Croatia faces criticism for relying on veterans Kramaric (33 years old), Perisic (35 years old), Modric (38 years old)

Many Croatian legends believe that Coach Zlatko Dalic made a mistake by relying on many older stars who are not in good form, resulting in the team’s draw with Albania 2-2 and the risk of elimination from the group stage of Euro 2024.

Croatia faces criticism for relying on veterans Kramaric (33 years old), Perisic (35 years old), Modric (38 years old)

“The result reflects the match progression,” said former 63-year-old midfielder Tomislav Ivkovic to HRT. “Croatia was lucky not to lose 0-2 in the first half. We then made changes and had some great moments until scoring the second goal. But after that, the team could not take advantage of the momentum and counterattack situations to finish off the opponent.”

Before Albania, Coach Zlatko Dalic continued to trust the core pillars of Croatia for many years, such as Ivan Perisic (35 years old), Luka Modric (38), Marcelo Brozovic (31) or Andrej Kramaric (33). The team had a terrible start, allowing Albania to take the lead thanks to Qazim Laci in the 11th minute.

Dalic’s troops escaped defeat several times, struggled and only improved their game after changes in the second half when Luka Sucic, Mario Pasalic or Ante Budimir entered the field.

In the 74th minute, Budimir assisted Kramaric to finish close to the corner, drawing 1-1. Two minutes later, Sucic’s shot hit defender Arlind Ajeti, then bounced off Klaus Gjasula into the net, helping Croatia take the lead. But in the fifth minute of injury time, Gjasula made amends with a close shot, helping Albania secure a 2-2 score.

Ivkovic believes that Dalic made a mistake by relying on stars who are not in good form, pointing out the difficulties right-back Josip Juranovic faced competing for a regular position at Union Berlin, while Brozovic had moved to Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League and no longer played at the highest level.

Ivkovic praised the efforts of Perisic and Modric, but stressed that the veteran duo could no longer shoulder Croatia. “I apologize to Modric but I have to say what I see. He is no longer the player he once was,” he added.

On HRT, Vedran Jese – former defender, who twice wore the Croatian national team jersey – praised Sucic, Pasalic, Budimir for making a difference, while criticizing Brozovic’s poor performance. “The young players brought an energy source that helped Croatia turn the tables after a terrible first half. It’s a pity that Croatia could not maintain the advantage,” Jese commented.

Meanwhile, leading Croatian sports journalist Anton Samovojska even compared Budimir to legend Lionel Messi. “The first half was really desperate,” Samovojska expressed. “The terrible game completely turned around when Budimir entered the field. It felt like Croatia just brought Messi into the game.”

The draw leaves Croatia with only one point after two rounds, continuing to be at the bottom of Group B and at risk of being eliminated from the group stage of Euro 2024.

⚽️ UEFA Euro 1960 to 2021 with 16 tournaments and 10 national champions

⏩ Germany won the Euro 3 times (1972 – 1980 – 1996)

⏩ Spain won the Euro 3 times (1964 – 2008 – 2012)

⏩ France won the Euro 2 times (1984 – 2000)

⏩ Italy won the Euro 2 times (1968 – 2020)

⏩ Soviet Union won the Euro once in 1960

⏩ Czechoslovakia won the Euro once in 1976

⏩ Netherlands won the Euro once in 1988

⏩ Denmark won the Euro once in 1992

⏩ Greece won the Euro once in 2004

⏩ Portugal won the Euro once in 2016

With the participation of the strongest European teams according to the FIFA ranking on February 15, 2024 such as France (2nd) – England (3rd) – Belgium (4th) – Netherlands (6th) – Portugal (7th) – Spain (8th) – Italy (9th) – Croatia (10th) and bright stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku to promising young talents, Euro 2024 promises to deliver top-level and dramatic matches.

EURO 2024 will take place in Germany from June 14 to July 14, 2024 in 10 cities in Germany with 24 participating teams. The teams are divided into 6 groups to select the first and second teams in each group, and the 4 third-placed teams with the best performance to get a ticket to the knock-out round. The opening match is scheduled for June 14 between host Germany and Scotland.

⚽️ Detailed EURO 2024 match groups:

⚽️ Group A: Germany, Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland

⚽️ Group B: Spain, Croatia, Italy, Albania

⚽️ Group C: England, Denmark, Serbia, Slovenia

⚽️ Group D: Poland, France, Netherlands, Austria

⚽️ Group E: Slovakia, Romania, Belgium, Ukraine

⚽️ Group F: Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic, Georgia

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