Here we go!
Croatia’s last match before EURO 2021 kicks off on June 13th at Wembley against England takes place this Sunday. The Vatreni will take on a bruised and battered Belgium side in Brussels before they take off to the UK. Many Croatian supporters are upset at this week’s 1-1 draw against Armenia and the finishing in front of the net two weeks before a major tournament.
So what should we expect against Belgium this Sunday at 2:45PM (ET)?
If I were Dalić, I would start the same lineup as the the England match and only play key players 60 minutes.
Livaković in goal.
Barišić, Vida, DCC, Vrsaljko in the back four. I don’t see Bradarić pipping Barišić for the left-back spot.
Modrić and Brozović in the middle, of course.
Perišić and Rebić on the wings.
Kramarić plays a ‘False 9’ role behind the striker even though Croatia will play a forward. Dalić has experimented enough. Krama should no longer be played as Croatia’s highest attacker and should lie closer to the midfield as he does with Hoffenheim.
Play Petković or Budimir as the lone striker. I don’t care; flip a coin. Croatia needs a target man that will play bruiser in the box. Petković isn’t at 100% health but he can still cause problems in the box with his size. Even if he’s 80%, that should get the job done. Budimir has been in the form of his life in La Liga and has been scoring goals left and right with his head.
This is the way I would go. This leaves Brekalo and Vlašić on the bench to add ample speed and pace in the 2nd half.
Croatia has only won four of their last 12 matches since the COVID restart happened. That’s not good. Not good at all.
Belgium drew Greece in a Friendly on Thursday playing without Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne. I foresee a 1-1 draw against Belgium. Croatia has had trouble scoring goals in 2021. They only scored 2+ goals in the Malta match.
Save your tears of frustration if Croatia lose this match as well. It’s just a friendly. Try to gel and don’t get hurt. These guys will not be playing at 100% with England seven days away.
In 2018, Croatia lost to Peru in Miami, half the team left back home before the Mexico match even kicked off, and then lost to Brazil right before the World Cup began. It’s all about the tournament games. And the tournament games are almost here.