Kovač named a squad of 33 on Thursday for a friendly against Argentina on 12 November in London, and a EURO 2016 qualifier against Italy 4 days later. Kovač says the likely starting eleven will not travel to London, but stay behind in Zagreb before flying straight to Milan. A large number of domestic-based players will travel to London and play instead.
“I am not scared of anybody, so no I am not scared,” Kovač replied when asked if he was worried the Argentinians could embarrass his second-string side.
“Argentina represents a challenge for our players, to see who can cope with that kind of opponent. If there is not enough motivation in them, they are in the wrong business. This will not be Croatia’s reserve team, most of these players have already been a part of national team”, explained Kovač, who although was against the timing of the friendly fixture, understands money now dictates the show.
“National teams have to be financed through friendlies as well. The federation has to make money, that is why Real Madrid goes to America and Asia, to make money. This was the only time we could play this friendly, but we will make sure Italy is our priority,” said Niko, who says it wont be easy in Italy.
“Italy will be at their best in front of their fans. Antonio Conte implemented many of his quality ideas in the national team and we will do all that we can to answer them. We want to add more points to our tally, yet we cannot say that we will easily beat Bulgaria, or Italy, or any other opponent. However, we feel optimistic, the atmosphere in the team is good and I hope that we can show that at San Siro”, said Croatia’s head coach. (HNS)