Regular left back Ivan Strinić, who has struggled in that position for Croatia, will not travel to Belgrade after being ruled out when he picked up an injury during Croatia’s last training run in Zagreb. Croatia has struggled to fill the void left by former Real Madrid left back Robert Jarni when he retired over a decade ago, and coach Igor Stimac will be hoping the aggressive Vida can do the job.
Stimac’s other dilemma will be who he decides to play up front to partner the in form Mario Mandžukić. There is speculation that the role may go to Brazilian-born Eduardo da Silva, a player who Stimac’s has not favoured in the past. Udinese defender Igor Bubnjić has been called into the side to replace Strinić, whilst Hamburg midfielder Milan Badelj has also been forced out through injury. Croatia left on a charter flight to Belgrade at lunchtime on Thursday and will train at the Red Star Stadium tonight. Kick-off tomorrow night is at 20:45.