It’s true.

    The day we get an above average goalkeeper, is the day we go on to win multiple World Cups.

  108. BEĆAR says:

    For the record, I’ve never played any significant level of soccer. I played youth soccer until I was about 16 and enjoy men’s (beer) league as well. I’ve also been coaching youth soccer for the last 15 years.

    The goalie situation bothers me more than anything else. Conceding an early or weak goal over and over again destroys the teams psyche. I’ve seen it a million times when my team is competing hard and our goalie fluffs one. Shoulders drop and confidence plummets. Before you know it, you’re no longer playing your game. You’re overcompensating for the poor goaltending. What makes it worse is the fact that more than any major professional team sport, one goal changes how the other team plays the rest of the game making it even harder to score.

    Until we resolve our situation between the posts, we will be severely hampered.

  109. Split says:

    You guys are lost. Too many excuses are being made. No silver lining here. Next year at Euros this team will not advance past the group stages. Call it for what it is.

  110. Maminjo says:

    @Mali Ante

    Yea, I also am not too concerned.

    We actually DO have good depth, but in these UNL games…it’s been thinned out significantly due to injuries to key starters (Rebic, Krama, Vrsaljko, Brozovic) and the fact that our most talented younger prospects are still being used for our U21s and/or are slowly being integrated simply because the are new to the team (Bradaric, Basic, Moro, Majer, Bistrovic, Pongracic).

    We’ve been playing a LOT of end-of-the-squad caliber guys, some who won’t even make the team. Guys like Badelj, Rog, Melnjak, Uremovic, Barisic, Pasalic, Budimir, Juranovic…have been playing 90-minute games, many of them at the same time. (and many of them out of position). Half these guys won’t even make the Euro squad. The other half would be lucky to get off the bench.

    The only forwards and midfielders who will start (or play any significant minutes) at these Euros are:
    Kramaric, Petkovic, Vlasic, Modric, Brozovic, Perisic, Rebic, and Brekalo (with two of this group coming off the bench).

    I don’t think Kovacic plays significant minutes at these Euros (probably will play the same role as last World Cup), and even a guy like Pasalic probably doesn’t play at all, other than as an injury time sub.

    These two guys have been playing ALOT for us these UNL games, and probably won’t even feature much at the Euros. On top of this, we’ve been playing Badelj, Rog, etc. Guys who would be lucky to be on the team at the Euros.

    The only concern would be our backline and goalkeeping, which is still a work-in-progress…but we’re making ground here.

    Caleta-Car is likely starting at the Euros, partnering with one of our vets (unless Pongracic gets into form). Bradaric and Vrsaljko would be a huge boost on the flanks.

    However, I do agree with Slavonac’s sentiment that all this losing could affect the team. These guys aren’t going out to try and lose. Also, I’m not sure if this benefits Livakovic mentally either. He’s one of our potential weaknesses this tournament, and we’re just using him for target practice in these games.

  111. BEĆAR says:


    This team will advance past the group stages at the Euros.

  112. Oluja says:

    Ladies, chill out. We stil control our own destiny and you read it here first, we will beat the pork chops Tuesday. That will then only leave Brazil and “France” as the old two big boys left that we have not beat (yet).

    These Nations league games don’t have the same “must win” tension that our boys thrive on. Make no mistake, come Euros we will take care of business.

    PS Rejoice ladies, for the Serbs aren’t going to Euro..20 years of failure to qualify, sucks to be those losers.

  113. Pero says:

    Maminjo you know your footy but you are delusional if you think having Oblak in net for us would transform us into a World Cup titlist.
    Final 8 in the euros is our best hope …semis if ALL OF THE STARS ALIGN.
    Try being objective and honesty look at our best 11 compared to France Portugal Italy England Spain.
    What knowledgeable impartial fan would pick our squad?
    Not many,other than a few delusional Croats.

  114. Maminjo says:


    I highly doubt we get eliminated in the first round, by falling behind both Scotland AND Czech.
    We are going to be in the Round of 16 whether you like it or not.

    It’s just making sure that our guys are healthy and ready to compete once the knockout rounds happen.

