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Croatians Around Europe XXV: The Calm Before The Storm

March 21, 2021



Vatreni players are officially on international break with Croatia facing Slovenia this Wednesday in World Cup qualifying.



Luka Modrić had a fantastic week. He was voted Champions League “Player of the Week”, helping Real Madrid cruise past Atalanta and into the CL quarterfinals – where they will meet Liverpool. During Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday, Modrić received an 8/10 rating and played the full match: “Modrić was at the heart of every Real Madrid move. He helped Los Blancos get out of press on numerous occasions in the first half and carried his team forward. His xGbuildup of 1.38, per, shows how influential he was in Real Madrid’s buildup.” Real Madrid are chasing another Champions League crown but remain six points behind Atletico in the La Liga race.



Domagoj Vida



Domagoj Vida scored the lone goal for Besiktas in a 1-1 draw vs. Fenerbahce. He headed home a free kick with his back to goal to open up the scoring. Fenerbahce would level late to split the points. With he draw, Besiktas sit first place in Turkey; three points above Galatasaray.



Vida Goal 



Brozović and Perišić



Croatia was hit with a minor blow ahead of the international break as the Inter Milan match was called off this weekend due to a COVID outbreak on the team. It is being reported that both Ivan Perišić and Marcelo Brozović will not be able to join the Vatreni this week because of UEFA protocol. However, that can change in the next 48 hours. On top of that, Ante Rebić has been ruled out with a muscle injury. AC Milan defeated Fiorentina 3-2 on Sunday and trail 1st place Inter by six points now.



It was a relatively quiet week for Croatians in club play. Mateo Kovačić got the start and played all 90 minutes in Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup quarterfinal victory over Sheffield United. They will play Manchester City next. Kovacic received an 8/10 as “he was a real mis-match in midfield as the brilliant Croatian ran the show against the team at the bottom of the Premier League. His silky play, strength on and off the play and reading of the game were simply too good for the visitors.”



Andrej Kramarić has cooled off at Hoffenheim in a 2-1 loss vs. Mainz. Josip Brekalo got another start at Wolfsburg in a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen.


Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 42 comments

  1. Soul Champ says:

    footballitalia (@footballitalia) Tweeted:
    Dinamo Zagreb star Mislav Orsic eliminated Tottenham from the Europa League with a hat-trick and his agent reveals he is ‘in contact with several clubs’ for a return to Italy #Spezia #DinamoZagreb #THFC #UEL

    This dude is the goods.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Looks like another roller coaster
    Qualification campaign. No Rebic
    Bronzo or Peri

  3. Eric says:

    What happened to Rebic?

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Eric says:

    Jebiga. Three key players missing…but I would miss Broz the most. He allows Modric to do his magic offensively.

  6. Maminjo says:

    We have depth at these positions.

    The problem has been the experimentation in these positions.
    For example, when we played France in Nations League we started Pašalić on the wing (over a true wing in Oršić).
    Losing both starting wings is bad… But we have guys like Oršić and Brekalo who can provide good cover for Perišić and Rebić. Should be good enough to handle the competition. Kovačić starting in our midfield (in place of Brozović) worries me alot more.

  7. Kristijan Lovric is a decent and underrated winger too that has been called up as Rebic’s replacement. Orsic and Brekalo are the likely starters, but I think he can do a job if needed. Maybe we start Kramaric or Vlasic on the wing with Petkovic up top or maybe we try two up top. Game is not long from now. I took a day off from work for it, hopefully it’s not a wasted day off. I’m pretty optimistic we can get 3 out of 3 wins if the team is up for the games.

  8. Eric says:

    @Maminjo: I would have been worried in the past, but Kova is playing well now, and is full of confidence. I think he will be OK.

  9. Anonymous says:

    badelj should replace brozovic

  10. Dannyj says:

    Well for sure orsic and brekalo gonna get time now
    Hopefully we get these injuries out the way before euro

    Speaking of, are they gonna do it without fans?

