Friday at 2:45pm (ET), Croatia will be facing off against top of the group Denmark in a rather important match for our NL campaign. A win would put us in a great position in the group, but a loss would see us threatened by relegation.
There is all kinds of speculation as to how Croatia will line-up in this next match considering all the injuries, who we need to rest, and who will play where. As of now, the only guaranteed starter for Friday’s match-up is said to be Dominik Livaković in goal.
Defense: Gvardiol is out, so the five remaining options at center-back are Martin Erlić, Domagoj Vida, Josip Šutalo, Duje Ćaleta-Car and Marin Pongračić. I think it’s fair to say that after the Austria match, the latter two shouldn’t be suiting up against a far more dynamic Danish attack. Vida had an okay game overall against the French, besides his horrible missed pass and his lack of speed in catching up to a dashing Moussa Diaby. Erlic however, was absolutely phenomenal for a debut match. He seems to be exactly what we always wanted Ćaleta-Car to be. He is tall, faster than Duje, and confident. But best of all, he’s smart and knows how to anticipate plays well. He would bite when he had to and stay back when it was needed. I believe he would pair very well with Joško Gvardiol. As for Josip Šutalo, I’d like to see him get some minutes versus the Danes, but I’m not so sure it’s the smartest thing to pair him with Erlić, making it a very inexperienced center-back duo. Perhaps starting with an Erlić-Vida pairing is a safer bet in a very winnable, but difficult matchup. Keep in mind, the Danish forwards may be very good and intelligent, but they do not present the speed that France does, and so Vida should be more than fine to captain that back-line. If Sosa and Vrsaljko are fit, they need to start. Juranović has been very shaky lately and is definitely not reliable enough on defense. He oftens pinches up the field, leaving acres of land behind him for opposing players to exploit. His eager tackle against Austria cost us their second goal.
Midfield: Here’s where it gets tough. Do we rest Modrić? We definitely need to rest one of Kovačić or Brozović, right? Kovačić has been so dynamic for us lately and has been one of our best players during this NL campaign, but I think he deserves a rest. Start with Modrić on the bench too. I would line-up with Marcelo Brozović alongside youngster Luka Sučić in the midfield as a sort of double-pivot. Sučić made an instant impact when he entered the pitch at Poljud. The kid has a cut-throat eye for goal and brings a different aspect to the game that any one of our midfielders do. Modrić-Broz-Kova may dominate possession and control the tempo of the game, but none of them are as offensive-minded as Luka Sučić. He came on with a goal in mind, and he delivered, causing the tying goal and almost sinking in the game-winner. If he starts, he will press the Danes down and link-up with our attack, causing a goal. Lovro Majer operates most comfortably in the middle of the pitch so let’s give him a crack at the CAM role, despite his excellent recent play at RW. Option two would be to start Brozović and Modric, give Sučić the CAM role and move Majer to the right. Either of those two line-ups would excel against Denmark, but most importantly, we’d give ourselves a better chance of scoring goals, which is the only thing we lack as of now, scoring 0 goals from open play.
Attack: Kramarić was given the nod from the penalty spot, and he delivered. Scoring 5 times in his last 7 games in a Croatian kit, Kramarić’s confidence is sky high. In my opinion, he needs to start. If Petar Musa is fit, I’d like to see him subbed on and given a chance. Another option would be playing Mario Pašalić in the 9 role. At the wings, we will once again be without Ivan Perišić. If Lovro Majer does not play in the CAM role, he needs to be a lock at RW for me. Mislav Oršić should start at LW and Josip Brekalo can have the game off. If Majer is in the midfield, Brekalo shifts to the right and Oršić on the left.
A result is expected against Denmark, whether that be a win or a draw. Losing to the two “weakest” teams in our group would be a huge failure, despite having drawn with the French. The Danes are a wildcard, and most certainly have a very organized and dangerous team, they even beat the French 2-1 on matchday 1, however, if you compare our squad to theirs, on paper, we’re the stronger team and there is no debating that. If we play like we did against France but with more attacking movement, which I think Lovro Majer and Luka Sučić can provide, then we will win this game and move up to second place in the group.
