Before recent major tournaments, Croatia has dealt with a looming distraction or notable injury that caused major concern. Ivica Olić’s injury before Euro 2012 was considered a major loss at the time. It was also Slaven Bilić’s last tournament, which was a sad moment for many fans. Before the World Cup in 2014, nobody knew what to expect from the largely inexperienced Niko Kovač. Not having Mario Mandzukic available for the opening match against Brazil and Sammir’s unwelcoming presence were also unfortunate disturbances.
With subdued expectations following an uneven qualifying campaign, it seemed like Croatia could finally enter a tournament without any major commotion. That quickly changed following Croatia’s lackluster 1-1 draw against Hungary last March. After warming up for 15 minutes, Dejan Lovren decided to go back on the bench during the second half. The fitness coach told Ante Čačić, who was outraged by Lovren’s decision. That incident led to Čačić needlessly revealing his anger to the media.
Before anyone formulates an opinion about either side, this needs to be remembered at all times. No manager should publicly criticize any of his players. It causes unrest in the locker room, where players can begin to lose confidence in the manager. Trust and belief can also diminish from the entire squad. In this particular situation, you can argue that most players never trusted or believed in Čačić. Regardless of Croatia’s current problems, this disagreement shouldn’t have been publicized.
Although Bilić had issues with Danijel Pranjić and Josip Simunic, he never openly bashed them. Bilic remained calm and moved on like a true professional. Criticizing a player to the media hadn’t gone well for recent managers of the national team. Following a 2-1 win over Wales, Igor Stimac called out Milan Badelj for a poor performance rather than praise the comeback victory. Besides switching formations for nearly every qualifying match, Stimac didn’t do himself any favors with that statement. After disappointing results against Azerbaijan and Norway, Kovac questioned their overall effort. That sparked a response from the usually quiet Luka Modric.
Those previous incidents should have been a reminder to Čačić. This is an uneasy position, where fans label you as a “puppet” and the federation decides on certain personnel decisions. Why would you create more disruption by speaking about a disagreement that nobody was aware of? A manager with nearly thirty years of coaching experience should know better. He should also not force his players to warm up for more than 15 minutes during the second half and learn to stand by his statements.
According to Lovren, Čačić said that he would play in the second half. Most players receive an opportunity to play in a friendly. Instead, Čačić opted to make only one substitution for the entire match. Mateo Kovačić was replaced by captain and soon-to-be retired Darijo Srna. How does that make any logical sense? There aren’t any benefits towards Srna playing in a meaningless game, especially after suffering an injury against Israel. Why are national team mainstays such as Modrić, Mandžukić, Vedran Ćorluka, and Ivan Perišić playing ninety minutes in a friendly game?
Čačić made several terrible decisions during that match. Opting to play 31-year-old Gordon Schildenfield instead of Lovren can be added to that list as well. These aren’t really difficult decisions to make from a personnel standpoint. Somehow, Čačić managed to force his starters into playing unnecessary minutes, failed to give other players an opportunity, and infuriated one of his better defenders.
Many fans like to criticize Lovren for a plethora of reasons. From high-profile miscues to his personal life, the 26-year-old defender isn’t very popular amongst certain fans. They will constantly bring up a notable mistake rather than mention his recent good form. It has translated into an ongoing debate that could leave Croatia lacking competent defenders going into the Euros.
Lovren deserves some criticism from this fiasco. While choosing to sit down after warm-ups isn’t controversial, he didn’t need to make threats about his place on the team. The Liverpool center back has every right to be frustrated with his role. That wasn’t the proper way to express your grievances. Although he didn’t need to make a public apology, a more professional response would have benefited Lovren’s case.
When dissecting Croatia’s defense, Lovren should feel that he deserves to be a starter. He is the only center back that plays against excellent competition on a weekly basis. His performances against Manchester City, Tottenham, and Borussia Dortmund (first leg) played a crucial role in Liverpool earning positive results. Since Jurgen Klopp was hired, Lovren has made 19 appearances and helped them keep ten clean sheets. Jack Lusby of Bleacher Report wrote an excellent piece about the embattled defender becoming Liverpool’s most improved player.
With Lovren playing well against Champions League caliber opposition, why should the coaching staff view him as a squad player? Vedran Ćorluka and Domagoj Vida haven’t played against much top-level competition this season. Vida deserves credit for playing fairly well against Chelsea and Manchester City. While critics will ridicule Lovren for making mistakes, he is defending against top strikers such as Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Vida and Ćorluka aren’t facing stringent tasks on a consistent basis. They are mostly rated on defending against mediocre European countries in qualifiers and friendlies, as most Croatians don’t watch the Russian or Ukrainian league. Lovren would do their job diligently.
That shouldn’t immediately move one player out of the lineup. Vida has played left back at Dynamo Kiev. Although the versatile defender doesn’t offer much from an attacking sense, he is very defensively composed. Bilić used him at right back during Croatia’s controversial loss to Spain at Euro 2012. He never looked overwhelmed, despite being largely inexperienced at the time. Vida is more than capable of playing as a fullback. That should allow Ćorluka and Lovren to be at the heart of Croatia’s defense, if they don’t play a 3-5-2 formation, which they shouldn’t given their limitations at key positions.
Lovren deserves more appreciation as a player based on his genuine improvements over the past six months. His positioning has greatly improved, along with making last-ditch tackles and timely clearances. Injuries forced him into missing far too many key games for the national team. That shouldn’t preclude from playing a massive role going forward. Why should an aging player like Schildenfield, who was routinely out of position against Italy in a 1-1 draw last June, be featured over Lovren?
Croatia can’t afford to exile another quality defender. They already did that with Ivan Strinić, who should be their current starting left back. With limited options, Lovren needs to be featured this summer. An injury to Ćorluka or Vida could destroy their aspirations for a successful tournament. They need a strong defense to make up for a limited attack. Besides Mandžukić (who isn’t the goal scorer that he once was), there are no other strikers that inspire confidence. Perišić is easily their most prolific goal scorer, which is why they shouldn’t use a 3-5-2 formation and force him into a wingback role.