  11. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    I may be named Doom, but there is no reason to call the qualifying campaign a bust. The squad that plays against Slovenia will not be our absolute A squad, but it will be an excellent side, nevertheless. Badelj is the logical replacement for Brozović if Dalić keep the usual formation. Orsić should take Perisić’s spot after he showed the world what he can do on the left wing. The right wing should be either Kovacić or Vlasić, in my opinion, as Brekalo has not been very strong for us. I can envision Pasalić or Kramarić as the 10 role, with Petković or Kramarić in the 9 role. That would be a pretty difficult team to beat… The matches against Cyprus and Malta are going to be the Dario Melnjak show. 😉

  12. Maminjo says:

    No reason why we shouldn’t be winning all three games.
    But if we see a Lovren/Vida CB pairing (with Kovačić in front of them), get ready for some leaky goal performances just like in the UNL.
    Modrić (again) will have to play as a defender to overcompensate for the three of them.

  13. CiganJeCigan says:

    FYI, no perisic, brozovic, or rebic!
    now that brozo is out i think dalic will choose kova. if we were in this situation like 2 years ago i would choose badelj over kova, but at this moment kova is better. keep in mind we are playing shitty bunker teams so these newer players might be a blessing in disguise. if everyone was fit and rdy to play we would win 5-0 all three games. also, slovenia is bad, them and montenegro r probably the two worst former yug teams. ilicic will play, but he offers nothing defensively. he is tall, slow, no stamina, and always complains. he will have no one to link up with and it will be like we’re playing against 10 men.
    Actually having decent fullbacks in barisic and vrsaljko will be huge for us and we will play much more composed and better shape. as opposed to last time when we were stuck with like melnjak and juranovic, who got caught on the counter multiple times

  14. CiganJeCigan says:

    Squad i think dalic will go with
    Subs: brekalo, pasalic, budimir

  15. Eric says:

    Is Vrsaljko fit?
    I don’t watch Atletico often, but I when I do, I haven’t seen Šime on the pitch lately.

  16. Maminjo says:

    Apparently, Iličić is paranoid about COVID and he fell into serious depression over the past year.
    Dalić should game plan for this, and get our sickest looking player (i.e. Vida) to shadow him (with an occasional cough or two).

  17. The Great Anonymous Doom says:

    ^ Hah! Good one!

  18. Anonymous says:


    no way Budimir looks way more ill

  19. Anonymous says:

    Modric looks sick also.

  20. Anonymous says:

    “If whites unite, they are going butcher all of us!”

  21. Dannyj says:

    Cigan that’s a solid lineup
    Considering three main starters out
    We finally have the depth we hadn’t had for so long

  22. gbvh says:


    Commentators during Atleti games have been saying that Vrsajko not really playing these days because he was bumped by the return of Trippier (that guy who scored early against Croatia at WC2018 and acted like the won the game. 😀)

  23. gbvh says:

    Real yesterday,

    Luka Modric — 8: Played the full 90 minutes and was a life-line in the midfield as usual. Linked up well with Benzema, Vazquez and Kroos to drive Madrid towards victory. Finished with one shot, one dribble, one key pass and on aerial won.

    Marca (top spot of all Real players): Real Madrid’s affirmative first half display was largely down to the control Modric and Kroos had in midfield. In the Croatian’s case, his work on and off the ball was valuable. He joined the press to good effect at times.

  24. gbvh says:

    Then there is that trash espnfc, dudes are clueless. (When Leipzig besy Man U in Champions League their headline read “STUNNING” …. even though if you actually checked, Leipzig was favoured in the game. Just make it a PL site, clowns:

    MF Luka Modric, 6 — Not at his imperial best, Modric looks like he needs a rest. A shot well over the bar in the second half summed up his afternoon. Unlucky to be booked for a supposed late foul on Renato Tapia.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Don’t see anything official on Broz and Perisic?

  26. gbvh says:

    Anyone know for sure that game Wednesday will be on

  27. Markus says:

    If it isn’t you can look up and find the game there

  28. Poglavnik says:

    All I see on UEFA.TV is 3 of our upcoming U21 matches that will be on. Portugal (25th), Switzerland (28th) and England (31st).

  29. Razbijač says:

    We should win all 3 games. And we gotta pull the ole Cap’N Trap on K. Lovrič!

  30. Z says:

    Domagoj Vida puts Besitkas up 1 in the 48th. Dude just keeps rolling along.