Croatiansports.com’s Predicted XI: Livaković; Sosa, Vida, Erlić, Vrsaljko; Brozović, Modrić; Oršić, Sučić, Majer; Kramarić
Three quarters of you guys on here are clowns , you are definitely not with the program , can you even speak Hrvatski Za Rob Nikoga
Dalic is tactically clueless. Im sorry thanks for 2018 but time to go. This motivation and blaming things on stadiums the weather the schedule is getting redundant. The other teams are also tired not just croatia.
If you dont have wingers for this cycle play a 4 3 2 1 or where is the 3 5 2 formation without wings were the full back push foward.
Knowing Dalic orisic will play left back tommorow.
We are thrid weakest team.in this group denmark are better than us at the moment if we play 1 1 good result
I’m so sorry for your response Richard,coach
Dalič is for you Master and
Please do not comment on
Mr Dalič because yours comments are worthless.
Our midfield is ageing..kovacic is 28 and youngest proven midfielder..with brozovic and modric past 30 and 35 respectively..there is no one ready to replace them readily..by right we shd have players at age 23-28 taking over like coric balic rog muric halilovic..but sadly they move to wrong club too early.
Coric moved to roma..
Balic moved to udinese
Rog moved to napoli
Muric moved to ajax
Halilovic moved to barce
All could not even start for their clubs..playing as reserves.
Players like sucic and majer shd be another younger grp of players being in age grp 19-23
Our centre back is weak..benkovic and jedvaj should be performing..but sadly move to leicester and roma is wrong move too.
We need stanisic to try playing as CB..he is solid for bayern whenever called upon..give him a chance.
Only position I’m truly worried about is our wing play. I feel like Majer and Sucic are great players to replace Modric and kova when the time comes.
Our back line I’m not worried,
Sosa and gvardiol are really good players and I feel confident that another strong CB will emerge out of the whole lot of young guys we have I truly believe erlic, sutalo and vuskovic will be good player also smolcic is another to keep eye on.
Strikers seem like their coming, Musa going to benfica is great that’s a great move they don’t buy players just for the sake of buying them. Simic looks like real deal also.
But once perisic retires then we have big problems, we don’t have great wingers. Maybe Vlasic can develop and be good on the right maybe? But left Brekalo and Orsic are huge drop off. Hopefully Biuk can develop in time for next euros but man was he disappointing last season. Wingers is truly the one position I think will have a hard time with as there’s no Perišić on the rise at the moment and one can argue Perišić has been top 3 most important players last 6 years.
Top 2 next to Modric, to be fair. Perisic has been exceptional for us since 2018 and had produced an abundance of opportunities for us to score, and he is defensively minded on top of everything else. He has a lot of everything, not quite in the sense that Modric does but he provides a lot for the National team, and even now you see without him we cannot score, or can barely score it’s a serious problem.
He is who I wanted Rebic to be, I was really routing for Rebic in Serie A and had some good seasons but he just shit the bed in the Euro an exceptional way and does not have the technical skills to be a solid player for us. So back to square one.
Correct me if I am wrong but I feel almost as if Sucic could be a good option. That one opportunity was miss but he nearly scored if he started we may have done better.
Kovacic has another 5 years, brozovic another 4, meantime we have majer, sucic, Jakic, moro, baturina. I dont know who else. We will always have top midfielders. We are unlucky with strikers and goalkeepers right now but those will come as well. We will be just fine…
Jokes aside, if we don’t find a striker we’re playing false 9 which is actually good for our style of soccer. I’m hoping Budimir, Musa, Sucic, Simic if they call him, can do something from now until the WC.
Sucic looked lively for his brief cameo.
I was actually really impressed with Sucic he nearly scored.
I am starting to believe he needs to start. I agree with one of the other comments that having Modric, Brozovic, and Kovacic altogether is too much of same. You need some offensively minded people in the mix. Majer is good but again I am not all to sure that he plays offensively enough either, personally I think Sucic is a better choice, Pasalic is good he just isn’t consistently putting the ball in the net, that should have been a goal against Austria. It was an open net practically.
Who are the most fringe Cro players we’ve had historically?
Sokota, Prso, Vranjes, Vugrinec, Pamic, Krpan, Mornar, Budan, Kozniku, Neretljak, Agic, Sharbini Bros, Bosnjak, Seric.