Croatians like to reference Serbia and their demise from major tournaments. One of the biggest reasons was their inability to keep stars happy. Nemanja Vidić retired early, while rising star Dusan Tadić refuses to play for the current regime. Croatia should continue to qualify for tournaments, but the current toxic atmosphere can’t be ignored. They need to value their young talent and utilize them properly. Forcing players such as Lovren to think about quitting isn’t a recipe for success. Čačić needs to get on good terms with him for tactical and morale purposes. There isn’t much optimism heading into Euro 2016 following another erratic qualifying period. If Croatia wants to possibly change that, they need to stabilize their squad, which starts by speaking with one of their most important defenders.
I like the idea, but they need to take it a step further allow video replay to take a look at dives during the game.
This idea by UEFA is OK, but I can sure see someone’s reputation coming back to hurt them. For us, Srna and Mandzukic are known as divers. Would hate to see a real foul on them go not called because of their reputation as cheats.
Of course the fans mean a meal ticket for the players through corporate sponsorships, tv rights, ticket sales, merchandise, etc.
My point is the players at the elite level make a nice living because of all this, but they don’t have to go on their knees to thank the jock sniffing fans. Their talent got themto where they are at.
@BZ……I never said I wouldn’t wear checkers, I just said I wouldn’t wear checkers with another man’s name on my back. That is just plain sick. Plus, I’m never afraid to say I am hrvat, after all I live the “za dom….spremni” lifestyle. I go out of my way to help educate non-hrvati about what it means to be a hrvat. Hell, I’ve even been accused of carrying the “kriz” on this site for those non-committed hrvati who visit this site.
He may not have a track record but there is one thing he does have: a MO
Therefore, we win. They don’t even need to play the tourney, it’s all over, we’ve already won cos of Mucho Cacic’s Mo
Pretty sad that the federation gets that much money and yet we can’t hire a professional coach. I hope Cacic surprises me, but I would consider him the co-weak link along with our back line. On an individual talent basis, we’re one of the top teams in the tournament yet the guy we have tasked with turning that individual talent into team success has almost no track record.
Let us know where you’re sitting
I’m only asking because I’m getting my ticket from a friend of a friend from Cansda – so just hoping they receive it soon, leaving enough time to post it to me here in Aus
@BZ. Im with you bro. I never watch club football. Couldnt give a toss. Dont care about Real Madrid or Barca etc, all i care about is our repka, that’s it.
Also – on this from T-Bone
There was a game against Greece where he alone was at fault for a goal (maybe two) and he was getting out-jumped by Mexican attackers on at least two goals against Mexico.
Are you sure it was Greece? I can’t recall playing Greece in any recent qualy campaign, unless i’ve forgotten??
@ziva Your response makes no sense, unless you don’t understand the meaning of lucrative. Anyway, so glad you are so insecure about being a fan/jocksniffer that you won’t wear the checkers; otherwise the general public would know you are a Croat, and that would just be embarassing to us all.
@anon We all fund these ridiculous payrolls. That is why I rarely watch any sport at the club level anymore; unless I am researching for a big bet. Only thing I go out of my way to watch is our soccer team, and love the “romantic” idea that the majority of the players would play for the country, even w/o getting paid.
Website says they’ll arrive by the end of May at the latest, I’m part of a buy sell trade group on fb for tix lot of guys got there’s already
Google la poste euro 2016 and plug in your ticket number and you can trick it
Ticket number is available on UEFA my ticket portal
Re: some of you already receiving Euro 2016 tickets.
I’m trying to work out the logic for tickets being sent out.
Are all tickets currently being sent out to US/Canada already? or just a few lucky chaps, meaning it is completely random?
No biggie, just curious, given website says “May”
“Real’s transfer activities provide great gossip for footballing fans. We often marvel at the latest signing, wonder where they’ll slot in, how far they’ll go and so on, yet we rarely stop and ask where does Real get the money for all this? The answer appears to be us.”
@BZ…..no they don’t. They owe it to hard work and good given ability. Yes, without jocksniffing fans buying jerseys they would get less money. But, I never saw a fan make a difference in a player developing and having good given skill.
@Brkic……each federation is different. There are bonuses and players do receive money for making it into the Euros and WCs. Usually the money is split anywhere from 30% to 60% depending on the federation and what type of agreement they come to with the players. For Cro, the guys who were on the roster for each WC qualifier received compensation into six figures.
Hopefully Alen Halilovic will get the start for Sporting Gijon against Barcelona this Saturday.
What do the players get paid for the international games? I’m guessing not much since we can’t afford a real coach.
In some cases it helps their professional career takeoff, but in many of our players cases they could “retire” from international soccer without adversely impacting their pro careers. Although we have mentioned a few examples of players being selfish, most are playing for love of Country and keep at as long as they can.
@ziva Your awkward sociopath views about players owing nothing to the fans are disturbing. Players literally owe their entire lucrative careers to fans.
@ lazio No he didn’t,& that was with Mandzukic out. That is why he was unhappy & lika a bitch quit the national team. His retirement had nothing to do with Mamic.
Did Eduardo play against Brazil at the WC?
I know he wanted so much to play against Brazil.
What was wrong with his comments. He was being honest. He didn’t owe anything to the fans. He delivered when he played and the fans acknowledged that by cheering ass. He never said anything bad about the public.
I have no problems with him going after Mamic. Mamic tried stealing from him and Da Silva stood up to that animal. People in cro should be applauding him for that.
Plus, you are dead wrong…..Mamic and Kovac didn’t force him on the WC roster. Mamic didn’t care either way and Kovac included him because of his emotional attachment to him as a teammate who “deserved” a spot.
@ziva Except, He made those comments coinciding with his national team retirement. At that point, he should of been thankful to all his fans, especially those that supported his brazilian self for all those years. Instead, he makes it about some grudge which was at the personal/club level (ps he benefitted from Mamic’s mgmt.). You live by the sword you die by it too.
I just wish Mamic & Kovac had not forced him onto our 2014 WC team.
Follow the money. That will answer about 95% of life’s questions…
@BZ……..huh, you claim he is another guy putting himself and a grudge against a coach/Mamic????? You do realize he has every right to have a grudge considered Mamic blocked his bank account and properties in Cro and was trying to take seven figures from him. I’m sure you would just drink the Kool-aid if someone was trying to take over a million dollars from you, right?
Some of you guys have this romantic view that playing for the repka should be above and beyond everything. In a perfect world, yes. But, soccer is a big business and players need to treat it as that because their careers only have about 10-15 years of max earning powers, if they are lucky enough. These guys need to feed their family somehow.
