Sigh. Another disgraceful result. It’s embarrassing that we scheduled this friendly to use it as an “easy win to gain confidence” but then we went out and put on this display. Let’s hope this is similar to that Peru defeat and Brazil spanking, after which we dominated the 2018 World Cup. However, I think this is different. Armenia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Azerbaijan aren’t Peru or Brazil. The Vatreni played this game half-assed, they couldn’t finish and were shaky on defense. Same old story. Our squad craves an injection of youth, needs fresher tactics and better management. We can complain about all these things but ultimately, absolutely none of this is up to us. Croatia just drew to a team who’s right back is a Colombian immigrant who used to be an Uber driver. Their captain looks like a 50-year old village butcher. I mean, so does Škorić, but here’s my point; the Croatian National Team lacks quality. It’s as simple as that.
We have hungry youth players who are skilled, fast and ready to play but they never even get called up. I doubt the ones who even did will touch the field this summer. Vida, Lovren, Škorić, Juranović, Badelj, Barišić and Pašalić’s technical abilities aren’t even better than Armenia’s. It’s time to stop making excuses and hyping ourselves up more than we deserve. The harsh reality is that our players just aren’t good enough, and that we need to get our priorities together or we won’t even make it out of the group stage. We can have a perfectly skilled and youthful defensive core of Bradarić, Sosa, Gvardiol, Ćaleta-Car, Pongračić, Vusković, Vrsaljko and Uremović. But Dalić refuses. In fact, the veterans have become so comfortable that they know that no matter how badly they perform, their spot in the XI is still locked. At the end of the day, we don’t have any ruthless finishers to get the job done up top, and this game was an example of that. The way we play does not suit the strengths of our players and the tactics deployed (if you will even call them that) are nonexistent. After Perišić’s goal in the first half, he missed at least three surefire opportunities. Rebić missed some easy goals as well and so did Kramarić and Pašalić.
Livaković 6.5/10- Didn’t get any action and the one test he did get was a banger in the top left corner.
Barišić 2.5/10- Useless.
Ćaleta-Car 5/10- Worst game in the Croatian shirt. Almost let up a breakaway and wasn’t progressing the ball like he usually does. No better than Lovren after today.
Vida 6.5/10- Our best defender today.
Vrsaljko 4/10- You can tell he’s so rusty. Juranović has a good shot at starting the Euro campaign.
Modrić 7/10- One of Modrić’s less impressive games, yet he’s still our best player out there. Irreplaceable.
Brozović 4.5/10- Back pass after back pass.
Vlašić 4/10- Was he even on the pitch? All he did was his signature low shot early in the match. I mean, this guy dominates the best players in the RPL, but can’t put on a decent showing against Armenian farmers?
Kramarić 3/10- Another disappointing night for him. Only good play was that thread pass to Rebic who bottled it.
Perišić 6/10- The only reason his rating is this high, despite the countless missed opportunities, is because he was the only one trying to create things out there. A+ for effort.
Brekalo 5/10- Can’t give him more because he hardly played. Was decent while he did.
Pašalić 4/10- I think he made the worst header I’ve ever seen.
Juranović 6.5/10- Was working hard and had heart. Missed a decent chance.
Petković 3/10- Forgot this guy was on the pitch.
Škorić- I would say 7/10 before he messed up allowing their goal, I was genuinely impressed. Once Armenia equalized, his confidence was shot and was playing like a 4/10.
Rebić 4.5/10- Was in the mix getting chances but none accomplished anything. Horrible first touch today.
Badelj 3.5/10- Once again, did this guy touch the ball?
June 6th against Belgium, it will be Luka Modrić and Co’s last chance to give a glimmer of hope to Croatians around the globe. If we continue like we have been, brace yourselves for disappointment this summer, ladies and gentlemen. Onwards to Euro 2024, by which we will still be waiting on Gvardiol and Sučić’s first caps…
Today’s friendly between Croatia and Armenia was nothing more than a training exercise for the Vatreni. Just about every key player for Croatia is coming off a fantastic club season. With the likes of Belgium, England, Czech Republic, and Scotland on our upcoming schedule, why the hell would any of our players even put 50% effort into this match? Why the hell would some of Europe’s best players risk injury or fatigue in a friendly match against Armenia?
There’s no need to freak out. It’s not the end of the world. Chances are we won’t exit the Euro in the group stages. So what? We played cute against Armenia in a preparation match. No one is going to have a successful day in the office at 50% effort.
We easily could have bagged five goals in today’s match. With just 80% effort from the boys, we’d be slotting those chances easily. The chances were there, and although the finishing wasn’t, it really does not matter. We know that in important matches, players such as Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, and Ante Rebić have been some of the most clinical scorers in the world.
Let the boys have a little fun. It’s a training match, I can’t repeat that enough. We lost to Peru and got smacked by Brazil before the 2018 World Cup, and look what happened! We lost to Hungary, tied Wales and Azerbaijan in 2020 Euro Qualifiers, and we topped the group! One loss is not a meteor strike to Earth. It’s called a preparation match for a reason.
For crying out loud, Mile Škorić was the reason Armenia scored. We won’t see that in the Euro. Player Ratings:
Luka Modrić: 7/10 Mediocre performance. Completed some passes, created some opportunities but looked a little sloppy in doing so. Obviously wasn’t at 100%, but you can’t blame him.
Ivan Perišić: 7/10 Solid. Looked happy to be on the pitch, scored a wonderful header, but also bottled a very, very good opportunity in the first half. Changed the game on the offensive end.
Dominik Livaković: 6/10 We would have lost if he didn’t save a finesse shot at the end. Quiet, but solid on the ball.
Domagoj Vida: 6/10 Showed some pace on the pitch, worked hard to win tackles. Not bad.
Marcelo Brozović: 6/10 Eh.
Nikola Vlašić 6/10: Had a couple opportunities. Nothing good, nothing bad. Coming off an injury, so his performance was understandable.
Josip Juranović: 6/10 Looked hungry. Solid on defense and offense, showed a good amount of pace.
Josip Brekalo 5.5/10: Was good while on the pitch, sadly left early due to an injury.
Duje Ćaleta-Car 5.5/10: Looked a bit shaky. Couple errors, won lots of headers.
Mario Pašalić: 5/10 Definitely should’ve had a brace. Sloppy in his finishing. Bad with his head.
Šime Vrsaljko: 5/10 Rusty. Very rusty. Coming off an injury, it would scare me to see him against England’s front line.
Ante Rebić: 5/10 Half-fit. Can’t blame him for playing slow.
Bruno Petković: 4.5/10 Almost played as an attacking mid. No offensive threat.
Milan Badelj: 4/10 Why is he in our squad?
Mile Škorić: 4/10 Seems like a nice guy. Lol.
Andrej Kramarić: 3.5/10 Where was he…