ZAGREB, 2 September 2019 – Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has confirmed that vice-captain Ivan Rakitic has been ruled out of upcoming EURO 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Azerbaijan this month.
Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Monday that the Barcelona star has been replaced in the squad by Marko Rog.
“I spoke with Rakitic who has still yet to sort out the status with his club, and at this moment he is not ready for the national team and would not be able to give his maximum. I do not have time to worry about what will be later, I hope the best. If there is a problem, I will sort it in my way, there is no fear,” Dalic explained.
“It is the last day of the transfer window and it is uncomfortable that we still have players who have not resolved their situations, but we will know the situation probably by the time we meet up and train. I am happy that Jedvaj is playing regularly, it is a good thing he moved clubs and is playing more. Perisic’s play at Kovac’s Bayern is a plus for us,” Dalic added.
Mateo Kovacic has also been ruled out through injury and will be replaced by Mijo Caktas.
“The least problem problem we have is with Luka Modric, he is our playmaker and captain. He always gives his maximum and there is no questions around him. Bruno Petkovic has played well for Dinamo in strong European and local matches, he has quality which he has shown before, he has power and we need a classic striker who can hold the ball up. I expect he will be an asset for us in the upcoming matches,” Dalic said.
The Croatian squad gathers in Zagreb on Monday and will have a light run this evening. The squad will then travel to Slovakia later in the week.
Croatia will face Slovakia on Friday, 6 September, before facing Azerbaijan, also away, on Monday, 9 September.
UEFA Euro 2020 – Group E schedule:
6 September, 20:45 (Friday): Slovakia – Croatia
9 September, 18:00 (Monday): Azerbaijan – Croatia
10 October, 20:45 (Thursday): Croatia – Hungary
13 October, 20:45 (Sunday): Wales – Croatia
16 November, 20:45 (Saturday): Croatia – Slovakia
Croatia are currently in second equal spot in the group with a game in hand over group leaders Hungary. The top two teams in the group will automatically qualify for the EURO 2020 tournament.