AC Milan forward Ante Rebić has been omitted from Croatia’s squad for three 2022 World Cup qualifiers in September.
Zlatko Dalić named a 25-man squad on Monday and there was no room for Rebić. The 27-year-old took to social media after Croatia’s exit at Euro 2020 at the hands of Spain after he was criticised for being off the pitch changing his boots whilst Spain equalised.
In an Instagram story the player later deleted, he was not shy in attacking Dalić and heavily criticised how the national team had performed since the 2018 World Cup.
Whilst Dalić committed Rebić, he has called up Borna Sosa. Sosa hit the headlines before Euro 2020 after declaring his intention to play for Germany after he received his German citizenship.
After being told he would not be eligible to play for Germany because of FIFA rules, the 23-year-old Stuttgart left back issued an apology.
“I made the wrong decision and turned out to be naive. The decision I made was wrong and I have to take responsibility for it myself. If the Croatian Football Federation and the selectors believe that in spite of everything I can contribute to the success of our national teams, I will respond to their invitation and be available,” part of his apology read.
There was a recall for in-form Hajduk Split striker Marko Livaja, and a call up for Antonio Čolak, whilst Bruno Petković, Šime Vrsaljko and Josip Brekalo are missing from Croatia’s last encounter against Spain at Euro 2020.
Promising teenager Luka Sučić has also earned a place among those players on-call.
Goal keepers: Dominik Livaković (Dinamo Zagreb), Simon Sluga (Luton Town), Ivica Ivušić (Osijek).
Defenders: Domagoj Vida (Bešiktaš), Dejan Lovren (Zenit), Borna Barišić (Glasgow Rangers), Duje Ćaleta-Car (Olimpique de Marseille), Josip Juranović (Legia), Filip Uremović (Rubin Kazan), Joško Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Mile Škorić (Osijek), Borna Sosa (Stuttgart).
Midfielders: Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovačić (Chelsea), Marcelo Brozović (Inter), Mario Pašalić (Atalanta), Nikola Vlašić (CSKA Moskva), Luka Ivanušec (Dinamo Zagreb), Nikola Moro (Dinamo Moskva).
Strikers: Ivan Perišić (Inter), Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim), Mislav Oršić (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Budimir (Osasuna), Marko Livaja (Hajduk), Antonio Mirko Čolak (Malmö).
On call: Toma Bašić (Bordeaux), Kristijan Lovrić (Gorica), Lovro Majer (Dinamo Zagreb), Luka Sučić (RB Salzburg).
“I believe that we all recharged our batteries well after the Euros and we want to do the autumn part of the qualifications with new energy and strong ambition. We have seven games ahead of us, 21 points on the table, and we will need another 14-15 points to secure first place. Of course, our wish is to get closer to that goal in September and take as many points as possible,” said coach Dalić.
“This is, objectively, the hardest part of our schedule, and the start of the season is never an ideal time for the national team because players from different leagues are at different levels of competitiveness. But the circumstances are similar, and it is up to us to show quality, commitment and togetherness and to show we are worth the first place in the group – that’s the only way we can achieve our goal, which is qualifying for Qatar. With my staff, I estimated that at the moment this is a list of players who can best meet the demands ahead, and as always – the doors of the national team are not closed to anyone who deserves it,” concluded Dalić.
FIFA and UEFA last week notified national associations that no away fans will be able to attend the qualifiers, or any friendlies, due to rising COVID-19 cases across Europe.
The decision means Croatian fans will not be able to attend Croatia’s qualifier against Russia in Moscow on 1 September.
No Croatian fans will be permitted to attend the qualifier against Slovakia three days later in Bratislava and no Slovenian fans will be able to attend Poljud stadium for the Croatia v Slovenia clash on 7 September.
Croatia’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers in September:
1.9. 20:45: Russia – CROATIA
4.9. 20:45: Slovakia – CROATIA
7.9. 20:45: CROATIA – Slovenia