Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić has announced his final 26- man FIFA World Cup roster on Wednesday. He did so, by cutting the minimum of eight players from the Croatia provisional squad made public last week. Here is a look at the 2022 Croatia World Cup roster!
Dominik Livaković (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivica Ivušić (NK Osjek), Ivo Grbić, (Atlético Madrid).
Domagoj Vida (AEK Athens), Dejan Lovren (Zenit St. Petersburg), Borna Barišić (Glasgow Rangers), Josip Juranović, (Celtic Glasgow) Joško Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Borna Sosa VfB Stuttgart), Josip Stanišić, (Bayern Munich) Martin Erlić (Sassuolo FC), Josip Šutalo (Dinamo Zagreb).
Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovačić (Chelsea), Marcelo Brozović (Inter), Mario Pašalić (Atalanta Bergamo), Nikola Vlašić (Torino), Lovro Majer (Stade Rennes), Kristijan Jakić (Eintracht Frankfurt), Luka Sučić (RB Salzburg).
Ivan Perišić (Tottenham Hotspur), Andrej Kramarić (TSG Hoffenheim), Bruno Petković(Dinamo Zagreb), Mislav Oršić (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Budimir (Osasuna CF), Marko Livaja (Hajduk Split).
That means that in terms of goalkeepers, Dalić predictably left Dominik Kotarski (PAOK Thessaloniki) and Nediljko Labrović (HNK Rjeka) off his roster. Duje Ćaleta-Car (Southampton) and Marin Pongračić (Lecce) were the defenders that the Croatia coach did not put on the final list. That isn’t much of a surprise either. Despite the fact that Stanišić only received minimal playing time at his club.
Dalić clearly believes in the versatile Bayern Munich youngster, who can play all positions in the back line. In the midfield, it is unsurprising that Josip Mišić (Dinamo Zagreb) did not make the team, but the omission of his club colleague Luka Ivanušec may certainly have come unexpectedly for some.
Finally, in the attack the coach opted to cut Josip Brekalo, (VfL Wolfsburg) and Antonio Mirko Čolak (Glasgow Rangers). Ultimately there are no real shocks there either, even though Čolak was playing decently for his club.
Overall, Dalić’s choices make sense. Whether or not that means that the team will do well in Qatar remains to be seen. The quality is certainly there. Yet, other Croatia World Cup squads had plenty of quality too, while with the significant exceptions of the 1998 bronze medal team and the 2018 silver medal team, they never made it out of the group stage as an independent country. In 2010, they failed to even qualify for the tournament.
Final Thoughts on Croatia World Cup Roster
That said, the 2018 run to the World Cup final is still fresh on the minds of the Croatian people. Many of that team’s key players led by captain Luka Modrić are on this squad as well. Even at the age of 37, the Real Madrid midfielder is still in excellent shape and hoping to make his dream of winning a title with his national team a reality. Modrić has won everything there is to win at club level several times over.
Knowing that this will be his last major international tournament, it might push him and his teammates to greatness in Qatar. It could also prove to be an added burden on them, only time will tell.
Croatia will start the competition in Group F, where they will face Morocco, Canada and Belgium. This could prove to be a difficult group. Especially given Croatia’s history of underestimating lesser-known, particularly non-European opponents at World Cups.
The game against Morocco is an especially tricky opener, since it is the first World Cup in a Middle Eastern country. That match could go a long way in terms of deciding whether or not the team can advance beyond the group play.
It will be interesting to see what starting lineup, coach Dalić will ultimately choose. That is especially true for the back line and the position of the center forward. This World Cup will undoubtedly be more difficult than the 2018 tournament in Russia. But a similarly positive outcome for Croatia is certainly possible. The main aim will be to continue the good form that has qualified them for next summer’s UEFA Nations League Final Four and to see how far that takes them.
Let us know your thoughts on the Croatia World Cup roster in the comments below!
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