Anyone else I miss?
Prso wasn’t fringe — he was a key component.
you can add Juranovic – he’s garbage- small , slow- opening for him on Croatian U12 but the guys on that team are bigger and faster
Gvardiol erlic partnership would like to see that in september if erlic continues to play well in italy he really looked good vs france cc is there still have vuskovic the good old lovren vida sutalo borekovic even uremovic if he plays in new club. Jedvaj maybe goes out of russia havent given up on him have a feeling he would good spot starter nesr future.
Maybe Pjaca gets on team stays healthy to have wing dept shame really liked him sad he is made of glass.
Strikers Shame Musa git covid really wanted to see him. Maybe dion beljo gets playing time for osijek and im reading they will sell him. Maybe Simic plays for rb salsburg and earns and A call up.
CAN YOU PLEASE SPEAK IN COMPREHENSIBLE ENGLISH / FULL SENTENCES? Are you speaking in code or something? Do you not know how to use commas and periods? You write like you’re about to piss in your pants but feel the need to get ALL your thoughts out in a post before you get to the toilet.
Prospects some pan out some flop thats life.
I remember when they said Perisic was gonna be a flop back in 2011
Like i say i dont trust the croatian media as mamic payed them to hype his crap players. I believe in players i see play and have skill. Croatian media have hyped so many players examples
Vukusic Coric Halilovic Balic Muric Simunovic Benkovic Jedvaj Brodic just afew
I like players that nobody hyped as teens and become footballers at early mid 20s.
Experiment. That’s what nations league is for. It’s fine to go down to the b league makes us hungrier to show ourselves plus can get you another route into tournaments.
Rankings are bogus, tournament performance is all that matters-WC and Euro.
That’s where we shine!
Stick with Budimir and Kramaric the goals will come when necessary.
Just like 2018 we will perform when we have to.
It’s better if we are written off as old and of no consequence. Great motivation!!!
Bog i Hrvati
We sure did perform in the last Euro. The team has been mediocrity since the World Cup. Even our prospects have been crap.
Dalic and his coaching staff are garbage.
Crap prospect pool? That’s funny
Professional scouts have backed my opinion that we have a top 5 prospect pool in the world
We’ll be releasing articles surrounding our biggest talents soon after NL so stay tuned if you really still believe we have “crap” prospects
We were unlucky to lose to Spain.
Should’ve put them away in the first ten minutes of extra time. Overall we performed quite well. After that the Italians, who we never lose to.
Where did the Italians 30 game unbeaten run get them?
Out of the WC!
We play well when there’s something on the line, full stop.
It’s the Croatian way!!!
Bog i Hrvati
I’m all for trying things out and seeing if anyone else will shine at striker, goalkeeper, and finding out who will be good backups. But I wouldn’t dismiss rankings that much. If we lose too many of these types of games it drops our rankings and forces us into lower pots which hurts our chances in future tournaments.
Perisic … Brozovic …kovacic….Sosa…
I think this is our best option based on the fact that Dalic will no matter what start the Big 3. This is in my opinion the best way too utilize the 3.
Perisic play fullback at inter and got bought to play fullback at Tottenham he can play that position. We are terrible with only 1 striker we need to play with 2. And again Modric kova and brozo will start no matter what and to me playing with 3 at the back is the only way it works. I don’t see our lack of scoring changing if we continue with the big 3 and playing 4-3-3 we don’t have strong enough wing play and whatever striker we start alone isn’t good enough to play isolated we don’t t have a Haaland or lewondowski. Also this just feels like a Croatian line up I think we’re trying to play soccer which isn’t t us.
Lovro Zvonarek !!
Modrić needs a rest from the start, if not the whole match. We got France three days later in Paris.
Kovačić should start as he is in good form and rhythm. He had off healing his ankle to finish the season and you have to have either him or Modrić in the middle.
Kramaric has earned a start. We definitely need to see Musa if available in the second half.
I would start Oršić on the LW. He brings pace and is due to play better.
Vlašić or Sučić to join the middle and provide more attacking thrust. I like what I saw from Vlašić and Sučić seems to glide on the pitch.
Majer on the RW. He is too good to leave out.
