Croatia played its first match at the EURO 2016, so it’s time to analyse the players.
Great win for Croatia at the opening of the EURO, and now that the first impressions have settled, it is time to analyze the performance of the players on June 13, 2016. Here it is as we saw it, player by player;
Danijel Subašić 7
Although some were questioning his abilities before the tournament, and with him being one of just a few players not linked with the bosses of Croatian football, his position was secured only because there is no sane coach who would have left him off the team. Fe proved to be one of the strongest links of the team. Even though he was not too busy, on a few occasions he was so secure on the goal that the saves he made looked much easier than they actually were.
Darijo Srna 7,5
If we had a kuna for every time we read or heard questions being raised about his ability to play at the highest level before the game, we would be very well off. The captain proved them all wrong, showing how important the experience really is during these kinds of games. He produced numerous crosses from the side, and managed to enter a couple of chances, and in the meantime closing down Turkish best player Arda Turan throughout the game, showing not only experience but stamina of the highest level. Unfortunately, after the match, the news about his father’s death hit the media, so our heart goes out to the captain and his family.
Vedran Ćorluka 8
Experience, will, technical knowledge, stamina, and football quality at the highest level, proving the Croatian centre-back as one of the best in the world. And he played most of the match with blood pouring down his head. He was experienced enough to exploit that fact at the rare moment when Turkey put pressure on the Croatian defense. He broke the momentum for Turkey asking for medical help, showing experience Croatian team lacked eight years ago in Vienna.
Domagoj Vida 6,5
The left side of Croatian team was not as secure as the right one, but Vida did nothing wrong, it only comes down to the fact that he did not produce that little extra like Ćorluka. Ćorluka was a big help for him, but Dinamo Kyev centre-back proved to be a good substitution for Dejan Lovren. His role is a tough one and performed on a satisfactory level.
Ivan Strinić 6
Darijo Srna had a different role, as he had Marcelo Brozović in front of him, so he could go up front, and the role of Ivan Strinić was to support Ivan Perišić, who is not as strong defensively as Brozović. Strinić closed down his side well, and as he clearly lacks the routine because he is not a regular starter in Napoli, his performance should excel in the upcoming games.
Milan Badelj 7
For those not watching closely, he was quite invisible, but that is the nature of his role, and he did a lot of the so-called dirty work. He gave Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić freedom to go up front and do what they do best. He did not play with the ball too much, but his off the ball movement and positioning were perfect.
Luka Modrić 8,5
The best game he ever played in the Croatian jersey. He was all over the pitch, both stopping the Turkish attacks, and creating danger in the Croatian offense. The goal he scored was a moment of magic, showing his technical skills are putting him among the world class players. We could write about his abilities for ages, but aren’t enough words to describe his game yesterday. We only hope he will have enough fuel to continue his run throughout the tournament.
Ivan Rakitić 7
If we were to divide his score into two halves, the first was not as good, and it looked like one more match for Croatian midfielder to forget, but in the second half, he shined proving he is one of most skillful players on the Croatian team. He was secure on the ball and kept putting the pressure on Turkish defense throughout the game.
Marcelo Brozović 6
The only player in the team not playing his natural position, but he did it well. He enabled Darijo Srna to come forward, closing the right side on occasion and has been able to get a few chances of his own. One more player to show the stamina and tactical knowledge at the highest level.
Ivan Perišić 8
A constant threat for Turkish defense, bringing panic for them every single time he had the ball on his side. Without the ball, he put pressure on the opponents, sprinting up and down, closing down his designated player in a manner that disabled them from going up front. One of most important players on this side, as his speed is a game-changer for the team.
Mario Mandžukić 7
Mandžo is not an attractive player like Ibrahimović or Suarez, but he is the dream of every coach in the world. He will not produce the number of goals like some other centre-forwards, but he will enable his team-mates to score goals, and will do so much defensive work as no other forward in the world, unless we count in Ivica Olić. He was on his level yesterday, and he was, together with Perišić the first line of Croatian defense.
Andrej Kramarić, Gordon Schindelfeld, and Marko Pjaca did not play long enough for us to analyze their game.
With team playing at this level, Croatian limits are sky-high, but to be fair, Turkey was simply not good enough. We hope that the coach will have the experience to calm down any possibility of euphoria within the team, as the most important matches are yet to come. The team was playing great defense, and after the goal looked dangerous in the attack, but first thirty minutes of the game were not so great, but let’s assign that to the intensity and importance of the opening match.