The doors of Maksimir Stadium will be closed for the fans due to the UEFA ban
Following the EURO 2016 in France, the Croatian football team starts a new qualifying campaign to reach the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia. The first match of the Group I is Turkey’s visit to Zagreb on September 5, 2016, to play Croatia behind closed doors, only three months after the Paris encounter.
Nothing much changed since that game, the atmosphere surrounding Croatian football is still grim, and the words of the Croatian coach, Ante Čačić to announce the start of the qualifiers are the confirmation:
“I hope that everything has remained the way it was in France and that we will all show the same strength to reach the World Cup in Russia. We are in the toughest qualifying group, with four EURO 2016 participants. Considering our performance, we are in the role of favorites, and we have to justify that. Regardless of the Maksimir closed doors, we feel the synergy with fans.”
It seems that the national coach and the CFF officials are living in some other world, as the synergy Mr. Čačić was talking about is more than questionable. And not only due to the UEFA ban for this match.
There is an ongoing action by the football fans which have engaged in the election campaign of their own, and they have only one claim for the politicians; to change the way the Croatian Football Federation is ruled.
As for the match itself for the Croatian team, there are some changes; captain Darijo Srna has retired from national football, so Luka Modrić is the new team’s leader, while Šime Vrsaljko will take his position on the right side of the team.
Danijel Subašić is injured, so Lovre Kalinić should replace him in front of the goal, and Dejan Lovren is back in the team after he was left out of the EURO due his quarrel with the coach.
Ivan Rakitić missed this week’s training due the health issues in his family, but he said he is ready to play, so it will be interesting to see if he will be in the squad from the beginning of the match.
On the other side, Turkey’s coach Fatih Terim has left out probably his best player, Arda Turan, and made more changes, and although Croatia is considered the favorite for the win, the Turkish players are always ready for the surprise.
The kick-off for the game is scheduled 20.45 CET, and TCN will bring you the full report after the match.