Also, how about the people who run our savez. Shouldn’t they be held to your same standard as you have for the players about putting country above all else or does that only apply to the players.
Sad but agreed. After Mandzukic, I’d take Dudu over most of our other options. Shouldn’t he talk to his kum, Diving Darijo about coming back?
It is pretty funny though
Lovren’s Liverpool career summed up in 26 seconds
strucnjak Stimac no longer a coach???
@ idemo… with the logic of your assessment of my logic we have no logic at all… lol. Seriously Rakitic and Modric have contributed enough to Croatia to not ride the pine. With those two we want to see them hit the game winners or set up 3 goals in a competitive match but that’s easier said than done…
All I’ve been trying to say is that this whole Lovren thing is blown out of proportion because he is making disproportionate money at Liverpool. Ask your average Liverpool fan until his goal against Dortmund and they would tell you Lovren was their least liked defender. He’s not integral to Cro’s D but I will say that he has the potential to be.
@slavonac I see you…If only some players would take the mindset of saying to their National team…”I would die for you!”
@t-bone I agree. Lovren has looked crappy for us. He is terrible on the ball too. Makes Corluka look good, which is not a good sign. Our backline is scary bad, which obviously impedes our mids from playing to their potential.
If I see that ingrate Eduardo playing for us again I might yak. We give him an undeserved spot on the WC team in his HOME country, then proceeds to say he was unhappy with how he was treated. Another guy putting himself and a grudge against a coach/Mamic etc over his “country” and the fans. Basically calling him up for WC 14 was on par with Kobe’s embarassing farewell tour.
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called Life…”
Well, lets be real here. Lovren is not bigger. But, if someone like a Messi or if Suker or Boban in 96 would have come out against Ciro, I think we know what the result would have been.
Some players actually are bigger than the team, but most of them can keep their ego in check.
Good for Cacic. take a hard line on Lovren. no player is bigger than the club.
With that logic you can make the argument that Rakitic and modric need to sit the pine
Yeah he’s a great athlete and he’s had his moments at Liverpool.
Doesn’t excuse him for being the distraction he’s become.
There’s clearly not much yolk in that egg!
Man you Lovren apologists are funny. Forget about his current club play; assess him according to his past performances for Hrvatska. I recall he played like ass for the majority of his qualifying starts for the last couple tournaments. There was a game against Greece where he alone was at fault for a goal (maybe two) and he was getting out-jumped by Mexican attackers on at least two goals against Mexico. If you really wanted to get into it and look at past games you would witness he’s been a defensive liability when he started for Cro. He had a decent game against Wales scoring a goal when Cro was down for WC 2014 qualification but other than that I don’t recall enough matches where he impressed. Bottom line is respect Cacic’s decisions, as far as I can see Croatia are unbeaten since he took over and hey Cro is at the Euro. If Lovren makes the squad great, if not it’s not the end of Croatia’ tournament.
Mandzukic thinks that was a tough goal.
i think eduardo retired from the repka didn’t he?
in any case, if this is what it takes to score in the ukrainian league, maybe the repka should give me a look as well….pretty sure my futsol goal last week was tougher than this
This dude has his Twitter spiel saved to a word document or note pad and just copies and pastes every time he wants to drop it in
yeah man, if he is on…and if he agrees that he may be a sub and get few minutes, I’d take him. you never know, he could take that opportunity, get some inspiration and turn it up a few notches…anything can happen in a tournament!
Has the Brazilian-born hrvat come out and said he is open to playing for the repka again?
I agree with Slavonac. He would be third behind Madza and Kramaric right now and I’m not even sure about being behind Kramaric. I would take him over Kalinic, Cop and anyone else.
I haven’t watched Dudu play in a couple of years but if his form is good, I’d take him any day of the week over any other striker but Mandzukic!
Ah, yes…..the age-old question of what is a “za dom…..spremni” lifestyle. I don’t have the time right now to go into a detailed account of what is a ZDS lifestyle, but know this…….you can’t be part of a ZDS lifestyle if you don’t speak, read or understand Croatian. Plus, you must understand the Croatian culture and mentality. More to it as well which includes going to church.
If you need more clarification of what it means to live a ZDS lifestyle, may I suggest you reach out to me on my social media channel at twitter. I can be found at @ziva_istina. Now, to be honest with you, I have yet to fully embrace social media, but I will make every effort to assist fellow hrvati. After all, that is part of the ZDS lifestyle.
I agree with Brkic….so many of you guys watch a half or one game and an opinion on a player is cemented.
Many pro players in all sports go through peaks and valleys in their careers, so much of the difference between good and bad results is between the ears and a relationship with a coach or amongst a group of players.
In my opinion both men should act like grown-ups, go into a room, talk it out and get on with the greater good – which is fielding the strongest possible squad for Croatia this summer.
Will it happen? Well, based on my knowledge of Croatians and their penchant for stubbornness, I’m not betting on it.
Over and out.
Ziva Istina is the SME on a ‘Za dom … spremni’ lifestyle, he can fill you in
The penalty to Brazil was a total bogus call and Fred should have been banned for the remainder of the tournament for diving, but that’s what happens when you play Brazil in Brazil. Don’t understand how that was Lovren’s fault… Watch the replay again.
Keep in mind that’s Jamie Carragher commenting Lovro… The same guy who still swears it was a penalty in stoppage time for Leicester against West Ham. If you google current articles on Lovren you’ll see many Liverpool fans singing Lovren’s praises about how he has played since Klopp took over.
No doubt he has been inconsistent through his career, but for the most part we’re choosing between guys who play against B sides or are at the tail end of their careers and show it.
Za Dom Spremni lifestyle don’t get it twisted, what you talking about Willis?
What is a Za Dom Spremni lifestyle?
It looks like they think the team is so fragile they can only play really weak opponents to boost their confidence or something. not a good look anyway
San Marino and Moldova aren’t even real countries, someone’s taking the piss
zds lifestyle don’t get it twisted
MALO VAS JE MALO VAS JE PICKICE
To any Turk close to me
The game against Iran is no longer scheduled. Croatia – Moldova will be on Friday, May 27th in Koprivnica, the first time that the Vatreni will have played there.
Croatia will also face San Marino, at the Rujevica Stadium in Rijeka on Saturday, June 4th, 8 days before the opener against Turkey.
Croatia’s World Cup campaign begins on September 5th (Monday, Labor Day in the US) in Zagreb, also against Turkey.
We are going to play only 2 other WC qualifiers before the end of 2016 – Sunday, October 9th in Finland and Saturday, November 12th in Zagreb against Iceland.
Moldova and San Marino? I bet Lovren will want to start.
basic html codes. subscripted
check out this link:
bold and italic work.
The fuck? Are we seriously warming up with Moldova and San Marino? Dafuq is this shit? We’ve stepped DOWN from hungary and israel.. maybe they were too hard? LOL geez.. piss on my piss, disappointing
We can discuss this now, why does Croatia prepare for 156 and 200 ranked soccer midgets before the Euros?
Burkina Faso and Turkmenistan were taken is what one guy said.
As of now the 3 things Lovren is most famous for when it comes to our National Team are;
1) Giving up a penalty to Brazil.
2) Showing the world his shlong poolside.
3) Fighting with our coach.
I’d be happy if I never heard his name again!
@ Lazio – don’t forget San Marino as well. Atta boy Suker.
…and then there is this on Lovren’s positioning.
Moldova national team will test Croatia during the preparation phase for the European Championships in France this summer.
This will indeed be a tough test!
Moldova have some quality players.
Why is Lovren the only guy who doesn’t say shit after starting the season playing horrible and, then after a few good games, thinks he’s Paolo Maldini and has the right to spout off?
Liverpool fans despise him and can’t believe he’s so error prone and slow – and that he cost so much money when no other team was offering half of what Liverpool paid for him.
Google the words “Lovren sucks” or Lovren idiot” – have fun reading the comments.
I think some of you guys are being too hard on Lovren. Look at the entertainment value he has delivered to this website. What would we be discussing if it wasn’t for this.
With the help of Denis’s common sense approach, we’ve all come to the conclusion this whole affair could’ve been handled better by both parties.
Lovren hasn’t earned a damn thing!
String together a half dozen starts or so for your country before you think you can give ultimatums.
At 26, and the starting CB for a Liverpool on the RISE… Lovren has every right to either start or not go to Euro’s.
Cacic can either make peace and play him or leave him out.
Ćiro plays Prosinečki in the second half v France in ’98 then we go on to win the World Cup.
Managers has to create the team from working with our best talent.
I find it weak to go through the media and dead Lovren because he is temperamental footballer ?
@ Luka Madrid
Bravo majstor !
We should figure out how many goals Eduardo is scoring per minute because he’s been coming in for the last 10 minutes for many games and still hitting the back of the net with regularity.
If only he had not suffered that terrible injury… He was just coming into his prime when it happened. Tough to see how he gets a spot this summer, but glad to see he’s doing well.
Eduardo with another goal.
Damn that’s like 10 goals in 15 games…
Also halilovic played well. Mandzukic scored…
very nice goal Luka
any link to the Rakitic one ?
Luka Modric goal today vs. Villareal.
Lovren and Liverpool add one to the clean sheet tally with a 4-0 win over Everton today.
Modric had a very good day for RM scoring one and making a key interception that led to another goal in their 3-0 win over Villarreal.
Yeah i remember during the WC someone posted something about Srna being the fastest and we were all kinda surprised but it is apparently a thing.
@Denis “’Im all for “authority” if they are qualified. At the same time, I like Jurgen Klopps’ philosophy of “I am one of you”. Dude hugs players, celebrates with them, and gained the Liverpool players respect almost instantly.”
Sounds like you are describing Bilic…
Btw, how did you do the italics and bold font up there?? what are the codes for that?
Better be no dirty Turks in our area
It is a sellout……..you’ll be able to upgrade to the lower bowl. There will be scalpers outside the stadium and give them your upper bowl ticket and an extra $150 or so and you will be in the lower bowl.
Shit, if you get lucky you might run into our guys on the savez and they might do what they did in Brazil…….they were scalping tickets that should have gone to Cro fans.
It will be a sell out for sure! 1 million Turks in France
Wish we were in the bottom bowl but from what I can see no one through UEFA portal got bottom bowl
we’ll be good wer both inside the corner flag and 18
I wonder if it will sell out/ or if we can move up
Parc des Princes is good if you have seats between the goals. If you are behind the goals you will be a long way away. There is about 20-30 yards of empty space behind the goals.
I just hope row 10 isn’t to to far back, but either way I’m just happy to be going to my second back to back euro cup
Rakitic goal, and set up another off a corner.
Block 404 row 25 cat 1
At the cost of being a little higher I’m a little more central
Wer actually pretty close to each other, all the tix from the savez are in that general area
There isn’t a single bad seat at Parc des Princes
Oops category 2 not 3
Block 302 row 10
Idemo what about you
Asshole left them on my door step all day
What cat did u get
Good points Denis!
I was never a big Lovren fan. Dude has disappointed me so many times for the repka. However, from the reports, I am for the most part on his side. He should have never given Cacic the ultimatum.
“our so-called BIG players” have been disappointing for Croatia. Not one of these “BIG players” stood up for Simunic. I might be wrong, but most our big players are concerned about their careers and $$$ before the repka. At the same time, if I was in their shoes, I might feel the same way with Mamic running the show.
Im actually ok with Cacic for the most part. No pranjic, no Olic and his formations have been good besides the inclusion of Dinamo players to appeal to Mamic.
I agree with you that Stimac, Kovac and Cacic are all separated by millimeters.
“we shouldn’t ever confuse two separate issues and combine them as one. Cacic as head coach is one topic, Lovren’s insubordination is another.”
True, but they kind of go hand in hand. Cacic slams Lovren, Lovren gives ultimatum. Both are wrong.
“we shouldn’t allow our guys to be disrespectful.”
I agree with you somewhat on the cultural differences. But in the end, money runs sport. Players with $$$ have a lot of pull.
playing for club vs country is a lot different as well. Most of the players dont say anything while playing for country.
What if Lovren questioned Cacic’ professionalism by going to the media and questioned his qualifications would that be wrong?
Maybe you’re right but I was reading this:
If Modric, Rakitic and Mandzukic were all trashing the coach then I believe we’d have a serious problem on our hands…but at this point, they aren’t, so why the attitude from Lovren?
I think your comment has merit, BIG players can (not always) decide a coaches future but in this case, our so-called BIG players are playing and behaving as professionals while Lovren thinks he’s above everyone else.
the coaching topic, whether he is qualified or not is a whole other discussion. I think we’d all agree he probably isn’t…I really don’t know. but with that said, neither was Stimac or Kovac, so who’s to say Cacic isn’t at least better than they were. nevertheless, we are comparing low quality coaches and this is a problem on its own.
we shouldn’t ever confuse two separate issues and combine them as one. Cacic as head coach is one topic, Lovren’s insubordination is another.
as fans of this sport, we do not have to like the decision regarding Cacic as head coach but as fans, we should respect the code of conduct of our players towards the coach, regardless of who the coach is. we shouldn’t allow our guys to be disrespectful. I don’t ever allow my kids to say their teacher is bad or wrong…even if the teacher isn’t the greatest, what will they do next…tell a cop he/she is wrong?
American culture is far different from Croatian culture Denis. Many basketball and football players are gangsta’s and have a total different perspective on life, especially when they make a lot of money. I don’t see the same in Europe, at least not nearly as pronounced as in the US. two very different systems and cultures…I think we can all agree the comparisons are not really that good.
Dummies, all of you
Regarding Srna………..he might have straight line speed, but he has lost a step when it comes to covering a player and moving with the ball. How many times does a player have to do a full out straight line 40 yard sprint? Hardly ever.
@nitro…….your proposed starting 11 has three guys on it who currently don’t get much playing time. Good luck with that line up.
tracking says out for delivery I’m at school all day i’ll let you know when i get home
I agree 100%. “There is no nationalism behind the team, it’s simply a business to get lower talent signed to bigger clubs.”
“trust factor with the coaching staff is gone because of this.”
This could be fixed. If Cacic goes up to Lovren and says: “Look, I know that you are upset. I saw that Hungary was playing dirty and I didn’t want to throw you in there to risk injury in a meaningless friendly. I should have had one of the assistants tell you as you were warming up. You are important to us. No one is guaranteed to start for us, however, if you continue like this for Liverpool I dont see why you wouldn’t start.
“Enough with these prima donnas.”
As long as players are making $$$$$ millions, there will be prima donnas. Its the manager that has to know how to deal with them and their egos.
“We’ll probably never know because instead of simply talking to the player, Cacic goes to the media and trashed the guy.”
“all of those coaches command and demand respect.”
Why not come out with a different approach? Look at Klopp at Liverpool. The british media doesn’t understand how he transformed Liverpool in such a short period of time. The players said that they would die for him on the pitch. Klopp hugs players, where’s jump suits on the pitch. He’s one of them not a figure of “authority”.
“We have had someone suggest that Lovren is not qualified to be a professional. Could say the same about Cacic!”
“why giving an ultimatum to a coach is a good thing.”
I agree with you that this was wrong of Lovren. But I blame Cacic for everything else. Just some simple communication from Cacic would have solved the problem.
“because they understand the hierarchy and roles of each. for someone to think for a second that a player has a “right” to sit down or to justify his actions just because he is a “first-team starter for a revamped Liverpool team”…clearly displays the lack of understanding about the culture and role of coaches and players.
how many of us can have a hissy fit and do as we wish at work, just because we feel we deserve something and didn’t get it? how long would we last?”
You make a great point. But, I don’t think you agree with me that the players have a lot more power. If Rakitic, Modric, and Mandzukic trashed Cacic he would be gone in the morning.
I’m all for “authority” if they are qualified. At the same time, I like Jurgen Klopps’ philosophy of “I am one of you”. Dude hugs players, celebrates with them, and gained the Liverpool players respect almost instantly. Even the players can’t explain exactly how.
Anyone get their tickets yet? I got mine but I won’t see them till after work, we should let each other know where we’re sitting
Idemo – get your tickets yet?
Ok, here is my 2 cents….
1) The manager/coach is not the boss unless that manager/coach is a Greg Popovich. Even the “great” Phil Jackson got fired.
I agree with Slavonac that it “There’s a hierarchy, the coach is boss, end of story.” However, the players are the boss 99% of the time. Great players like Ronaldo, Messi, Lebron can fire a coach. Players can turn on a coach and that coach will be gone.
2) I agree with Ziva about “a qualified coach”. The players should give Cacic a chance. However, most of them view him as another one of Mamic’ boys. Once Cacic does anything wrong, the player(s) will jump on him as with Lovren.
3) If there was more communication between the coaches and players all of this could have been avoided. I agree with Rads “The second half against Hungary was very physical. The Hungarians committed 22 fouls.” “Why risk Lovren?” Cacic or one of his assistants should have told Lovren. Even his big ego would accept that and realize that he’s important to the team.
4) I don’t agree with Lovren saying “I better start at Euro.” But at the same time, I get where he’s coming from. Mickey Mouse coach gets upset at Lovren for sitting down after warming up for 15 minutes and chews him out in the media.
5) I am all for representing Croatia and fighting for Croatia. However, sometimes, you have a “boss” that should not be the boss.
Strinic “wasn’t fully committed”, Nikica Jelavić retired because of a coach, who is next?
6) In the end, these players make Millions of dollars. They are young. They have egos. Unfortunately, the managers have to gain their respect. Someone like Cacic is coming in as a puppet. He has to prove himself first. He has to communicate, cater, pamper the players. But at the same time, if a player slips up get in his ass.
^ LEGENDA. KRALJ.^
euro 2016 line up
perisic brozovic halilovic
modric kovacic rakitic
strinic lovren vida vrsaljko
@ Van Perry
Srna’s not even on the top 10 list
I would say at this point, he’s not even top 5 fastest on the team – I’d rank guys like Brozovic, Perisic, Kovacic, Vrsajlko, etc. all faster than him. I mean, the guy is going to be 34 in a week and change.
someone please enlighten me.
In your own opinion please tell me what you think.
who selects players, who selects line-ups, who selects formation, who selects strategy, who is responsible for wins/losses?