I actually would give Car another shot to start with Erlic.
Modric not starting vs denmark. It will be a mix team even dalic said yesterday.
We need a result in denmark but man they are tricky side very good on D and counter attacking very underrated national team imo.
I have a problem with Dalic and his tactics makes no sense playing player out of position i know our players say i will play anywhere for croatia bla bla but you grew up training to be a DM you cant play striker expample.
Same majer is wasted at Wing postion.
Brekalo dragi sit on bench terrible 2 games imo.
Gotta go with youth movement why is it that Deshamps started 3 20 year olds you will never see Our coach do that never. Its always same tactics from us its an open book and getting out coached because rememeber 2018 team just as 1998 team only needed a motivator not a strucnjak to get result.
Dalic got out coached in 2018 just some luck and you had team spirit and individuals who carried him.
With two away matches coming up against Denmark and France, you have to ask which game can we win ? In my opinion it is against Denmark. Draw under normal circumstances would be a great result, however draw is not good enough and if we are to go ahead of Austria we need to win one of these matches to go above Austrians providing Austria loses to France and Denmark ?
The boys will have 4 days rest and we need to start with our strongest lineup and go for a win against Denmark. Last I heard Sosa and Vrsaljko have injuries and I would not start with them. Forget about resting Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic, they need to start. Fresh legs can come on in second half.
If we can win in Denmark ?? against France I would just about change the entire team and use all other squad players who should be fresh enough to run and compete with the French.
Iggy, hope Australia doesn’t qualify. Lost all support for the Socceroos many years ago
I used to absolutely HATE them when they had Lucas Neill and that pack of absolute whingers, they used to be real scumbags both with whinging and whining about every loss and also just total racists when they first joined the AFC, basically calling every other country dirty cheats while of course they are as pure as the driven snow.
So, yeah, i get it, there’s a lot to hate but i feel like _most_ of that is somewhat historical, now that they are a shit team that has been humbled over and over and been cut down a peg or two, i feel like they aren’t such annoying arrogant pricks, so i do want them to qualy now.
Also, isn’t France’s group crossed with Hrvatska in the WC? Cos I would love Aus to somehow progress from that group and play us if possible, i know it’s unlikely but hey u never know!
No our group crosses over with the group containing Spain and Germany.
Damn that sucks
Australia still in with a chance of making the wc! Yay! lol
Markus, fantastic analysis. Spot on with everything.
Considering that it was his first cap for the team, Martin Erlić was phenomenal. I mean, to ask a youngster to step up and start vs. France, alongside Vida, is quite the request. Not only did he do his job, but even more than I had expected. Hopefully this means a transfer to a larger club than Spezia.
One other CB that I don’t see enough talk about is Mario Vušković, currently playing for Hamburger in the 2. Bundesliga. Only 20 years-old and already showings signs of having the goods. In league play last season, he averaged a 7.32 FotMob match rating over 24 matches played. The club’s supporters love him, and he’s obviously carried his talents over from Hajduk. Now yes, 2. BuLi isn’t all that great, but I think he will be the one to lineup next to Gvardiol going forward, either him or Šutalo.
We can most definitely beat this Denmark side, as on paper, we are the better team – for sure. But how are we going to show up? Fierce and hungry, or “oh, it’s just a glorified friendly”. Now that we got a result vs. France, I’m a liiiitle bit more hooked onto how the rest of Nations League will play out for us. Really just don’t want to face relegation at this point.
Juranovic is horrid- just watched the highlights of the France game- that guy is too slow and too small- get him out of there before he can do any damage
considering us a clear top two team in this group seems unwarranted
I was interested to hear you not characterize brekalo s as explosive. I had always thought speed is one of his traits. I find more so he struggles to get into fast break one on one situations down the flank like perisic always seems to get himself into. Perhaps just not as good at sprinting himself free
@ all who miss mandzukic
For a long time for the National team mandzo was scoring very few goals and there was anger over him starting at the World Cup, in which he ended up having a great performance. After about 2014 his scoring rate for the National team plummeted. But as usual short term memory by this site
@the truth spot on i remeber euro 2016 when fans were jebavali majku why kalinic kramaric or even cop dont start ahead of mandzo.
