CROATIA TEAM NEWS: Croatia face Spain tomorrow evening in their first ever Nations League match.
Manager Zlatko Dalic and his team of World Cup finalists could sit back on Saturday evening and watch their League A Group 4 rivals go head-to-head at Wembley.
They’d have seen Spain edge out England 2-1, with a largely impressive opening display under new boss Luis Enrique – and will now be raring to take on the Spanish themselves at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero in Elche.
Dalic’s men did play a friendly on Thursday night, drawing 1-1 with Portugal as Ivan Perisic and Pepe exchanged goals, but he has to deal with several team changes since the World Cup.
Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and striker Mario Mandzukic both retired from international football after their exploits in Russia, while centre-back pair Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida are both injured.
“This is not a must-win match for us, but a good result would keep our mood positive and it’s much nicer when you win”
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic
Forwards Ante Rebic and Andrej Kramaric are also crocked, so Marko Livaja, Duje Cop and Ivan Santini are in contention to play up front.
Matej Mitrovic and Tin Jedvaj look best placed to start at the back.
Ahead of the game, Dalic said: “This is not a must-win match for us, but a good result would keep our mood positive and it’s much nicer when you win.
“That’s why we want to win every match, but we are playing against a Spain team which didn’t meet their expectations at the World Cup and are highly motivated now.
“It will be a tough match, so I think a draw would be good for us.
“Croatia are the World Cup runners-up and all teams will be motivated against us – and we have to be aware of that.”
After this game, Croatia will host England in their next Nations League match on Friday 12 October.
Click here to see the Spain team news.
Croatia (4-3-3): Kalinic; Vrsajlko, Jedvaj, Mitrovic, Pivaric; Modric, Brozovic, Rakitic; Pjaca, Perisic, Livaja