PHOTO: Franck Fife/afp/profimedia

WHAT CAN CROATIA EXPECT IN THE MOST IMPORTANT MATCHES OF THIS QUALIFICATION CYCLE?

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After the bronze at the FIFA World Cup and the silver at the UEFA Nations League final tournament, Croatia found itself in a situation where it does not know whether it will qualify for EURO 2024, which is being held in Germany

PHOTO: Slavko Midžor/PIXSELL

The Croatian national team has a very difficult test ahead of them. The players themselves are aware of the situation they have gotten themselves into. The problem is that even with two victories, they will not secure a direct placement at EURO 2024, which will be played in Germany in the coming summer.

Croatia held its second training session at the Maksimir secondary ground Hitrec-Kacian. As always, there are issues. Without Andrej Kramarić, Mateo Kovačić, Bruno Petković and Ivan Perišić, Croatia can’t seem to get their act together and play two good games in a row. That is, in October, they experienced a disaster when they lost to both Turkey and Wales. It couldn’t go without half the team, and Croatia has so many good players who should lead the national team to victory. I guess there are. Or maybe not? Because they have shown absolutely nothing so far.

To make matters worse, Josip Juranović missed the second training session at Hitrec-Kacian. Otherwise, a player who was reborn in a way when he made a foreign transfer. And he makes fewer and fewer mistakes and somehow is more confident in himself. Even though it is not at an adequate level either. Given the fact that he plays for the third team in the world. All in all, Croatia is in trouble, and it has contributed to that itself.

Apart from injuries, the question is how long the national team captain Luka Modrić can last on the field. Considering his 38 years and the fact that he is not in the starting eleven in Real Madrid, how long can Modric play. Because the fatigue of the captain is evident. Regardless of wishes and greetings, sometimes you cannot do more than what your body gives and allows.

How much can the coach Zlatko Dalić do in the tactics of Croatia? After all, Zlatko Dalić is not material for a selector. Especially not for a European national team coach. Getting from the Asian League to the European and world competitions is not something that can be a guarantee of success. The second thing is that he went in the opposite direction. I guess that’s why he has assistants who have played in the biggest European clubs.

The president of the Croatian Football Association Marjan Kustić and Zorislav Srebrić, one of the long-time members of the Association, and the current coach of Dinamo Zagreb, Sergej Jakirović, appeared at last night’s training session. It would be good for everyone to gather together, at least once, in each cycle of gatherings for one training session and for this to become a practice, not an exception.

We have to prepare well for these two games that are waiting for us. It all depends on us, if we’re right, we can do it right. We got ourselves into this situation, we will get out. In the dressing room there is positivity as always, and we don’t depend on ourselves, that’s the worst thing. We have to do both games properly, be real and qualify for the Euro

Martin Erlić, Croatian national football team player

There is a good atmosphere between the players and the professional staff. For now at least. Just to have that atmosphere move to the field as well. Croatia needs to win against Latvia in Riga and Armenia in Zagreb. At least on paper, Croatia with this squad is much better than both opponents who follow them in the finals of the qualification.

In case Croatia wins both games, it does not depend on itself. Other things need to coincide. For example, the victory of Turkey over Wales, which would be very beneficial for Croatia. With that, she got second place and additional qualifications. The question is, will it come true! And even if he wins the additional qualifications, with which team will he go to those matches? Will anyone be hurt? We can wait for Tuesday to pass when everything will be clearer for us.

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