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Dalić explains why Marko Livaja left out of Croatia squad

Croatia names squad for Euro 2024 qualifiers 

Marko Livaja

Croatia’s national team coach, Zlatko Dalić, today announced a 23-man squad ahead of September Euro 2024 qualifiers against Latvia and Armenia.

Hajduk Split striker Marko Livaja was not included in the squad, which raised a number of questions especially after he left the squad ahead of the UEFA Nations League finals back in June following a training ground incident in Rijeka, where Croatia will face Latvia.

After copping abuse from spectators who turned up to watch the open training session, Livaja reacted and went to the stands where he confronted the culprits. He had to be pulled away before the situation escalated. 

After a conversation with coach Dalić then, it was agreed that the incident created an uncomfortable atmosphere and an environment and as a result Livaja left the squad and missed the finals. 

After he was omitted from the squad named today for the next two matches, there were speculations that Livaja might be either injured or under sanction, which forced Dalić to explain his decision this afternoon. 

“After the incident in June at Rujevica (Rijeka) and Marko’s subsequent departure from the national team, I believed it was wisest for both the team and Marko to spare him in these matches. As it is known, we received a conditional punishment from UEFA, and any potential incident could result in us playing against Turkey without spectators. Given all these circumstances, I consider this decision to be reasonable,” said Dalić. 

“As I emphasised back in June, the doors of the national team remain open for Marko. After the September matches, I will discuss his status with Marko because he has his place in the national team, and we want him to feel comfortable in it, just like any other representative,” Dalić concluded.

Croatia will first face Latvia in Rijeka on 8 September before traveling to Armenia to face them on 11 September.

Croatia squad for Latvia and Armenia: 

Goalies: Dominik Livaković, Ivica Ivušić, Nediljko Labrović

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Borna Barišić, Josip Juranović, Joško Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanišić, Josip Šutalo, Martin Erlić

Midfield: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Mario Pašalić, Nikola Vlašić, Lovro Majer, Luka Ivanušec

Strikers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Bruno Petković, Petar Musa, Matija Frigan

On-call: Dominik Kotarski, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Jakov Medić, Nikola Moro, Martin Baturina

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