Croatia football coach Zlatko Dalić has announced his squad on Monday for upcoming matches in September.
Croatia will first face Portugal away in Algarve in a friendly on 6 September, before meeting Spain in their UEFA Nations League opener in Elche on 11 September.
Dalić named his first squad since famously leading Croatia to the silver medal at the World Cup with five players from Russia. Mario Mandžukić, Danijel Subašić and Vedran Ćorluka have retired, whilst Ivan Strinić is absent through injury.
Croatia squad for Portugal & Spain:
Goalkeepers: Lovre Kalinić (Gent), Dominik Livaković (Dinamo) Karlo Letica (Brugge)
Defenders: Domagoj Vida (Bešiktaš), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Šime Vrsaljko (Inter), Josip Pivarić (Dynamo Kijev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Matej Mitrović (Club Brugge), Borna Barišić (Rangers), Antonio Milić (Anderlecht)
Midfielders: Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitić (Barcelona), Mateo Kovačić (Chelsea), Milan Badelj (Lazio), Marcelo Brozović (Inter), Filip Bradarić (Rijeka), Marko Rog (Napoli), Mario Pašalić (Atalanta)
Strikers: Ivan Perišić (Inter), Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Fiorentina), Ante Rebić (Eintracht), Ivan Santini (Anderlecht), Marko Livaja (AEK)
Players called up who were not in Russia at the World Cup include goalkeeper Karlo Letica, Borna Barišić, Antonio Milić, Matej Mitrović, Ivan Santini, Marko Livaja, Marko Rog and Mario Pašalić.
“In an agreement with U-21 selector Nenad Gračan, for these matches, I did not call up Josip Brekalo, Borna Sosa or Duju Ćaleta-Car, who we are closely following and will count on in the near future. Nevertheless, they are required more for the youth national team who are fighting to qualify for the European Championships which would be an important success for this talented generation,” Dalic explained.
“Along with the players who retired from internationals, Ivan Strinić is also not on the list and we wish him well in his recovery. We will follow closely the situations with the injuries to Dejan Lovren and Andrej Kramarić and we hope everyone else remains fit. Ahead of us are two excellent challenges, matches against big opponents and we want to continue to represent Croatia in the way we did in Russia, brave, engaged and with quality,” said Dalić.
Croatia first played Portugal at the 1996 EURO and lost 3-0. The two nations have also met in friendlies in 2005 (0:2) and in 2013 (0:1). At 2016 EURO, Portugal knocked out Croatia in the quarterfinal.
Croatia and Spain have met six times in the past with Spain winning three of those encounters and Croatia two, including the famous 2-1 win at 2016 EURO.