Hey guys, not to be a “Debbie Downer” here or rain on anyone’s parade, but when is it time to talk about the elephant in the room? Or if you don’t want to talk about the elephant because you’re still hopped up on Dida’s rakija from Croatia’s first ever victory over the French, I completely understand.
What Modrić and the boys did from a results perspective after the 3-0 loss to Austria is incredible- Nations League or not. They rebounded against a very good French B-Squad in a 1-1 draw before hitting the road and bagging two victories in Copenhagen and Paris. In the three matches post-Austria, the Croatian defense only conceded one goal total (to France). Fantastic! (More to come on Erlić, Šutalo, Stanišić later in the week)
But let’s talk about the anemic offense and YOUR personal concern for the lack of scoring. Croatia scored one goal each game after Austria. That’s three goals total. However, two came from the penalty spot. That means in four total Nations League matches across the last 10 days, our beloved Vatreni only scored one goal from open play in 360 minutes. And that was Pašalić’s nutmeg of Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
That’s not good. Not five months before the World Cup.
There were two things I said Dalić needed to get closer to figuring out these four Nations League games in June:
- Who is the best goalkeeping option for Croatia? Ivušić is my pick at the moment
- Who is the best option to play starting striker?
It’s a shame we did not get to see Petar Musa or Marko Livaja this month due to COVID protocols. I wanted both of them to put pressure on Krama and Budimir this summer while they lay on the beach and ponder their World Cup futures.
Krama was average over the past four matches in creating chances and Budimir was lackluster at best. Using Pašalić as a striker is not an option in my book so we’re right back to ‘Square 1’ from my perspective. Kramarić is still the best striking option we have as not much was learned this week.
Granted, Croatia did not have their best scoring/crossing threat on the field – Mr. Ivan Perišić – but c’mon, one open field goal in four matches. That’s worrisome.
On a scale of 1-10, how worried are you that Croatia will not have a proper striker at the World Cup in five months?