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Croatia Euro 2024 squad: Who makes the cut? Which stars have missed out?

:Headline: Croatia Euro 2024 squad: Who makes the cut? Which stars have missed out?:
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric headlines Croatia's squad for Euro 2024, while Manchester City's Josko Gvardiol and Mateo Kovacic are also included.
Sports Mole

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric headlines Croatia's squad for Euro 2024, with the 38-year-old set to represent his country at a major international tournament for the final time.

Even if Modric leaves Real Madrid this summer, he has no plans to retire, and the veteran midfielder will again be central to Croatia's chances of success at the upcoming European Championship.

Croatia have excelled in their last two World Cups, finishing as runners-up in 2018 before claiming third in 2022, but they were knocked out of Euro 2020 in the round of 16.

The national side have never managed to progress past the quarter-final stage of a European Championship, reaching the final eight in 1996 and 2008.

This summer, Zlatko Dalic's side will take on Spain, Albania and Italy in the group stage of the competition, and it will be fascinating to see how much of an impression they make.

Modric set for final major international tournament

"He (Modric) can hardly wait to play for Croatia and be our leader," Dalic told reporters during his press conference to announce the squad.

Modric has made 175 appearances for Croatia, scoring 25 times in the process, and he will again be central to the team's chances of success at this summer's competition.

"I sincerely hope this will not be his last major competition as I can see he is still in impeccable physical form. Luka has changed the trajectory of Croatian football in general as well as the way that other nations look at our national team. He has given so much to this national team, and has won so many trophies," defender Josko Gvardiol told UEFA's official website ahead of the competition.

Croatia beat North Macedonia 3-0 in a friendly on June 3 before recording a 2-1 victory over Portugal on Saturday evening to bring their preparations for the tournament to a close.

Ivan Perisic is the leading goalscorer in the squad with 33 goals in 131 caps, but there will be some concern over the 35-year-old's fitness, having only returned from a long-term knee injury last month.

Man City duo Gvardiol, Kovacic are included

Fresh from helping Manchester City win this season's Premier League, Gvardiol and Mateo Kovacic are both included in the squad, as is Bundesliga-winning Bayer Leverkusen defender Josip Stanisic.

Domagoj Vida, who has represented his country on 105 occasions, is also in the squad, while Marcelo Brozovic, who these days plays his club football for Al-Nassr, is another notable call-up.

Andrej Kramaric is the second-highest goalscorer in the squad with 28 goals, while Bruno Petkovic, who has 11 goals for his national side, is another option in the final third of the field.

"There is no pressure. I just want us to enjoy football, for Croatia to be good again, and for the fans to be happy and proud", Dalic told reporters after announcing his squad.

Ante Budimir, meanwhile, is another interesting option in the final third of the field, and there have been suggestions that the 32-year-old could be given the nod to lead the line this summer.

Who is Croatia's head coach?

Dalic has been in charge of Croatia since October 2017, boasting a record of 48 wins, 15 draws and 21 defeats from his 84 matches at the helm.

The 57-year-old has led the national side to the runners-up spot at the 2018 World Cup, before claiming third in 2022.

However, he was unable to steer the country past the round of at Euro 2020, so there is certainly room for improvement in this competition.

Dalic's experience of navigating the team through huge football matches should stand him in good stead this summer, while it would be fair to say that he knows his players extremely well.

Dalic actually has a contract until June 2026, so he is very much a figure for both now and the future, and it will be fascinating to see how he lines his side up during Euro 2024 considering the quality of the players available.

Recent form

Croatia, as mentioned, played two pre-tournament friendlies, recording a 3-0 victory over North Macedonia before beating one of the favourites for Euro 2024, Portugal, 2-1.

The national side are currently on a run of six straight wins in all competitions, with their last defeat proving to be a 2-1 reverse to Wales in a Euro 2024 qualification match last October.

Since losing on penalties to Spain in the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League final, Croatia have played 10 times, boasting a record of eight wins and two defeats.

Croatia did not finish top of their Euro 2024 qualification section, though, with 16 points from eight matches seeing them claim second in Group D behind Turkey.

Dalic's team won five, drew one and lost two of their qualification fixtures, scoring 13 goals and conceding four, and they will need to play a lot better to make an impression at this summer's tournament.


Croatia Euro 2024 squad in full

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livakovic (Fenerbahce), Ivica Ivusic (Pafos), Nediljko Labrovic (Rijeka)

Defenders: Domagoj Vida (AEK Athens), Josip Juranovic (Union Berlin), Josko Gvardiol (Manchester City), Borna Sosa (Ajax), Josip Stanisic (Bayer Leverkusen), Josip Sutalo (Ajax), Martin Erlic (Sassuolo), Marin Pongracic (Lecce)

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Manchester City), Marcelo Brozovic (Al-Nassr), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Nikola Vlasic (Torino), Lovro Majer (Wolsfburg), Luka Ivanusec (Feyenoord), Luka Sucic (RB Salzburg), Martin Baturina (Dinamo Zagreb)

Attackers: Ivan Perisic (Hajduk Split), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Marko Pjaca (Rijeka), Ante Budimir (Osasuna), Marco Pasalic (Rijeka)


Group and fixtures

June 15: Spain 3-0 Croatia (5pm | Olympiastadion, Berlin)
June 19: Croatia 2-2 Albania (2pm | Volksparkstadion, Hamburg)
June 24: Croatia 1-1 Italy (8pm | Dusseldorf Arena, Dusseldorf)


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