Mexico Coach, Vedran Ćorluka Unhappy Modrić and Others Sent Back to Clubs Before Friendly

Daniela Rogulj

Croatia will face Mexico on Tuesday in Dallas without six of their strongest players, angering not just the coach of Mexico but Croatian teammates as well. 

The Croatia national team faces Mexico tomorrow in Dallas (4 am in Croatia on Wednesday morning) for a friendly match as part of their preparations for the World Cup. Zlatko Dalić’s team will play without a group of their strongest players including Luka Modrić, Mario Mandžukić, Ivan Perišić, Marcelo Brozović, Danijel Subašić and Nikola Kalinić who have returned to their European clubs, reports on March 26, 2018. 

“I do not know why Croatia allowed these players to go back to their clubs, and they do not have a good argument for it. I think the organizers of such games must do something in the future and include provisions in the contracts so that the teams commit to playing with their strongest side. What are these games if they are not played with the best players? The idea is to prepare the best against the best for the World Cup,” an unhappy Juan Carlos Osorio, the coach of Mexico, said to the media. 

Mexico defeated Iceland 3:0 on Saturday, while Croatia lost to Peru 2:0 in Miami. Osorio left some of his best players on the bench, like Chicharito, to be in the best shape against Croatia, but we learned over the weekend that Croatia would play with a much weaker team.

“I was personally very excited to play against such a master like Modrić, and that would be great preparation, but I hope we will get some benefits from this match as well,” added Osorio.

Osorio wasn’t the only person affected by the news, as it also hit the Croatia teammates, and specifically, Vedran Ćorluka, reports on March 26, 2018. 

“I’m sorry these players left because we do not get together so often, and the World Cup is less than three months away. It would be better if they were here. I do not see why they had to leave the team, considering all the players who came on this tour were supposed to stay for both games. That is my opinion,” said Ćorluka. 

It is apparently the clubs who have asked Dalić to release Modrić and five others for the game against Mexico, but Ćorluka emphasizes:

“That’s right, the clubs have asked for it, but the clubs also looked for other players. I just think that we should stay together as these are critical matches.”

Ćorluka again repeated why he thinks everyone should be with the team during these crucial times. 

“I understand Luka Modrić who was hurt, and perhaps it is understandable that he left, but for the rest, and for Luka, I think they should have continued to be here so we could do this together and create a better atmosphere before the World Cup. I know everything was in agreement with the coach, but I’m sorry they are not with us – that’s for sure,” added Ćorluka. 

And what does he think Croatia’s chances are now in the game against Mexico?

“Mexico is a great, strong team and it will certainly be even harder than against Peru. They play similar to the Peruvians, but they are individually stronger, and their team game is perhaps of the highest quality. We’ve defeated them in friendly matches, and they are in the World Cup. Croatia will also be a good test for Mexico – and we will be aggressive, vertical and fast as always,” Ćorluka added about the match on HNS

“I expect Croatia to be better than in Miami – the result is important in every game, and we cannot be happy with the result against Peru. We have young, quality players who will replace the six veterans who returned to Europe. They all play at great clubs, and I believe that there will be no problem,” Ćorluka continued.

What does the defender think Croatia’s chances are in Russia?

“We are in a tough group, where Argentina is the favorite. There is no easy game at the World Cup, and all teams will have the opportunity to get through the group,” he concluded.


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