I’m surprised at the lack of understanding with this topic. I think it’s very elementary for anyone to believe that a player deserves to play based on what team he currently plays for. I don’t think we need examples for this, I posted a few yesterday…Tevez, Nasri, Sneijder…and regardless of opinions that we all have, you have to understand what a players duties and responsibilities are and you have to understand what a coaches duties and responsibilities are!
professional soccer has its own culture, just like hockey has its own culture and so does American football…in Europe, the coach is the absolute boss…100% no question. there may be cases where a player is powerful but for the most part, the coach has the support of the organization and the fans…because they understand the hierarchy and roles of each. for someone to think for a second that a player has a “right” to sit down or to justify his actions just because he is a “first-team starter for a revamped Liverpool team”…clearly displays the lack of understanding about the culture and role of coaches and players.
how many of us can have a hissy fit and do as we wish at work, just because we feel we deserve something and didn’t get it? how long would we last?
I know it was almost 2 years ago but Srna was recorded as being the fastest man at the WC. Im pretty sure he still has some speed left.
Srna against norway showed his speed! He is definitely a shell of his old self.
@ Van Perry
“Srna still had speed”
Actually think that might happen as well. Srna is not going to be benched. It’s just not happening. He still has a few good games left in him and does have a pretty good touch, on his better days.
Srna will play RW. Cacic has seen his defensive liabilities.
He was tried at RW during the last 2 friendlies.
Srna is still looking for his underwear. He left them in Norway when he dropped his pants by getting undressed twice!
No way in hell does Srna play RB and Corluka CB.
That happens and we are screwed.
Why not use Srna as a Right winger ? He’s played there before, he still has speed, and I still think he has a few good crosses left in him.
Pivaric Vida Corluka. Vrsaljko
Ah, so, I think you finally got around to what was on your mind when you wrote your column.
It had nothing to do with defending Lovren’s action.
It’s just that you want them to make peace so that Croatia’s defense will be stronger, in your opinion, at Euro 2016.
I’m good with that.
It’s hard to have a definite starting eleven right now.
Srna, Corluka, Lovren, Vida is easily my most realistic prediction in defense. Yes Vrsaljko deserves consideration, but this is Srna’s last tournament. He is going to start.
Modric, Rakitic, Perisic, Kovacic, and Brozovic seems to be the midfield right now. Not crazy about Kovacic starting, but who else do you put out there? Brozovic on the right wing isn’t ideal either, given he is best utilized as a a box to box midfielder not winger. Maybe Badelj can play a holding midfielder role to replace Kovacic and put Rakitic as attacking midfielder. Badelj has notoriously always underperformed for NT though.
Mandzukic as lone striker by default.
I’d love to hear what players you mention play at a top club like Liverpool and start on a weekly basis facing top-tier competition. Please educate me.
What’s the point of playing Srna after suffering from an injury? Why not let a young player gain some experience against a team that qualified for Euro 2016. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Cacic should make peace with Lovren. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. I’m not dancing around anything. He’s a proven player at a position that Croatia lacks in.
Karim Benzema played a role in blackmailing his own teammate in Mathieu Valbuena. He was arrested in November. If you are going to compare Lovren’s situation to Benzema, then the discussion ends here based on your lack of understanding moral values.
I think the poor decisions vs Hungary had more to do with not calling up enough players and not spreading out the minutes so that those playing 3 games a week could avoid overuse. Just based on what few options he called up, Halilovic should have gotten some minutes.
Srna went off injured vs Israel (riding on a cart), so that was a bit of a head scratcher that he was called on at all in the game a couple days later.
If everything were the same (no minutes for Lovren vs Hungary) I don’t think it would have been an issue. Lovren’s outburst was a result of Cacic trashing him in the media.
He warmed up and was ready to play for the homeland.
Allen – name me your starting 11 for Croatia and I will give you 5 players who could make a similar legitimate demand from Cacic that they should be starting.
If those first 5 players stick by their demand and do not come to France, what kind of bench will Croatia have?.He is NOT in any unique situation.
Your form does not matter and doesn’t give you freedom to say or do what you want if you are charged with “conduct detrimental to the team”.
Karim Benzema is in excellent form – won’t be playing for France at Euro 2016.
Explain how playing Srna for 15 minutes was a bad decision. Did he do anything wrong in that game?
Even after giving you a second chance, you still dance around why giving an ultimatum to a coach is a good thing.
Do Lovren’s actions resemble the “za dom…spremni” lifestyle? What say you?
“Although Bilić had issues with Danijel Pranjić and Josip Simunic, he never openly bashed them. Bilic remained calm and moved on like a true professional.”
Professionalism starts at the top.
“Lovren deserves some criticism from this fiasco. While choosing to sit down after warm-ups isn’t controversial, he didn’t need to make threats about his place on the team.”
Cacic sure made it controversial.
Conclusion, Cacic isn’t a true professional.
Is Lovren a professional footballer? We have had someone suggest that Lovren is not qualified to be a professional. Could say the same about Cacic!
Pretty good article with quotes from Lovren on the situation:
Obviously, no one can make demands to be a starter, but I hope Klopp or someone moderates and they both grow up and make amends for the greater good.
Why would every player make that request? If you are talking about bench players/prospects, you would assume that they know their role. Lovren is in a unique situation. He is a first-team starter for a revamped Liverpool team but can’t be featured for a dwindling Croatian side?
Who cares about his form? So you want to bring Olic out of retirement or start Rebic for a game? Form is one of the biggest things towards rating a player. What you said makes no sense.
I’m not going to address the mental midget thing. That’s nothing more than a generality to me. If you want to use that, feel free to do so. Anything that helps you sleep at night.
Yes bad decisions can happen in a “meaningless match”. Why does Srna have to play 15 minutes after suffering from an injury against Israel?
Appreciate the feed back everyone. Always love debating as usual. I thought this a topic worth writing about. Anyone that lives in NYC, I hope to meet you this summer for the games.
I remember the days Corluka played RB, but I don’t know about that anymore. He hasn’t played there in a while, and we have better RBs in Vrsaljko, and probably Jedvaj and Vida too. If he doesn’t play CB, he probably doesn’t play at all.
Lovren was just as bad (if not worse) in that Mexico game than Corluka was. Some gaffes that he was lucky did not become goals (that flag watching chace in the first half I recall), and I believe he was at fault also for one of the ones that were scored.
Either way, I agree with you on the chemistry thing. We keep changing lineups and nobody ever plays a competitive game together until during tournament play (which is ridiculous) and Cacic did do at least one great thing and that was cutting the dead weight in Pranjic and Olic.
