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Croatia, a world runner-up reinvented

06/26/2021

On at 21:49 CEST

Reinvent yourself or die. In soccer, winning teams are required to make changes during their heyday so as not to fall into stagnation. After being the revelation of the last World Cup, in which she was runner-up, the Croatia national football team began a new stage within the same cycle, led by Zlatko Dalic. Several footballers of the spine ‘Vatreni’ they took a step to the side to allow the entry of troops of the new generation: the former blue Rakitic, Mandzukic and Subatic announced their retirement from the national team and Strinic paused his football career due to heart problems.

Between the starting line-up of the final of the World Cup in Russia and that of the third game of the group stage of this European Championship, which allowed them to dispel the doubts of the first two days and qualify for the eighth, Croatia made six changes. The four footballers mentioned were joined by the absences of Vrsaljko Y Rebic, which did start in the defeat against England and in the draw against the Czech Republic, but not against Scotland, the match in which Dalic’s men showed a version similar to the one they were allowed to star in less than three years ago one of the most surprising feats in recent World Cup history.

Dalic’s doubts

The average age of the new Croatian batch –Livakovic, Juranovic, Gvardiol, Kovasic, Vlasic and Petkovic– is 24 years old, a fairly low figure that blends in perfectly with the veteran center-back couple formed by Lovren Y Lifetime, the leadership of Modric and the hierarchy of Brozovic in the center of the field and the offensive inspiration of Perisic, all of them present in Russia.

In view of the cross against Spain, Dalic will not be able to count on Lovren, sanctioned, and you will have to find some alternative. Gvardiol is the favorite to replace him, a fact that would allow Barisic to enter the starting eleven, as a left back. On the right flank, the Balkan team hesitates between give continuity to the irruption of Juranovic or trust Vrsaljko again. In attack, it seems that Rebic will have a difficult time regaining ownership.

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