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Dalić set to make changes for must-win Italy clash

Zlatko Dalic croatia coach

Zlatko Dalić

Former international and AC Milan defender Dario Šimić was the guest with editor-in-chief of Sportske novosti, Robert Šola, on the latest episode of Eurocast, the leading Croatian podcast dedicated to the Euros in Germany.

On the podcast they previewed the upcoming must-win match against Italy on Monday in Leipzig. According to their inside information, coach Zlatko Dalić is planning as many as four changes to the starting lineup which drew against Albania.

“Four changes have been announced. Right back (Joisp) Stanišić would replace (Josip) Juranović, left back (Joško) Gvardiol would come in for (Ivan) Perišić, and (Marin) Pongračić would take Gvardiol’s spot at centre-back.

It’s the same back four which played against Spain in the opening match,” Šola said, before moving onto the rest of the changes.

“Luka (Modrić) and (Mateo) Kovačić would play as two defensive midfielders, with (Marcelo) Brozović dropped from the squad, and young Luka Sučić would take the number ten role in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

(Mario) Pašalić would start on the right wing instead of (Lovro) Majer, (Andrej) Kramarić on the left, and (Bruno) Petković upfront.”

“We have four changes, four new players, five positional adjustments. This shows that we don’t have a starting eleven that performed to expectations in the first two matches.

It’s logical that Dalić is looking for new solutions. Stanišić and Gvardiol are our best full-back pair. I would also remove Brozović; he hasn’t shown enough, and the same goes for Majer.

On the other hand, Sučić and Pašalić have done a lot of good and deserve to be in the starting eleven. There are many changes. I believed Budimir would start instead of Petković, as he was our best player against Albania. Additionally, I would like to see Martin Baturina in the starting lineup,” Šola said.

Dario Šimić also shared his thoughts on the lineup for Italy:

“Before we discuss Baturina, let’s focus on the lineup. I don’t like playing with two defensive midfielders; I prefer one defensive midfielder and two central midfielders, as that’s modern football. We lack fast players, wingers, speed – everything is rehearsed.

I don’t like two defensive midfielders and one attacking midfielder; it tends to shift. Sučić is incredibly talented, with an ‘Asanović-like’ pass.

Baturina has progressed significantly, but it’s important to remember that matches last 90 minutes, and this is part of the tactics. We have five substitutions, so who starts and who comes off the bench is less prominent now. We need to look at the game over 95 minutes.”

Šimić continued with his thoughts on the Italians:

“The Italians are now more of a team, with one standout player, Barella. They have an excellent coach and are tactically strong, which is nurtured in their game. Previously, they had bigger names, but they are still the current European champions. A draw is enough for them; they will be well-organised, and they sat back against Spain.”

“Jorginho looked incredibly weak to me,” Šola added.

“Brozović was one of the best players, but he has declined over the past year,” Šimić concluded.


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