I don’t think losing Lovren is as big of an impact as people think it is, but this “drama” probably does more damage then cutting the actual loss of this player.
Coach or no coach, I can’t see our not showing up against Spain. I honestly can’t see Rakitic, Modric and even Kovacic/Halilovic playing flat in that game. I can see the three of them lighting it up and trying hard to beat them. However, I can see them playing flat against Turkey. We match up well against the Czech and they’re not physical at all, so we can play our game against them. It’s that first game that concerns me most.
Allen – You wrote a huge column trying to defend what Lovren did – and them promptly never addressed the actual issue.
How is placing an ultimatum on Cacic as he did a good thing?
You talk about everything else except the real issue. How he is improved as a player, how Cacic made so many bad decisions in the Hungary game, what other players/coaches relationships were like, etc.
What if every player placed that kind of ridiculous request on a coach?
…and who cares what his form is currently?
I have to believe his teammates, especially the other defenders on our national team, must be pissed off at this special request he put in.
You start him even with an injury or if his form drops?
Like I said before, his mental midget disease is too risky for me to play him even one minute in a short tournament.
And regarding one of your comments which has nothing to do with defending Lovren –
How do you make a bad substitute decision in a friendly, when, in most of them I’ve seen, you make anywhere from 5-11 of them in a meaningless match?
First let me say this.
If Corluka is our central defender at the Euro’s we will win kurac. He is not aggressive and watching him run is like watching grass grow. He killed us against Mexico. He’s great as a right back but that’s it! Watch the goals he let in against 35 year old MLS player Marquez, brutal. Corluka at right back or don’t play him at all. Our only chance will be Vida and Lovern in the middle.
Lovren is the perfect defender but he’s also the guy that can make one mistake and cost you a title. So, pick your poison.
Cacic did the right thing in playing all the starters. This team has no chemistry for the last 4 years. He needs to find it and quick. He needs to find the players that fit because something is not working. He knows it and he’s trying to fix it. And he’s doing it with some logic. Which is better than what we had for the past 4 years.
Removing Pranjic and some of the old guys was the first step.
However making shit public was absolutely stupid.
Hope everyone learns from this and moves on.
We need to win this tournament in June. It’s an absolute must!
“Is it possible that Cacic, because of his own inadequacy, felt Lovren was challenging his authority when in reality he had no idea that he had been perceived as insubordinate?”
When I read Lovren’s version of events, this is very possible.
Good article Allen, fair and balanced!
so many times we see guys warming up for several minutes…even an entire half and they don’t get in. this is all part of the game…the coach has every right to ask you to warm up and change his mind about putting you in, without telling you. he isn’t doing this to spite you, he does it because he saw something that changed his mind…thats all it is.
my speculation is that Cacic trashed Lovren before the news got out and he himself would look week!
“Is it possible that Cacic, because of his own inadequacy, felt Lovren was challenging his authority when in reality he had no idea that he had been perceived as insubordinate?”
there is an absolute line, no question about it. all of those coaches command and demand respect.
It sounds like at Liverpool and many other places the players warm up for 10-15 minutes and then come back to the bench to put on a jacket and either come on or go unused. This would be about the 60th minute assuming they start warming at the start of the 2nd half which is when you typically see subs made. If for some reason Cacic intended to put Lovren in at minute 80 he or a trainer could have said “stay warm because we’re going to get you in for the last 10 minutes”. He may have said “great, I’ll stay warm”.
Is it possible that Cacic, because of his own inadequacy, felt Lovren was challenging his authority when in reality he had no idea that he had been perceived as insubordinate?
We’ll probably never know because instead of simply talking to the player, Cacic goes to the media and trashed the guy.
Well written article Allen..
I watched the game and it’s now the only real Croatian derby. Atmosphere was great, play was so-so but the officiating was suspect; no missed or made up penalties. I mean once you saw the suci, you knew. A Rijeka player farting would’ve gotten a whistle.
fucking Mamic, dude…. guy is giving orders from the comfort of his own couch nowadays!
ugh, I’m going to sound like a Hajdukovac, but the officiating at the end of this game was suspect – 2 minutes of added time, Rijeka are deep in Dinamo’s half, just had won a set piece and the refs call the game when the clock was only at 1:45 of ET…
Samir Nasri, Carlos Tevez, Sneijder…and many more players that are better than Lovren have all been left out of their National Teams at some point. the topic here is:
“The case for defending Dejan Lovren against Ante Čačić”
the entire discussion came about when Cacic made this incident public. in this topic, there should not be other discussions included…ie…who got subbed, who played, who didn’t play, what formation they played….none of that has any merit in a discussion about what Lovren did and how Cacic responded.
Lovren was asked to warm up. he proceeded to warm up. after approximately 15 minutes he realized he probably won’t go in and decided himself, without the consent of the coaching staff, to go and sit down…insubordination…no two ways about it! this is what we are talking about, not Cacic’s shitty decisions about anything else.
everyone here knows that Cacic is Mamic’s guy….is Lovren Mamic’s guy too? when you are a coach that is perceived as Mamic’s guy, don’t you think he is already down in public opinion? wouldn’t you think he has to establish his authority? he already had a reputation of arguing with players in the past, why would he let Lovren embarrass him, after all…who the hell is Dejan Lovren?
Tomasov with a nice chance to win it and blasts it over the bar.
Rijeka doing Rijeka things and keeping 10 men behind the ball vs. Dinamo in the 60th minute.
It’s like, dudes, you want the title, you gotta beat DZG…..
Always liked lovren and he’s been our best cb since he started playing for the repka
Worse article ever on this site. Well one of the worse.
Slavonac thank you for your comment. You said it best.
I hope Lovren stays home. As for Cacic well done. Enough with these prima donnas.
i thought it was a good write up allen. got me almost wanting lovren back. but in the end, i still don’t trust him and don’t think his actions were correct, so i won’t complain if he’s not at the euros
on a basketball note….looks like ante tomic is not called up for the olymipc qualifying in july, with tomic refusing to comment on why
hezonja will play
justin hamilton was called up
0-0 Dinamo v. Rijeka, with the 2nd half kicking off just now.
