Croatia’s squad for crucial Euro 2024 qualifiers sees new additions

Marko Pjaca returns to Croatian football

Marko Pjaca is recalled (Photo credit: Svetlana Beketova/soccer.ru)

Croatia’s national football team coach Zlatko Dalić today announced his squad for the last two qualification matches for the Euro 2024 against Latvia and Armenia.

On November 18, Croatia will visit Latvia, and on November 21, they will host Armenia in Zagreb in the final group match.

After two disappointing loses last month against Turkey and Wales, Dalić promised new faces and today he called up a few who were not involved last month, including midfielder Luka Šučić attacker Marko Pjaca and defender Marin Pongracic.

Pjaca recalled

Pjaca, who has played 24 times for Croatia, suffered a serious injury in a friendly match against Estonia in 2017 when tore his anterior cruciate ligament. He spent 319 days out of football.

After an injury-plagued seven years, Pjaca returned to Croatian football when he signed for Rijeka in the summer. Pjaca played for Croatia at Euro 2016, where he impressed, and was part of the silver medal-winning 2018 World Cup squad and came on in the final against France.

He last played for Croatia in November of 2018.

Nikola Vlasic, Borna Barišić, Petar Musa and Josip Brekalo have all been dropped from the squad which played against Turkey and Wales earlier this month.

“We have found ourselves in a situation where we no longer solely depend on ourselves in the group, but we still hold our qualification for the Euros in our own hands. Of course, we hope to avoid the additional qualifiers, but we won’t dwell on Wales as we cannot influence their results. We must solely focus on ourselves and our matches, perform our job to the maximum, and secure six points as we did in September. We were disappointed in October, and now we must humbly, decisively, and together rectify that impression,” said coach Dalić for the HNS website.

“It’s understandable that after two poor matches, we make some changes to the roster and incorporate several new players who have deserved it through their form. We have also sent out nine standbys, so in the next two weeks, we will see whom else we can or should activate, depending on the health and form. We hope for a better medical situation than what was the case in October so that we can welcome these important matches in the best possible composition.

I deeply believe that we will react effectively and show that October was an exception. After all, this team has won two major medals in the last year, and these two poor matches have not shaken my strong belief in our quality, capabilities, and unity,” Dalić concluded.

Croatia currently have the same number of points (10) as Wales, who will visit Armenia and host Turkey in their final two games. To secure the second spot and ensure their place at Euro 2024, Croatia must finish ahead of the Welsh. If they fail to do so they will head to the playoffs.

Turkey, with 16 points, is currently at the top of the group and has secured their place already at Euro 2024.

Croatia squad

Goal keepers: Dominik Livaković, Ivica Ivušić, Nediljko Labrović

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Josip Juranović, Joško Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanišić, Josip Šutalo, Martin Erlić, Main Pongracić

Midfielders: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Mario Pasalić, Lovro Majer, Luka Ivanušec, Luka Sučić, Nikola Moro

Strikers: Andrej Kramarić, Bruno Petković, Marko Pjaca, Ante Budimir

On-call: Nikola Vlašić, Borna Barišić, Josip Brekalo, Dario Melnjak, Petar Musa, Dion Drena Beljo, Martin Baturina, Franjo Ivanović, Dominik Kotarski

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