Čačić on Lovren, Iceland, and What to Expect for the Upcoming Matches

Daniela Rogulj

The Croatian National Football team gathers this weekend for a World Cup qualifying match against Iceland which will be played on Saturday to an empty Maksimir stadium. Coach of the Croatian National Football team, Ante Čačić, answered questions in a news conference on Monday about the team members and what to expect for the big match against Iceland, reports Index.hr and Dalmacija News.

One of the most interesting news stories ahead of the upcoming matches is the “case with Dejan Lovren” since the Liverpool defender has asked coach Ante Čačić to remove him from the roster for the November matches.


“There is no ‘case for Lovren’, all of the issues were completed after Euro. There are objective reasons why he is now not on the roster, he had a problem with his back, and he called me eight days ago and in that conversation I decided to let him break free. The reasons are justified, he will be in the next roster,” Čačić said.


In other news in Rijeka, many are furious because Franko Andrijašević, who has been in great form for Rijeka, has not been called up for the national team.


“You don’t become a national team player through the newspapers, even after three games. It is not easy to get in (the roster) and it is hard to leave. Ćorić and Rog have been called up each time except for when they were used for the younger teams, but even now they would not have been invited if it were not for two games. Franko plays well, I was his coach, and he is a quality man and player, but in this position, we have a lot of players in good form that play in much stronger leagues.”


On the roster, Ivan Strinić was knocked off.


“Strinić is not scrapped, but unfortunately he is one of the players who plays very little. Against Finland he was due to start, but I have felt little confidence and I decided to expand the competition and called up Leovac.”


The first option on the left side is Josip Pivarić, defender for Dinamo Zagreb defender, who Čačić is worried about.


“Pivarić worries me because he had a long break, and his return has not gone smoothly, he needs to catch up and find his form. Maybe it would have been better if he did not play yesterday against Split as he seemed fatigued.”


Index.hr reported this morning that Nikola Kalinić is now out for both the Iceland and Northern Ireland matches due to a ruptured muscle, leaving Mario Mandźukić, Andrej Kramarić, and Duje Čop as his options up top.


“I’ll see who will play up front. I am pleased that the attackers were in good form, are scoring, and are effective – which can only be a benefit to the team.”


The best news is the return of Luka Modrić who yesterday, a month after surgery on his left knee, played half an hour for Real Madrid.


“Real did not seek exemption for Modrić, who successfully recovered and appeared with no negative consequences in the match yesterday. This sounds promising and I believe that he can take the team on Saturday,” added Čačić.


Mateo Kovačić has finally started to play at Real Madrid as he was expected to last year, delighting Čačić.


“In him, I never stopped believing. I am happy that he is getting more playing time at the club. He is our future successor for Luka.”


Čačić invited up the Rijeka midfielder Filip Bradarić …


“Bradarić was called up for the match against Northern Ireland when we will definitely not have Luka and Rakitić so this is an opportunity to give more players time who have played less. Bradarić is the only one who plays as a defensive midfielder, and for two seasons has had a very good performance in Rijeka, with good results.”


Finally, Čačić said that Iceland is a respectable team, but that Croatia has the answer to their game.


“In the qualifying group we have no easy opponents and Iceland in recent years has shown that they are a respectable and organized team. We have an answer for their game – technically we are savvy and the possession of the ball should go in our favor, without the need from any help in the stands.”


“The result keeps a good atmosphere, and we want to be first in the group and go to the World Cup. Therefore, we have no choice but to play well and win,” concludes Čačić.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment