UPDATE: Gvardiol suffered a broken nose and picked up a pretty mean black eye Wednesday night. He has been cleared to play in the World Cup and is expected to wear a mask. There were no signs of any breaks/fractures in his skull. Croatian hard head. 🙂
The concerning news of the day is Joško Gvardiol, who is slated to start in the Croatian back-4 at the World Cup. Gvardiol went up for a header Wednesday night and slammed his face against his own teammate. He was subbed out immediately in RB Leipzig’s 3-1 win over Freiburg. Reports out of Croatia are saying Gvardiol will have an X-ray/MRI in the morning to see the extent of the injury. Now, there’s a lot going on here as Gvardiol could have a concussion, broken nose, or orbital fracture; or a combination of all three. But it seems like just a broken nose.
If he picked up a concussion, he should be fine for the World Cup. However, a broken nose would mean he would have to wear a mask and any kind of orbital fracture could see him possibly ruled out of the World Cup. Gvardiol is a big boy but it looked like he was part of a losing UFC title fight effort as he walked off the pitch. Gvardiol is one of the keys to Croatian success in Qatar. If he’s not able to play, that would be a huge loss. The most recent reports are saying he has a broken nose, per NewsInFrance and a quote from Dalić in Jutarnji.
We are now exactly 2 weeks away from Croatia’s World Cup opener against Morocco on November 23rd and one week away from their lone friendly – against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh – on the 16th. The 26-man squad has been made official, but who is in finest form?
Wednesday night in Serie A action, Nikola Vlašić easily took ‘Man of the Match’ honors with a goal and assist in Torino’s 2-0 win over Sampdoria. He has found a nice, comfy home in Northern Italy and has been the Nikola Vlašić we all know he can be this campaign. He has gotten out of the bright lights of London (West Ham) for Torino, who are expected to finish middle of the pack. It will be interesting to see who Dalić plays on the right flank, but if Vlašić can be aggressive at the World Cup with the confidence he already picked up this season, we should expect a goal or two from him in Qatar.
Marcelo Brozović came off the bench for a second straight game for Inter Milan Wednesday night in a 6-1 win over Bologna. Brozović is coming off a month-long thigh injury that he picked up in September. He played 30 minutes against Bologna, and even though he may not be 100% yet, this is a great sign for the World Cup as he has two more weeks to get stronger.
Both Borna’s assisted on game winners this week as Borna Sosa supplied a corner kick at the death which was headed home for a 2-1 Stuttgart win over Hertha Berlin. Borna Barišić sent a perfect low pass to Rangers teammate Malik Tillman in the middle of the box for a 1-0 victory over Hearts. Sosa is expected to start in Qatar alongside Ivan Perišić. Both are crossing wizards, but will the Vatreni have a point-man ready to meet them on the other end?
Luka Modrić had one of his worst games for Real Madrid Monday night in a loss to Rayo Vallecano. But who cares as long as he is healthy?!
Mateo Kovačić played the full 90 minutes for Chelsea in a Carabao Cup match against Man City where both sides looked to play their B-squads. City easily handled Chelsea 2-0 with the Londoners looking like a shell of themselves. We will see what happens after the WC, but Kova may have to get out of West London for the sake of his career. Chelsea are bad.