Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic head the provisional list of 27 footballers that Croatian national head coach Ante Cacic has named for the Euro 2016 to be held from June 10 to July 10.
Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren was the only big name missing from the list declared on Monday but this was an expected move from Cacic since the player didn’t show any public regret after saying that he doesn’t have to be in the team for Euro 2016 in France if he is not a member of the starting lineup, reports Xinhua.
“Lovren can make his way back to the team when he will accept that he is equal to all the other members in the squad by showing some respect towards his teammates and coaching staff,” Cacic said at the media conference in Zagreb.
Croatian team will start the training camp on Friday, May 20 in Zagreb but there will be some high profile absentees. Skipper Darijo Srna still has to play the final of the Ukrainian Cup with Shakhtar Donetsk just like Juventus striker Mandzukic and Barcelona midfielder Rakitic. They will join the team on May 29 and will miss first of the two test matches in which Croatia will host Moldova on May 27 in Koprivnica.
The situation is even worse with Real Madrid duo Modric and Mateo Kovacic since they will fight for the 11th European champion title in UEFA Champions League final on May 28 against Atletico Madrid in Milan. Modric and Kovacic will join the team on June 2, just five days before the team will leave for their French base in Deauville.
That is one of the reasons that Cacic has included a few youngsters with no international experience on the list like 19-year-old midfielder Ante Coric and 20-year-old Marko Rog of Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb and 19-year-old defender Duje Caleta-Car from Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg.
“They got the call because they showed the quality playing in clubs or U-21 national team. I believe that those players will be the future stars of our team,” Cacic said.
Croatia will have the last test match before Euro 2016 against San Marino in Rijeka on June 4. It was eight year ago at EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, under guidance of present West Ham chief coach Slaven Bilic, that Croatia last made it through the group phase at the big tournament.
Under Bilic, Croatians failed to progress at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine from the group that included later champions Spain, Italy and Ireland and under Niko Kovac it was the same result at 2014 World Cup in Brazil in the group with hosts, Mexico and Cameroon.
Euro 2016 in France will be the first big tournament with Cacic on the bench and Croatia will try to put an end to the negative streak and progress to knockout phase playing in the Group D with Spain, Czech Republic and Turkey.
Croatian national team provisional list for Euro 2016:
Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Hajduk Split), Ivan Vargic (Rijeka), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb)
Defenders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Vedran Corluka (Lokomtiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kyiv), Gordon Schildenfeld (Dinamo Zagreb), Sime Vrsaljko (Sassuolo), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Ivan Strinic (Napoli), Duje Caleta-Car (RB Salzburg)
Midfielders: Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (FC Barcelona), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Ivan Perisic, Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Alen Halilovic (Sporting Gijon), Domagoj Antolic, Marko Rog, Ante Coric (Dinamo Zagreb)
Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Nikola Kalinic (Fiorentina), Marko Pjaca (Dinamo Zagreb), Andrej Kramaric (Leicester City/Hoffenheim), Duje Cop (Malaga).