On Tuesday around noon, the Croatia national team gathered in Zagreb ahead of the European Championship preparations, where they will play their first game on June 13 at 3 pm against England at Wembley, reports Index.hr.
Coach Zlatko Dalić published the player list last week, and today at 11 am, he addressed the press and answered key questions before the Euros. He is now leading the national team to the base in Rovinj for the first part of the preparations.
“I can now tell you how we will do our best, die on the pitch, but it will not be enough at the Euros if Croatia is not better and more responsible. Tactically we have to look much better, and Croatia must be much better than it was in the Nations League,” said coach Dalić at the beginning.
“We are opening the tournament against the national team that is the favorite for the title, they have seven players in the Champions League final, and they play at home. We must not ignore the Czechs; there are eight players from the same club in their national team, then we have Scotland, who is the host. The goal is to get out of the group.”
How will Croatia play at EURO 2020?
“We will stick to what we do best tactically, but I think the best option is the one we played in Russia. Of course, it depends on the players, their health, and their form,” said Dalić.
At tonight’s training in Rovinj, the coach will practice with eleven players. Pašalić and Vrsaljko will join tomorrow, and on Friday, the team should be complete. Filip Uremović is still plagued by an injury.
“We will see how he is today; he has been recovering for seven days and has an advantage because he covers the positions of the stopper and right back. But if Filip is not ready, we will not take risks. I expect Mate Kovačić, who plays in the Champions League final, on May 31, while I am waiting for the young players who are playing in the U-21 Euro in Zagreb on June 4. I want to congratulate all our players who became champions and won trophies in their clubs, as well as Mateo for placing in the Champions League final. It would be nice to have a cake during our preparations again. Because of him, I support Chelsea in the final. Lately, they have delighted me with their game, even though Manchester is the favorite,” believes Dalić.
He is also worried about Ante Rebić.
“I’m worried because he always has some bad luck before the tournament. He hasn’t trained for five days, and I’m cautious when it comes to him. But most of our players are in good shape, and that makes me happy. I’m not a pessimist; I just wish everyone good health. On Friday, we start with serious work,” said the coach.
Aware that his national team has not looked good for a long time, Dalić announced the tactics he would practice and talked about the biggest problems.
“We will stick to what was best, the 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1 system. We depend a lot on the central striker. We have 4-4-2 and 4-3-2-1 variants with two midfielders; we will also play that. We have nine training sessions, and we will focus exclusively on tactics. Set plays are a huge problem, and I am asking for more responsibility from individuals who keep opponents from scoring a goal. My players here have to be much more responsible and tell themselves that they will not allow their players to jump and score a goal. We used to defend man-on-man set plays, and there would always be someone to run away from us, and now we’re going to cross the zone, we’re going to pay attention to that. Yet, the greatest responsibility is of individuals is covering their opponents. Desire is key,” Dalić said.
The question is who will play the right-wing because most wingers in Croatia prefer the left side.
“We can’t allow everyone to play the position they play at their club. I don’t think there are any problems in that position, and it’s not that our players don’t want to play; it’s that they don’t play the ideal football on the right wing. But we saw as Ante Rebić played at the World Cup, we have Perišić, Ivanušec and I am not afraid at all,” claims Dalić and continues:
“The long season is behind us; the players are tired. We have to work carefully with a lot of emotion, we will certainly not follow a strict plan, but we will behave as needed, day by day. We will refresh ourselves and go to work on a tactical plan. We will work together because it is important for the result, which is crucial for the atmosphere. We lack time and the right atmosphere, which is very important for Croatia. We will talk a lot; I will try to reach every player.”
Today, a dozen players are coming to the gathering: HNL players Petković, Škorić, Oršić, Kalinić, Livaković, and players who have no more obligations with their clubs. Sluga, Juranović, Vlašić, and Barišić are also expected.
Tonight at 7 pm is the first training, and the complete team is expected on May 28. Dalić has agreed with U21 national team coach Igor Bišćan on the status of players they share in the national teams. Thus, Joško Gvardiol, Domagoj Bradarić, and Luka Ivanušić will start preparations with the U21 team for the historic Euro quarterfinal match on May 31 in Maribor. After that, Dalić expects them at the Croatian base in St. Andrews in Scotland.
EURO 2020 Player List
Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković – Dinamo, Lovre Kalinić – Hajduk, Simon Sluga – Luton; call-up: Ivica Ivušić
Defenders: Šime Vrsaljko – Atletico Madrid, Borna Barišić – Rangers, Domagoj Vida – Bešiktaš, Josip Juranović – Legia, Dejan Lovren – Zenit, Duje Ćaleta-Car – Marseille, Domagoj Bradarić – Lille, Mile Škorić – Osijek, Joško Gvardiol – Dinamo; call-ups Uremović and Pongračić
Midfielders: Luka Modrić – Real Madrid, Marcelo Brozović – Inter, Milan Badelj – Genoa, Mateo Kovačić – Chelsea, Nikola Vlašić – CSKA Moskva, Mario Pašalić – Atalanta, Luka Ivanušec; call-ups: Moro, Majer and Bašić.
Strikers: Bruno Petković – Dinamo, Ivan Perišić – Inter, Andrej Kramarić – Hoffenheim, Josip Brekalo – Wolfsburg, Ante Rebić – Milan, Mislav Oršić – Dinamo, Ante Budimir – Osasuna; call-ups: Lovrić and Livaja.
25.5. National team gathers in Zagreb and departs to Rovinj
25.5. – 31.5. Preparations in Rovinj
1.6. Player registration deadline for UEFA EURO 2020 (until 23:59)
8.6. Arrival at the base camp in St. Andrews
1.6. friendly: Croatia – Armenia (Velika Gorica)
6.6. friendly: Belgium – Croatia (Bruxelles)
13.6. EURO 2020: England – Croatia (London)
18.6. EURO 2020: Croatia – Czech Republic (Glasgow)
22.6. EURO 2020: Croatia – Scotland (Glasgow)
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