World Cup qualifying returns on Friday, as Croatia continues their journey to Russia. It should be a fascinating match against a rejuvenated Ukraine side managed by legendary striker Andriy Shevchenko. Ukraine is currently two points behind Croatia in Group I. For the first time in two years, Croatia will actually play behind their supporters in a competitive game. The lengthy … [Read more...] about How Croatia Should Adjust Without 3 Key Starters Against Ukraine
Separating the beautiful game from politics can be challenging. Between 2012-2013, I stopped watching the sport and closely following the national team. Former manager Igor Stimac changed the formation for every qualifying match. Inserting Sammir into the squad was an insult. The inclusion of Davor Suker as president only increased poor morale surrounding a once-exciting … [Read more...] about Remaining invested in the Croatia national team
There were a fair amount of groans about Croatia drawing Portugal in the round of 16. A somewhat favorable matchup against Iceland seemed to be on the cards. That notion ended when they scored on a last-second counter attack against Austria, which resulted in one of the greatest commentary moments ever. It also meant that Croatia was going to face an underachieving Portugal … [Read more...] about Another major tournament, another cruel ending
There were several lingering questions surrounding Croatia going into Euro 2016. Disregard the ongoing turmoil within the federation. Nobody knew what to make of a talented squad that hadn’t played consistently well for a sustainable period of time since 2012. Would Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic finally play well together? Can Mario Mandzukic regain his scoring excellence? Will … [Read more...] about An inspired team effort brings much-needed optimism back to Croatia
Following a shaky qualifying campaign, several questions surrounded Croatia’s squad. Left back, holding midfielder, and an attacking winger opposite Ivan Perisic have been problematic positions over the past two years. Relying on declining players such as Ivica Olic and Danijel Pranjic proved to be detrimental. A lack of development at those positions is another reason behind … [Read more...] about Can an endless problem at defensive midfielder be solved at Euro 2016?
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 … [Read more...] about The case for defending Dejan Lovren against Ante Čačić
Ten teams, five matches, one goal. Only one goal was scored this weekend, the fewest ever scored in a match week in HNL history. The lone goal was ruled an own goal by RNK Split’s Branko Vrgoć during their 1-0 loss to NK Lokomotiva. Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split played to a scoreless draw at Poljud on Saturday, but all eyes were on referee Bruno Marić after … [Read more...] about HNL Week 10 – Goalless draws; Ante Čaćić Takes Over Vatreni