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Dalić concerned for Oršić as Croatia prepares for Wales in Split

Mislav Oršić is off to Southampton  

Mislav Oršić

The coach of the Croatian national football team, Zlatko Dalić, held a press conference in Split on Monday ahead of the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Wales against Turkey. 

Croatia faces Wales on 25 March at Poljud stadium in Split before travelling to Turkey where they will play on 28 March.  

Croatia gathered today for the first time since the World Cup in Qatar

“It’s nice to get together again and be together after three and a half months. We are the favourites in the group, but we have to be careful so that no mishap happens. The European Championship in Germany is a big competition for us, there will certainly be 20, 30 thousand fans at the matches, so it’s like playing at home. This is a big challenge for us, I was a fan in Germany in 2006, what happened in Berlin was never repeated in terms of the number of Croats in the stadium.

That makes me happy, one of the reasons I stayed was the European Championship in Germany, but first we have to qualify. Croatia has never been stronger than in Russia, it’s a little different now, players from the five strongest clubs in Europe no longer play in the national team, but we have unquestionable quality. Through experience and the youth that is coming, we must put together the best possible team and be competitive. We are creating a new generation that achieved results in the first major competition, but we must prepare for the future,” Dalić said.

The squad

“A lot of players who played at the World Cup in Qatar have problems with form and injuries. Brozović took a long break, Kovačić didn’t play for a long time, Kramarić didn’t play for a while, everyone had minor problems. The situation is not the best, but we always knew how to solve such problems during the qualifications,” Dalić said, adding.

“We don’t know what will happen to Petković, Ivušić is ill. I called up Musa, I want to see him, to be with the team for a week. There are Livaja and Kramarić, we will see how the situation will develop further. Livaja is playing well, he likes playing at Poljud. He gave a lot to the national team, he scored a goal in Qatar and I expect a lot from him. 

I expected Brekalo to play in Fiorentina, but that didn’t happen. We need such a speedster. Everyone in the national team would play on the left side, Perišić, Ivanušec, Oršić… That’s why we put Špikić on call-up because he is fast and plays at Dinamo on the right side, he is our potential for the future. We called up Musa, there’s also Beljo, Ljubičić, Šimić, we have to find another striker in addition to Livaja and Petković before the Euros, and we’re looking at younger players. I did not write off Budimir because he is not good, but I want to see some other players. As for the right wing, Pašalić, Vlašić and Majer played in that position, so we always have solutions”.

Mislav Oršić

Winger Mislav Oršić, who was impressive in Qatar when given a chance, joined Southampton back in January and has only played one league game for his new club in more than two months.  

“I’m sorry for Orša, he doesn’t play at his club (Southampton), but I don’t want to lose him. He is not fit, but I want to give him a chance to try to come back. If he does not constantly play at his club, unfortunately he will not be able to play for the national team either. However, I hope he will, we will try to get him back in good form through the national team. 

Stanisic? He was great in every match for the national team, played at a high level. We have two very good solutions in the position of right back. Juranović is more offensive, goes more forward and has a better cross, and Stanišić trains every day with top players, as if he is playing a strong match. We have a great tandem in that position,” said Dalić. 

About Modrić’s future

“What will happen to Modrić in the future? Will he play at the Euros? Everything depends on him, I would like him to be with us as long as possible, but everything is in his hands”.

About extending his contract as coach until the 2026 World Cup 

“I did not expect to be the coach for so long. I’m crazy, but not so crazy that I could have predicted it. It was distant and abstract. Two medals and almost six years… It was unimaginable then, but I went step by step and it happened. I’m happy and proud for what I achieved with the Croatian national team. I’ll say it again, we did a miracle! I didn’t expect it, but we have to be ambitious and have a goal, maybe we can achieve something more. However, we must be aware that it could be worse.”

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