A very different looking Croatia side will meet Turkey in an international friendly on Wednesday in Istanbul.
Croatia and Turkey will meet for the 10th time today at the Vodafone Arena and coach Zlatko Dalić has already announced that there will be a number of changes to the starting lineup.
For a number of players, it will be their last chance to prove themselves in front of Dalić to stay in the squad. A number of first-team regulars will be rested ahead of Nations League matches against Sweden and Portugal in the coming week.
Luton Town’s Simon Sluga and Atletico Madrid’s Ivo Gabrić are set to be given time in goal, whilst 23-year-old Bordeaux midfielder Toma Bašić is set to make his debut.
Filip Uremović and Domagoj Bradarić, who both impressed during last month’s internationals, are likely to join Duje Čaleta-Car and the experienced Domagoj Vida in the back four.
Milan Badelj and Mario Pašalić will feature in the centre of midfield with Dalić expected to give game time to a number of the other fringe players, including Marko Rog and Mislav Oršić.
With no Andrej Kramarić or Bruno Petković at his disposal, Dalić is expected to start Osasuna striker Ante Budimir upfront.
“We have a difficult match ahead of us and a demanding opponent. We have the utmost respect for the Turkish national team, which recently drew 3: 3 with Germany, which is an indicator that they are a quality team. We will try to play a good game and prepare for what awaits us next. A friendly match with Turkey is very important to us, I expect the players to respond in the right way. It is a great pity that we will play in front of empty stands, “said Dalić.
“We put five more players on the squad list for the simple reason that it was two weeks before the first game (when we named the squad), and we are aware of the new circumstances in which anything can happen. And it happened. Some players were injured, some were infected by a virus and it was important for us to have a sufficient number of players for three games in a short period of time.”
Dalić says that he is looking for victory tonight.
“We are world runners-up, we want to win every game, no matter who we play against, and at the same time, we have to be careful not to burden the players who play three games in a week. In the Nations League, we are in a group with the current European and world champions, and at the same time we are carrying out a kind of generational change. Nevertheless, our main goal is to stay in the elite group.”
Croatia has won three games, lost two and drawn four in the last nine meetings between the two countries. The most famous match was at Euro 2008 in the quarterfinal when Croatia lost on penalties after Turkey equalised in the last moments of extra-time.
The match will kick-off today at 6:45 pm with Nova TV in Croatia broadcasting the game live.
Likely starting XI
CROATIA: Sluga – Uremović, Ćaleta-Car, Vida, Bradarić – Badelj, Bašić – Rog, Pašalić, Oršić – Budimir.