Rijeka win and move 1 point behind Dinamo. Dinamo win and there is zero reason to watch another HNL game the rest of the year.
If you are Lovren, why does he have to kiss and make up?
I’m not defending Lovren here, but he wouldn’t be the first pro athlete to think he was correct and the coach was at fault for this.
Ultimately, I think there will be a meeting of the minds and Lovren will be on the squad, but the trust factor with the coaching staff is gone because of this. First thing that goes wrong at the Euros and this shit will explode.
Thinking that Cacic knows what he is going to get out of a match is wishful thinking. He’s a coach that saw success in Croatia’s B League…that’s it. As soon as he moved to bigger competition, he crumbled.
I don’t defend either of these “adults”, but I believe the players are finally getting fed up with what’s going on in Croatia. Why play for a national team that rapes fans with this absolute nonsense year after year? There is no nationalism behind the team, it’s simply a business to get lower talent signed to bigger clubs.
If Lovren continues to start & play minutes for Liverpool in their Europa run he must kiss and make up with Cacic. We don’t have a plethora of depth in our back line.
This is nothing more than a little Croatian drama.
I don’t hear anyone defending Lovren’s demands about being a starter. I think we all agree that is wrong.
However, I don’t think It would have ever escalated to this point if Cacic had not first called out the player to the media for sitting down on the bench after warming up for 15 minutes.
I mentioned on a prior post that there is now rumor that Lovren was cooperating in the case against Mamic and this could be part of the reason Cacic disparaged him to the media.
@allen…………Do you like reading your own words? 1,300 plus words on this topic. You could have made your point in 400 words or less. Bill Simmons writing a 1,300 world column? OK.
Someone writing 1,300 words on this site should only take place if we got exclusive news to break or an expose on jock-sniffing jersey chasers.
Wether the coach is right or wrong you don’t go to the media……while he’s still the coach at least
I should have worded it better.when it comes to labeling the Hungary game as meaningless. It’s meaningless for Srna, who has been playing right back for six years on the national team. He knows the system by now. Lovren could have used the time towards strengthening his rapport with Corluka or Vida.
That’s why I wanted him in there. He needs more time with the experienced players. Yes the game was chippy, but young players need to adjust. You rather risk Modric or Perisic for 90 minutes to get injured instead of Halilovic or some other young player? I value sure starters far more than younger players at this point.
I started reading this article and couldn’t get through it, sorry!
In professional sport there is a code of conduct, its the same as in a regular job or in the military. There’s a hierarchy, the coach is boss, end of story….full stop…there is no excuse that the coach publicly criticized Lovren…this is his team whether you and I like it or not!
Several years ago, prior to a qualifying game in Moscow, Bilic benched Srna, Balaban and Olic. Not only did he bench them but Vlatko Markovic chimed in and said:
“Strašno je to što se dogodilo. Izbornik Slaven Bilić ima sve ovlasti iz domene vođenja naše najbolje vrste i u potpunosti ga podržavam u njegovu stavu ”
“Razočaran sam. Sjajni su igrači, ali moraju biti kažnjeni jer su naštetili reprezentaciji”
You’ve made several different points in this write-up, none of them are relevant to this topic. It doesn’t matter if Cacic made bad decisions playing Schildenfield or if he decided to play Mickey Mouse instead of Modric…its his team and his decisions to make, none of us are at the ground level, none of us know the details of why he tried one line-up or another…all we can do is speculate.
you asked here: “Cacic doesn’t need to justify his actions for not putting a player in. The second half against Hungary was very physical. The Hungarians committed 22 fouls in the game and picked up 3 yellow cards from the 76th to 89th minute. You want to put in your young prospect (Halilovic) or your best defender who has been injured often this season (Lovren) into that game?”
the answer is this….it all depends on what he was trying to get from this match, on what played out in his mind and what his plan was…if it didn’t include playing Lovren, so what…really…soooo what!!!
read this line, it was used to describe Balaban, Olic and Srna.
“Pripreme” trojice naših nogometaša govore o nezrelosti naših igrača, koji su u inozemstvu vrhunski profesionalci, ali kada osjete miris Ludnice ili Fontane, u njima se probudi Balkan. A “Balkane moj” odavno je prisutan u našim igračima, jer sve naše pobjede su slavili ili u Ludnici ili Fontani..”
basically, it says that our players can behave as professionals at their clubs abroad…BUT, when they smell the taste of the two nightclubs Crazy House and Fontana, their Balkan mentality awakens.
This talks about about being a professional at your club and then coming home and acting like an idiot…like many in the Balkans. you can’t do this in Italy, Germany, Spain…or even countries like Sweden, Hungary and Romania. everyone knows that there is a lot of structure and discipline at that level, Lovren is just a mental midget and no matter how good his form is, that idiot is capable of fucking things up for everyone because of his shitty attitude!
Does anyone believe this guy is Croatian?
I have always been a huge Lovren supporter even when most of the writers on this site where cutting him up in his first season at Liverpool. He’s still my top choice of the current defenders….
That said, there is 0 case to be made to defend his actions.
Lovren started and played 90 minutes against Israel. Lovren has already been injured twice with Liverpool this season missing long stretches of games. He also has one of the busiest league schedules remaining for any Croatian player as he’s still playing tough games in Europe.
Cacic doesn’t need to justify his actions for not putting a player in. The second half against Hungary was very physical. The Hungarians committed 22 fouls in the game and picked up 3 yellow cards from the 76th to 89th minute. You want to put in your young prospect (Halilovic) or your best defender who has been injured often this season (Lovren) into that game?
If the game was “meaningless” as you confirmed when writing about Srna, why risk you best defender? Had Cacic played Lovren and he picked up an injury, you’d be on here writing how he’s a stupid coach for even playing him.
This was an exhibition game. Lovren shouldn’t have complained and opened his mouth publicly. He should never demand a spot in the starting 11… let your play dictate that. Cacic hasn’t kicked him off… he should apologize and move on.
This is the most useless drama I’ve ever seen over an exhibition game.
Or how about selecting a qualified coach.
Not excusing Lovren’s actions. But all of these things go hand in hand.
A player wouldn’t shit on his coach if the coach was selected based on merit and not based on friends and connections. You think Lovren is the only one who had a low opinion of the current coach. Only difference is the other players are more professional and wont say anything or don’t think there is a need to say anything.