Dalic just needs to give this guy a chance and let him fly
Livakovic just got moved to U 12 Hamilton Croatia and still sucks on that team
Let’s Go Hamilton Croatia 🇭🇷!!
@steven. I agree. There is nothing like Croats from the Hammer. Passionate and loving it! ❤️
I’ll never ever forget the Hamilton fans after we beat Hamilton Serbs in an Ontario cup quarter final while the war was going on in the 90’s.
They treated us like kings even though we were from out of town.I was hung over for a week.
Great group of guys!
Hey Branko – i was on that team!!! What’s your last name?
Branko is an alias we had no branko’s on that team.
Kind of like you going by TOM 😉
right on- my son played there -those kids give it and there is no let up- and coaches can kick ass and parent support is very good.
Probably getting relegated to u11 Sudbury next
Vrsalko, Erlic, Vida, Sosa
Majer, Pasalic, Sucic
Kramaric, Musa, Orsic
Delac. Why not? He plays there I believe. Couldn’t be worse
I wouldn’t sit out Ćaleta-Car and Marin Pongračić simply because of the Austria game. They have the size and strength to take on those pesky Danes. There won’t be any throw-in goals with those two out there.
Besides, It’s time for World Cup prep.
Let everyone know that spots are up for grabs and see if that can motivate them.
We all know Gvardiol is a guarantee for one CB spot at the World Cup…but the other one is still up for grabs.
I would play all four available CBs and give each one a half. If one of them is really killing it and doing well, and the other is lagging a bit, then just make one sub (and try out the other CB next game).
Since Gvardiol likes to push forward, I would evaluate each CB by looking for the one that is more likely to hang back and provide cover (as our backline is pretty offensively oriented).
I still think Duje secures the second CB spot and partners with Gvardiol at the World Cup. He comes off as a lazy Dalmatinac to me, where he’s very talented and capable…but will only show up when it matters. I can see him suddenly playing well at the World Cup.
Hey hey dalmatincis aren’t lazy
We just look it hahaha
Erlic has proven he can provide everything Duje does, but better and with more passion. He has better timing. Knows when to lunge forward into a tackle and when to sit back and allow some space. He would pair very well with an aggressive CB like Gvardiol. Duje just got fatter and slower and he’s often caught out of position (vs England at the Euros) or unresponsive (allowing Arnautovic all that space to set his shot).
Maybe. It’s one game and we have to see more of him.
I didn’t get the sense that Erlić has the technical ability and passing (both short passing and long balls) that Duje is capable of.
Playing in Italy (where disciplined defense is important) is a good sign and maybe he has that over Duje. Gotta play him some more to find out.
Momčad protiv Danske mogla bi izgledati ovako (4-2-3-1): Livaković – Stanišić, Erlić, Vida, Barišić – Jakić, Sučić – Vlašić, Pašalić, Oršić – Kramarić
I love croatia but we are not better than denmark imo on paper by names yes but results wise denmark are better last 4 years.
Vlasic Sucic Orisic should get starts vs denmark. If Sime cant go probably Stanisic maybe dalic puts vida and sutalo together and v frnace cc erlic play together.
“On paper” means the names
Results aside, our team, player by player is better than theirs
Football is a team game not individual id rather have a team than stars at each position and be shit like england from 2002 to 2010.
Of course. Once again, not my point. The Danes are working as a unit and are proving your point. My point is that we have more talent and just need to find a way to fire on all cylinders. If we can figure our shit out like they have, we’ll be even more dangerous than they are.
“I love croatia but we are not better than denmark imo, on paper by names yes, but results wise denmark are better last 4 years.”
That’s what Miki meant.
Want to see Musa playing as striker with Kramaric on support (either behind or on wing). Budimirs not cutting it.
I would look for more attacking players on the wing and in general, like Orsic and Krama. Brekalo and Majer are both great but lack the goal scoring prowess we need more of.
Would like to see more of Sučić as well
Vrsaljko. Erlic. Sutalo. Sosa
Vlasic. Majer. Sucic. Orsic.
Brozo, kova and Modric don’t need to play. Honestly they’ve already played enough. I’d play young guys against Denmark and come back against France with some of the senior guys.