The Croatian national football team begin their Euro 2016 run on Thursday in Pula with a friendly against Cyprus. It’s a warmup match for the opening qualifier against Malta on Tuesday.
The Cyprus friendly, which kicks off at 2:15PM (ET), is expected to pit some of Croatia’s new young blood with stone cold starting XI locks such as Mario Mandžukić and Luka Modrić. However, with a watered down qualification looming, as the top two teams from the group automatically book a trip to France in the 24-team tournament, this friendly may not be the last time you see a group of young Croatians play together during the next 18-month period.
Manager Niko Kovač expects to start Barcelona B transfer Alen Halilovic Thursday as well as Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Marcelo Brozović. Tin Jedvaj is now getting solid minutes at Bayer Leverkusen while veteran Nikica Jelavic already has two goals to his name in Hull City.