The Croatian national team will take part in the Qatar Airways tournament in Doha in March, the Croatian Football Federation confirmed on Friday.
ZAGREB, 14 February 2020 – The Croatian national team will take part in the Qatar Airways International Tournament in Doha in March, the Croatian Football Federation confirmed on Friday.
The Qatar capital will host the 4-team international tournament which features teams which are all ranked inside the Top 12 in the world.
Along with World Cup runners-up Croatia, the tournament features world No. 1 Belgium, current Euro champions Portugal (ranked 7th) and Switzerland (ranked 12th). All four teams are also taking part in Euro 2020 in the summer.
Croatia will face Switzerland in the first match of the tournament on 26 March (7:30 pm local time). The next match for Zlatko Dalic’s side will be on 30 March when they take on Portugal (8:30 pm local time).
It will be the first time Croatia has played in Qatar, the country that will host the FIFA World Cup at the end of 2022, and both matches will be played at the spectacular Education City Stadium.
“I am proud that we were able to reach an agreement for Croatia’s participation in such a prestigious tournament. On the sports side, we assured top opponents for the national team which was the desire of coach Dalic and the professional staff, and on the other hand, we negotiated significant financial resources that can be invested in further development of Croatian football,” said HNS president Davor Suker.
“It is a well-known wish for Croatia to play strong friendly matches before the big competition, to see where we are and what we need to work on, so I am very pleased that Croatia’s participation in such a strong tournament has been confirmed. Switzerland and Portugal are great teams that we respect very much. The trip to Doha will also be a great opportunity to further bond and to have a good time after almost five months away from national team gatherings, which we certainly are all very much looking forward to,” said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic.
Dalic gave an interview with SN: Basically Brekalo will be with the U21s for the March games. The fourth CB spot is very open and the candidates are Pongracic, Mitrovic, Katic, Benkovic, Barac and Skoric. Barisic’s injury isn’t serious. Pasalic for once seems to be a lock for the NT but Dalic says it’s hard to play him due to the competition in his position. As for goalkeepers as long as Sluga and Kalinic play they will be in the squad, if not he specifically mentioned Grbic and Posavec who seem to be next in line
Don’t expect many new names in the next friedlies but Croatia is having some sort of “U23” tournament in Dubai and some players Dalic is keeping an eye on will be on that team (SN suspects HNL top scorer Mirko Maric)
He won’t call an extended squad pre-Euro, pretty much when the training camp opens in Istra he will have no more than 25-26 players and pretty much the squad is known by now
Don't see any new players coming in unless somebody gets really hot. Perhaps Budimir as he fits the lone striker role better then Kramaric who usually plays out wide or behind the striker for his club.
Rakitic interview. Some of his responses regarding the NT:
Svako malo mediji izvuku iz rukava drugi klub u koji navodno prelazite, međutim nama je u Hrvatskoj od svega bitnija reprezentacija. Nakon što je odgođen Euro za 2021. godinu dobili smo informaciju od vama bliskih ljudi da ćete igrati na tom kontinentalnom prvenstvu, no želimo to čuti od vas. Da budemo sigurni.
- A ne, to vam sada neću reći. Nažalost, došlo je do toga da se Euro morao prolongirati, to je bio veliki udarac za sve nas, ali u tom trenutku najpametnija odluka. Najvažnije je zdravlje. Što će biti dogodine stvarno ne znam. Glavno je sad da izađemo iz ove situacije, da svi zajedno budemo jaki. Imam još o dosta toga porazgovarati s izbornikom.
Znači da smo požurili kad smo konstatirali da ćemo vas i 2021. gledati u nacionalnom dresu?
- Ne znam ja što ste vi požurili ili niste požurili. Situacija je takva kakva jest. Mislim da moram biti realan i objektivan prema svemu. Znate, kao i uvijek, da sam jako ozbiljan kad govorim o toj temi jer meni su reprezentacija i Hrvatska sve. Daleko broj jedan. Iznad svega. I gledam dobrobit svih nas. Vidjet ćemo kako će se razviti situacija u mojoj karijeri, a eto, iz neke nesreće ili sreće imamo dovoljno vremena do Eura. Moram obaviti otvoreni razgovor s izbornikom pa ćemo vidjeti što i kako.
