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Stanišić to make Croatia debut against Cyprus, change of position for Gvardiol

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Josip Stanišić (Photo credit: Jurgen Fromme /DPA/PIXSELL)

ZAGREB, 5 October 2021 – Zlatko Dalić has indicated that talented young Bayern Munich defender Josip Stanišić will make his senior debut for Croatia on Friday night (8 October). 

Top of the table Croatia takes on bottom placed Cyprus on Friday night in Larnaca in their Group H World Cup qualifier with Stanišić looking set to start at right back. 

“Stanišić is my first pick at right back, inn that posItion we also have Uremović, which is not his natural position, and in an offensive variation we can also use Brekalo. Nevertheless, Stanišić is my first choice, he is with us for the first time, but if he can fit in at Bayern, I believe he can with the national team,” Dalić told the press this week. 

Croatia’s coach has a number of injuries among his defensive players. Dejan Lovren and Josip Juranović are both not with the squad and will not travel to Cyprus. Domagoj Vida has also just returned from injury.

“Centre backs? The choice is wide. Joško Gvadiol will play at left centre-back, that is my plan. We need a left-footed player at left centre-back, especially against Cyprus. On the other side we have Duje Ćaleta-Car, Vida, Uremović, Pongračić, Škorić. We will find the right solution,” Dalić added.

Gvardiol, who played at left-back during this summer’s Euro, says that he will have no problem making the move.

“Although I play as a left back at the club, it should not be a problem for me to play as a left stopper, because that is my natural position. If the coach puts me in that position, I’m sure I’ll do it at, as high a level as possible. Cyprus? Today, nothing is so easy in football and wherever you go, you have to work hard. A difficult match awaits us, we have to be at the optimal level and if we are like that, there should be no problems,” Gvardiol said today. 

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Joško Gvardiol

Despite the injuries at the back, the good news for Dalić is that he welcomes the return of captain Luka Modrić who was missing from the September qualifiers. 

“Captain Luka Modrić is returning. Our goal is to play attacking in both games and try to win. The most important thing is not to relax, because it will not be easy at all. A difficult match awaits us in Cyprus, as it will be against Slovakia in Osijek,” Dalić said, adding that Andrej Kramarić and Marko Livaja are his first attacking options for Friday. 

 Stanišić to make Croatia debut against Cyprus, change of position for Gvardiol

Gvardiol at today’s press conference (Photo: Drago Sopta/HNS.)

The coach has touched on the players who were not selected for these two qualifiers, saying the door was not closed for anybody. 

“I repeat once again, no one will be ruled out when it comes to the national team. Petkovic? His door is not closed, same for Rebić and Vrsaljko. I choose what I think is best, a lot of noise in the media will not help anyone because I decide. I trust the players who are there, and everyone has the right to fight for the national team with their behaviour, play and attitude in training,” concluded Dalić. 

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