ZAGREB, 1 October 2021 – Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić has called up Duje Čaleta-Car on Friday into the squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Cyprus and Slovakia.
Injuries to defenders Josip Juranović, Domagoj Vida and Joško Gvardiol has forced Dalić to call up the Marseille defender who was initially dropped from the squad after last month’s qualifiers.
Dalić’s main concern ahead of matches against Cyprus on 8 October away, and Slovakia in Osijek on 11 October, is his back four. Celtic defender Juranović was injured last weekend and is out for ‘a few weeks’, whilst regular centre back Domagoj Vida has been out for a while with a heel injury.
Doctors are still optimistic that Vida will be fit, but his situation is still questionable. Meanwhile, Gvardiol also picked up an injury in RB Leipzig’s 6-0 win over Hertha in the last round and was replaced in the 55th minute. There are also concerns over Dejan Lovren.
With so many injuries, there maybe a debut start for Bayern Munich defender Josip Stanišić at right back in place of Juranović.
Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivica Ivušić (Osijek), Ivo Grbić (Lille).
Defenders: Domagoj Vida (Bešiktaš), Dejan Lovren (Zenit), Borna Barišić (Glasgow Rangers), Duje Ćaleta-Car (Olimpique de Marseille), Mile Škorić (Osijek), Filip Uremović (Rubin Kazan), Joško Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Borna Sosa (Stuttgart), Josip Stanišić (Bayern).
Midfielders: Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovačić (Chelsea), Marcelo Brozović (Inter), Mario Pašalić (Atalanta), Nikola Vlašić (West Ham), Luka Ivanušec (Dinamo Zagreb), Kristijan Jakić (Eintracht Frankfurt).
Strikers: Ivan Perišić (Inter), Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim), Josip Brekalo (Torino), Mislav Oršić (Dinamo Zagreb), Marko Livaja (Hajduk).
On-call: Ante Budimir (Osasuna), Antonio Mirko Čolak (Malmö), Simon Sluga (Luton Town), Kristijan Lovrić (Gorica), Nikola Moro (Dinamo Moskva).
“After a successful September, of course we now welcome the new gathering with a lot of optimism, positive energy and confidence. However, we must be aware that all the good we have done must now be confirmed with six more points, and that we can only do so with full concentration, attitude and togetherness. Cyprus and Slovakia we have already beaten in this group, and we accept the role of favourites in both games, but I repeat – we must be at our maximum. I am convinced that the invited players will successfully respond to this challenge, and of course us we are especially happy about the return of Luka Modrić, who as a player and leader is of inestimable importance to us,” Dalić said earlier.