    We have the midfielders and forwards to compete with the best. I listed them above and, yes, objectively speaking they ARE better than (for example) Italy’s forwards and midfield (which you mentioned above).

    The biggest concern for me is our goalkeeping and our backline.

    Vrsaljko and Bradaric would give us so much on the flank, that has been missing with guys like Barisic and Uremovic filling in.
    We look like we should be okay with our CB pairing. I think Caleta-Car solidified his starting position, and at worst, we’ll have a Lovren/Caleta-Car partnership (which should hopefully be on par with what we had two years ago).

    We won’t know what we are going to have back there until a few months before the tournament…if and when Vrsaljko comes back from his long injury…if and when Bradaric gets to play minutes at LB so he can solidify his spot…if and when Pongracic is at full fitness to challenge for Lovren’s CB spot.

    Our midfield and fowards are easily on par with the Italys and the Englands…but it’s just whether or not we will be able to field a quality back four, with both capable defensive & offensive ability, along with a gaffe-free goalkeeper.

    I think if we see Bradaric next game at LB, it’s a good sign that Dalic wants to see him there. I like that we’ve been seeing Pongracic at CB (despite not being fully fit).
    I like that Caleta-Car has been the standard pick for CB in all our games lately.

    Just gotta hope for the best with Vrsaljko’s health, and that Dalic picks the right CB pairing and Bradaric at LB.

    If we have to roll out a starting back four of Barisic, Vida, Lovren, and Uremovic for the Euros…we’ll be severely limited offensively, and it will be a lot tougher for us.

  115. Poglavnik says:

    You forgot Germany Belgium and Holland.

  116. Poglavnik says:

    Who again are our Kane Sterling and Rashford? Who’s our Immobile?
    Half our team are scrubs playing for 2nd and 3rd tier teams.

  117. Maminjo says:


    So you’re saying that Modric, Brozovic, Vlasic, Perisic, Rebic and Kramaric can’t take on the players that Italy, Holland, England and Germany have? Really?

    So you’re saying that Jorginho, Immobile and umm..I dunno, Insigne (I guess) easily top Modric, Brozovic and Rebic?

    Jorginho lost his starting spot last year to Mateo f’n Kovacic. LOL. Sramota.

  118. Zivot says:

    Keep the faith Maminjo.

  119. Poglavnik says:

    I see Italy Holland Germany and Belgium with big wins. Back line and keeper are 3rd rate.
    I like your argument about judging us in tourneys. I dont get too up and down with poor results because it happens too often.

  120. Pero says:

    Final 16 yes maybe ….final 8 hopefully…final 4 I’ll be ecstatic but it’s not happening!
    NO TEAM goes far in a tournament with a defense as talent barren shaky and in flux as ours.
    Even the Greeks who Yanked a rabbit out of their arse in their euro triumph had a back 4 that was set and consistent in the 2 years prior to the Euros.
    I’m not even going to mention our inconsistent keeper.
    You pricks can babble on and on about Vlasic brekalo brozovic and the king 🤴Luka but it’s not enough with our PISS POOR DEFENSE!!

  121. BZ says:

    I agree that our depth is a problem. We go from top tier to below average really quickly.

    This site has way too many young gun fanboys. Vlasic is our only new revelation in the last 2 years.

    Ps- Vlasic wasn’t that bad vs Sweden, just Dalic’s counter strategy made everyone look bad. Modric and Vlasic only to who created in the midfield, albeit way lessthan usual.

  122. Maminjo says:

    This conversation sounds a lot like the conversation we all had a few months before World Cup 2018.

  123. ElviSS says:

    Didn’t Rakitic say once if he had a child and he chose Spain he would be proud?

  124. Slavonac from Canada says:

    I couldn’t imagine any kid with the last name Rakitic, taking Spain over Croatia. Most men I know follow their dads bloodline more than their moms.

  125. Anonymous says:

    Juan Pablo Krilanovich Croatian-Argentine

  126. Anonymous says:

    Boys relax

    We perform only when we need to

    It’s the Croatian way

    There is no other way

    A foreign coach would not work

    The players would rebel especially when he can’t sing a Thompson or a Grdovic song

    Liven up you pussies

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