  31. Dannyj says:

    Vida is still hungry and still scores Croatian goal of the year

    Hesgoal I find is a good streaming site
    But I agree uefa is smooth as silk and not in Arabic;)

  32. Z says:

    Can we officially give up on Stipe Perica yet or is it too early? Riding the bench at Watford. I thought he was going to be really good.

  33. Markus says:

    Dude, he’s 25. People are talking about Kova being a bust yet he won POTY for Chelsea and is consistently putting up amazing performances for club. And he’s pretty much same age as Stipe. There are better and younger players who will be studs and soon enough you’ll forget about him hahah.

  34. Mr. Black says:

    Apparently Wolfsburg won’t allow Brekalo to join the Croatian national team in Slovenia because the Covid situation in Slovenia is terrible.
    After Rebic, Perisic, Brozovic… now Brekalo.

  35. Dannyj says:

    This is crazy
    Still we can beat these teams
    I was going to say they will probably be missing guys
    But I can’t imagine other teams have the international guys we have

    Luckily on paper these are our easier games
    Brekalo. Tell Wolfsburg to pound sand

    So safe to say no fans at euro cup

  36. BEĆAR says:

    Luka Sucic will miss the U21 games due to injury. Too bad……

  37. Maminjo says:

    @Mr. Black
    Brekalo will tell Wolfsburg to go fuck themselves, like he did the last time they tried to tell him what to do, lol.
    I’d be surprised if he didn’t join the team.

  38. Maminjo says:

    No fans at the Euros?
    Maybe. It depends what the vaccine lobby groups and paid off government officials wanna play it.
    They want to lock things down, but lock down too much and it could have an adverse effect to the end goal.
    The goal is the big cash prize of perpetual COVID vaccines (several times a year) for every adult in the world, with a COVID passport to govern it.
    It’s incredibly lucrative, but there is a lot of general animosity toward governments and how they’ve been handling this. It could ruin the goal.
    You need to slow burn this, so people are grateful for the vaccines and don’t see them as the cause of their lives being restricted (and to ensure that those who do not vaccine are seen as the enemy).
    I think there may be fans for the Euros, but vaccinated ones only. There will still be restrictions on amount of fans and will still require masks and other measures…but it could happen.
    😉 😉 😉

  39. Poglavnik says:

    The Club World Cup in Qatar had testing onsite before you pick up your ticket. You get swabbed, wait in a giant room with dozens of others then get texted in about 20 mins with your result. If you’re clean you go pick up your ticket. Not sure what happens to your ticket if you test positive though. Maybe you get reimbursed?

  40. Maminjo says:

    Yea, I think that’s the main issue with those rapid tests, and the whole process of testing people at the entrance of any venue or airport gate.
    What do you do if someone tests positive?
    I guess you can’t let them in the venue, flight, etc… But it just causes a huge issue with having to isolate them for two weeks (and anyone they’ve been in close contact with), along with ticket cancelation (and any other cancelations of flights, accommodations, etc over the next two weeks as they isolate).
    I don’t think anyone wants this. It might be just one of those “accepted risks” where you show a recent negative PCR test and whatever, you’re good to go.

  41. Soul Champ says:

    Mateo Kovacic 7

    He was everywhere, winning the ball and keeping play moving. Tireless performance.

    Kovačić has been playing great with Tuchel’s Chelsea.

    Luka Modrić is the best nogometaš of all time and happens to be an all purpose CM.

    If you drop that comparison.

    You see Kovačić as a solid CL level #8 who has improved defensively and needs to add more aggressive goal scoring moments to his game.

    He played great against Portugal and Atletico Madrid. Two of the toughest midfields on the planet.

    I am actually looking forward to seeing him shine against SLOvenjia. Malta and Cyprus ? He could actually be rested to rotate the team and give others a look.

    I understand the standards that Luka the Legend had set.

    But he did reach his Balon D’or best in his 30’s.

    Once again I pray for a world class performance by Kovačić this Wednesday.

    Kek will have something solid deployed and we need Kovačić to be the X factor.

  42. Soul Champ says:

    “all depends on the latest round of swabs and if all the tests come back negative, the ATS of Milan will let Romelu Lukaku and the other international stars travel.

    The federations have sent a request to the local health authority for the return of their players, with Croatia being the first country to ask for permission to let Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic leave.”

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