Will Darijo Srna Return to the National Team?

Daniela Rogulj

Croatian coach Ante Čačić and former national team captain Darijo Srna have a brilliant relationship since Čačić left the team at Euro last year to attend the funeral of Srna’s father.

Are Ante Čačić and Darijo Srna in talks about the former captain returning to the national team for the upcoming European qualifiers for World Cup 2018? To be honest, it might not be such a bad idea, and it might be true, reports Goal.hr on August 12, 2017. 

And if you are wondering why we might need Srna to save the day? Here’s a breakdown of our Croatia’s defense as it stands now. 

To put things simply, the defense is currently made of up Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren, two solid defenders I would say most of us feel comfortable putting our confidence in. But here is where it gets tricky. Matej Mitrović, a former Rijeka player who moved to Beşiktaş in January 2017, has hardly played a minute for the team since his arrival. Josip Pivarić, who Čačić has been favoring in the left back position lately, has just arranged his transfer to Dynamo Kiev, which also deprives him of playing time. Ćorluka and Jedvaj are both still recovering from injuries, and Šime Vrsaljko, who had been recovering from an injury for four months, just returned to the pitch for Atletico Madrid a few weeks ago. 

So, why is this something we should be worried about? Well, our qualifying match against Kosovo is right around the corner on September 2nd in Zagreb. And then the team heads to Turkey just three days later…

The way things stand, Čačić doesn’t have nearly enough time to wait for his players to get into shape, and he may be forced to look at other options, and fast. 

The word on the street is that Darijo Srna and Ante Čačić have maybe had a conversation or two regarding bringing the former captain and famous right back to the team during these crucial qualifying matches. Čačić’ is allegedly convinced that Srna would accept his proposal because the team is desperate, but whether or not Srna will truly jump back into national team duties remains to be seen. If Srna does decide to help the team out during the upcoming competition, he would be the only solid right defender Čačić’ has on deck.

The former captain and Ante Čačić’ have a phenomenal relationship, and Srna has certainly never forgotten that Ante traveled to the funeral of Srna’s father in the middle of the Euro competition last year. Čačić’ was a crucial support system for the footballer during the Euro competition, which became even more emotional when Srna played through tears against the Czech Republic days after his father’s death, and then his final match for the national team in the devastating loss against Portugal. 

A few months ago, not knowing what would happen to Ćorluka, Jedvaj, Vrsaljko and Mitrović, Čačić told ”24sata” that he was ready to talk to Srna about his return to the team if necessary, and by the looks of it, that time has come.

The loss Croatia suffered against Iceland a few month ago did a lot to complicate the situation in Group I of the European qualifiers, and there is no room for fooling around – especially against strong teams like Turkey where a loss could jepordize our place in the standings considerably. Failing to qualify for World Cup 2018 is not an option.

There is no doubt that Srna was the true leader of this national team – his words respected more than Modrić, Mandžukić, Rakitić, or Ćorluka. He was a leader that was deemed critical for success, a man who played through the tears of his father’s death with the Croatian colors on his back, and one who never failed to uphold his end of the bargain on the pitch. 

If Čačić’s mission to return the former captain back to the team succeeds, well, we would consider that a job well done. 

That still leaves us with Luka Modrić, however, who is teetering on the edge of representing the national team in these upcoming matches. 

To be continued. 


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