Croatia football coach Ante Čačić says reputations and history will count for nothing when he selects his eleven to take the field in France next summer during UEFA Euro 2016…
Speaking to RTL television, Čačić says not even captain Darijo Srna is guaranteed a spot in the starting eleven in France. Šime Vrsaljko, who plays for Sassuol in Italy’s Siere A, played right-back for Croatia in their last outing against Russia and was impressive. Vrsaljko has been putting Srna under pressure for the right-back spot.
“After the match in Malta (when we qualified for Euro), I even told Darijo Srna that those who will be selected for Euro in France won’t be those who were deserved it for (making Croatia) qualify, but those who are the most ready and prepared to play and those who can finally take Croatia out of the shadows of Vatreni (Croatia’s 98 World Cup bronze medal side),” said Čačić, who has a 3 from 3 win record since taking over the helm from Niko Kovač.
Čačić has stressed that there will be no ‘calculated’ selections, and players with past reputations like captain Srna and veteran Ivica Olić will have to prove on form that they deserve a place in the side.
Čačić is determined to make this Croatia side finally step out of the shadow of the famous 1998 World Cup side, and says that number of players are attracting attention at the right time.
One player who has been on the outer of the national team since making his debut is Sporting Gijon star Alen Halilović. After an impressive last couple of months in the Spanish Premiere, Čačić says that Halilović is making his job easy.
“He is putting attention onto himself through his performances. He has in the wider frame of the national team and is for sure imposing himself to be included to go to France,” said Čačić.
With a midfield consisting of the in-form Halilović, Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozović and Ivan Perišić, Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitić and Real Madrid’s Luka Modrić and Mateo Kovačić, Čačić can afford to pick those who are in form.
Relatively unknown at international level, Halilović could well be Čačić’s trump-card at Euro 2016 in France. Coming off the bench he could be just the surprise package that Croatia needs to mix things up.
The next six months of club football will be an important six months for those players who are being put under pressure for their places.
Čačić concluded by saying that above all he is a Croatian fan, and he wants to see the country do as well as possible therefore the best at the time will play in France.