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World Cup qualifiers: Perišić and Brozović in doubt for Croatia after outbreak at Inter

Ivan Perisic

Ivan Perišić (Photo credit: Антон Зайцев/Creative Commons license/Soccer.ru)

ZAGREB, 18 March 2021 – Croatia will open its 2022 World Cup qualifying this month with three matches against Slovenia Cyprus and Malta. 

Coach Zlatko Dalić may have to do without the services of Inter Milan pair Ivan Perišić and Marcelo Brozović for those matches following a coronavirus outbreak at the club. 

Inter has decided to suspend all team activities for the next four days and also has prohibited its players from fulfilling any call-ups to their respective national teams. 

Inter’s match this weekend against Sassuolo has also been postponed after more players tested positive. 

Inter said the local health authority in Milan decided to suspend any team activities for four days, including postponing the match against Sassuolo and allowing players to answer international call-ups.

However, there is still hope that Brozović and Perišić could join the Croatia squad next week. Inter said the entire team would be tested again on Monday and if they are negative the decision could be left to the players to make. 

Marcelo brozovic

Marcelo Brozović (Photo credit: Антон Зайцев/Soccer.ru/CC BY-SA 3.0)

In February, FIFA issued a decision giving clubs the opportunity to ban players from attending representative gatherings in March, and this rule applies especially to countries that are on the red list and from which leaving means quarantining.

“The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) is familiar with the situation at Inter and is in communication with the club, the Italian Football Association, FIFA, UEFA and the relevant epidemiological bodies to try to find a solution that would allow Ivan Perišić and Marcel Brozović to join the Croatian national team,” HNS said in a statement today.

Should the pair not be available, Dalić has five players named on-call: Mile Škorić, Toma Bašić, Marin Pongračić, Ivo Grbić, Kristijan Lovrić

Croatia starts their World Cup qualifying campaign next Wednesday against Slovenia in Ljubljana before facing Cyprus on March 27 and Malta on March 30 in Rijeka. 

CROATIA SQUAD

Goalies: Lovre Kalinić, Dominik Livaković, Simon Sluga

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Šime Vrsaljko, Borna Barišić, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Dario Melnjak, Filip Uremović, Josip Juranović

Midfield: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Milan Badelj, Mario Pašalić, Nikola Vlašić

Strikers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Ante Rebić, Josip Brekalo, Bruno Petković, Mislav Oršić, Ante Budimir

On-call: Mile Škorić, Toma Bašić, Marin Pongračić, Ivo Grbić, Kristijan Lovrić

The Vatreni will gather on March 22 in Zagreb, from where they will leave for Ljubljana a day later. Immediately after the match with Slovenia, the national team will travel to Opatija where it will stay until the end of the gathering.

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