26-man-squad announced:

Croatia have announced their preliminary squad for the upcoming European Championships this summer, with plenty of experienced household names featuring alongside some players more unfamiliar to casual football watchers.

 

📢 Here they are! #Vatreni🔥

🇭🇷 #Croatia #EURO2020 preliminary squad! #BeProud pic.twitter.com/TGUynpPvEd

— HNS (@HNS_CFF) May 17, 2021

Just six of the starting eleven from the 2018 World Cup final have been included in the squad for this summer’s tournament, with Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic having since retired from International football, whilst there remains no recall for Domagoj Vida, who was impressive in Russia three years ago. However, cornerstones Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic remain.

Croatia have also bolstered their ranks in the years since with the improvement of Mislav Orsic, the man who scored a hat-trick to knock Tottenham Hotspur out of the Europa League. With sixteen goals and seven assists in his 35 appearances for Dinamo Zagreb this season, the winger will certainly be one that opposition defenders have to keep a close eye on.

There is also a place for Marseille’s impressive centre back Duje Caleta-Car, who has helped his side to a fifth-placed finish in Ligue 1 this season. Standing at 6ft3 inches tall, the defender is a presence in both boxes, and has netted twice for Marseilles this season.

Having been linked with a move to then-Premier League Champions Liverpool in January, Croatian fans will hope that the 24-year-old reaches his full potential at this tournament, where he will likely be partnered with ex-Liverpool player Dejan Lovren.

 

Old rivalries renew:

Croatia have been England’s kryptonite for some time now in major tournaments. Denying them a place at Euro 2008 by beating Steve Mclaren’s side 3-2, they also knocked England out of the 2018 World Cup at the semi-final stage thanks to a late Mario Mandzukic winner.

It was almost poetic, then, that the two sides were drawn into the same group for the upcoming European Championships, alongside the Czech Republic and Scotland. Gareth Southgate’s side will be hoping that they can turn around their poor record against Croatia in the upcoming tournament, as doing so would certainly provide a massive boost to their chances of making it out of the group stage.

With the European Championships fast approaching, it is shaping up to be another brilliant summer of football. With the talent on offer in Croatia’s squad, they will once again fancy themselves to go a long way in the tournament.

 

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