Je li vam nešto sporno? U najboljim ste igračkim godinama, ne nalazimo razlog zašto ne biste igrali za reprezentaciju kad biste mogli još puno dati.
- Baš mi je drago da ste to rekli. Ja sebe vidim u najboljoj mogućoj formi, osjećam se savršeno, nikad bolje. Isto tako, iako treniram sam, što je malo dosadno, nikad nisam kvalitetnije radio i bio spremniji nego u ovih mjesec i pol dana. Odmorio sam se možda dan ili dva, a inače vježbam dvaput dnevno. Imam 32 godine, mislim da su to najljepše godine jer svaki trenutak cijenim još puno više. Željan sam nogometa kao nikad. To nije sporno, a pogotovo nije sporna moja ljubav prema reprezentaciji, mojim suigračima i navijačima u Hrvatskoj. Posebice nakon ljeta u Rusiji. Ali isto tako sve treba proanalizirati, igranje u reprezentaciji nije samo stvar mojeg mišljenja nego, kažem, moram popričati s izbornikom.
Imali smo pripremljeno pitanje Modrić sa 36, vi sa 33, možete li na Euru 2021. ponoviti Rusiju? I je li odgoda minus ili može biti i plus? Kao i hoćete li igrati do Katara?
- Neobično je što će u dvije godine biti europsko i svjetsko prvenstvo, to će biti novo za sve nas. No, nogomet ide brzo, u malo vremena se može dogoditi puno stvari. Hoće li odgoda biti prednost ili šteta, to će se tek pokazati. Može biti jedno i drugo. Za neke igrače pozitivno, za druge ne toliko. Ajmo sad korak po korak, nemojmo stavljati previše pitanja. Hrvatska reprezentacija će na Euru 2021. biti jako dobra, bilo to sa mnom, s Lukom ili s nekim trećim.
Mi imamo izvrsne igrače i bit ćemo spremni, ako Bog da, ponoviti, ukoliko je to uopće moguće, ono što smo napravili u Rusiji. To je želja svi nas.
God some of those questions are so bloodthirsty. Leave the guy alone lol.
It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. On the one hand, a year of relatively more rest could do wonders for Modric/Rakitic and see them put it another good tournament. On the other hand, I kinda want to see us mix it up especially against England. Kovacic and Petkovic add a different dimension to our game which might throw England off a little,
Really hard to see how things will play out...obviously Rak wants to play at the Euros but I can't see him there unless Dalić gives him a guarantee he'll be in the XI. Why else would he need to talk to him?
Interview with Lovren a few days ago: Warning for Suho. You'll get a stroke reading this 😁
Lovren, who will turn 31 this July, spoke to daily Sportske Novosti about the current situation with COVID-19, the postponement of Euro 2020, and his future with the national team.
“I’ll play for the national team until my knees pop! I will retire from the ‘Vatreni’ when they have to push me in a wheelchair! I’ll go on for as long as I can and until I am able to,” Lovren said.
The centre-back also believes captain Luka Modric will not only captain Croatia at the Euros next summer but continue on even after.
“I’ll reveal something. I talked to Luka Modric. I told him, “Luka, you’re like wine, the older you get, the better you are.” And he himself knows it would be crazy to say goodbye to the national team now. How could he say “goodbye” after going through the qualifiers? Luka has the energy, he’s ready in his head, he’s a top professional. I firmly believe that they will continue to be with us. Not only at Euro 2020 but also after the Euros! I know how he thinks, he’s always with the national team,” Lovren said.
Friendly arranged with Switzerland on October 7 in St.Gallen, one more friendly to be announced in November though opponent not yet known
2020 calendar is pretty much set, home venues for the Nations League matches not yet decided, Zagreb may not pass UEFA inspection so expectation is Osijek and Split
September 5: Portugal (Porto)
September 8: France (Paris)
October 7: Switzerland (St. Gallen)
October 11: Sweden (H)
October 14: France (H)
November 10/11: Friendly
November 14: Sweden (Solna)
November 17: Portugal (H)