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Discussion Starter #1
I think this could be an interesting poll question (with options being N. Kovac, Vukojevic, Pokrivac, Andric, no DM etc..) about who should be the defensive midfielder on the national team, if you believe the NT should play with one.

I always think when we play the smaller nations, teams we should beat easily the a DM is not necessary and you can play Srna, Kranjcar, Modric, Rakitic and Pranjic all in the midfield, without a defensive master or a guy who stops attacks. Though of course against the bigger/tougher teams I believe one is necessary at the moment.

With Niko Kovac maybe being done with the NT, and it shouldn't be a maybe anymore really, I don't think he is a regular at Red Bull Salzburg currently, one has to look to the future of that spot.

Some people are high on Vukojevic, I'm not but he has been a regular with Dynamo Kiev (which in my opinion is no big deal really ;) ) and he has been playing in the Champions League, but typical of these Ukrainian sides they show nothing when they're there. He is a hard worker and a guy with a good shot, but a red card waiting to happen

Nikola Pokrivac lately for Monaco has played more and has even added a few nice goals to his name. Not sure if he plays DM for Monaco but he did at Euro and he did quite well against Poland and with Dinamo Zagreb at that position. He seems to be a calm player, good passer and from what I see one Croatian player who actually wants to shoot from outside of the box and actually tries to break the net while in that process.

The wildcard for me is Andric, who has been great for Hajduk and if it wasn't for an injury he could be doing it outside of the HNL. He is not ready to start in the NT yet but I feel there is definetely a spot for him. Good worker, full of energy and he can also chip in with a few goals.

Can't think of any others ready to jump into the NT picture, maybe in the future guys like Ivica Vrdoljak, Igor Prahic, Domagoj Vida could get into the picture
 

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Some people are high on Vukojevic, I'm not but he has been a regular with Dynamo Kiev (which in my opinion is no big deal really ;) ) and he has been playing in the Champions League, but typical of these Ukrainian sides they show nothing when they're there. He is a hard worker and a guy with a good shot, but a red card waiting to happen
that's simply not true,
he didn't get a red-card in his whole professional career!
over the last 4 years he made 111 games and collected only 26 yellow cards. This season he had 28 games and 7 yellow cards, in 9 champions-league and cl-qualification matches it was only 1 yellow!

http://www.transfermarkt.de/de/spieler/27954/vukojevic-ognjen/default/2008/leistungsdaten.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
note, he played for Dinamo Zagreb ;) I can count on my hand how many red cards they recieved in 2-3 seasons. And to me the Ukrainian league isn't even that high of a level, but you see the ratio is higher in Ukraine than in Croatia

he could have very easily been sent off in one of Dinamo's European matches last season, I believe against Hamburg where he basically horse-collared a guy
 

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whatever, in 30 international games it was even less, only 6 yellows.
for a defensive midfielder that's very few, you can hardly say that he's "always on the brink of a red card" when he never got one in his life.
 

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HAHA at "red card waiting to happen." HS and MM like(d) to use this as a reason why he shouldn't have been considered as one of N.Kovac's replacements.

Let's not stick with the facts. You know, the one's which say he gets very little to NO red cards. Let's go with YOUR gut which tells you it's "just waiting to happen." Too funny.

And then your other excuse (once 50 Lipa rightfully calls you out on it) is because he played for Dinamo Zagreb and Dinamo Kiev? Once again very sound logic. :thmbup:
 

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anyway, it should be decided between pokrivac and vukojevic,
the blanket adds more to the offence while piggy is a far better runner and defensively much better. Personally I would give vukojevic the edge for now.
 

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We are starting to get deep in this position. It's time for Niko to move on. Vukojevic and Pokrivac showed against Poland that they are ready. Andric deserves a call up too.
 

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The contrast offered by Pokrivač and Vukojević is a great asset to the NT. Alongside a couple of solely attacking players (ie. Luka & Raketa) we could play both of the DM's and IMO it would be a great 4-man midfield. Unfortunately, and without getting into great detail, we know they won't play until you-know-who decides playing for the NT is not worth his time anymore...
 

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The fact these guys are in their mid-20's and can't beat out a 38 year old for the starting spot says a lot about their quality. :)
 

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The fact these guys are in their mid-20's and can't beat out a 38 year old for the starting spot says a lot about their quality. :)
:howler::howler:
 

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Jokes aside though lets keep this civil and discuss the replacement options we have since we have now got a couple of players playing consistently in their clubs and showing some good performances (namely Vukojević and Pokrivač)

As HS said there is no need to have a strict DM against teams who are on par or below us because the attacking strenght we have is not matched by a lot of NTs. We should concentrate on our strenghts and those definately are in the attacking portion of the field.

Vuk and Pokrivač have to make Bilić take notice and they are both doing a good job so far!
 

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Like someone suggested, I wouldn't mind playing both Vukojevic and Pokrivac with Modric and Rakitic in front of them. Have Pranjic and Srna as LB and RB respectfully and wow! thats a scary offensive line-up which would definetly hold its own on the defensive end....thats what friendlies are for eh Bilic:pp
 

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Like someone suggested, I wouldn't mind playing both Vukojevic and Pokrivac with Modric and Rakitic in front of them. Have Pranjic and Srna as LB and RB respectfully and wow! thats a scary offensive line-up which would definetly hold its own on the defensive end....thats what friendlies are for eh Bilic:pp
:thumbsup:
 

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Like someone suggested, I wouldn't mind playing both Vukojevic and Pokrivac with Modric and Rakitic in front of them. Have Pranjic and Srna as LB and RB respectfully and wow! thats a scary offensive line-up which would definetly hold its own on the defensive end....thats what friendlies are for eh Bilic:pp
Solid defensively in the middle of the park but not really on the flanks though is it?
 

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This really is a position of strength for us. We have a lot of options at DM such that we are literally falling over ourselves. I mean really we have what, 7 or 8 options for this position. We have the unproven players at the NT level Ivica Vrdoljak, Mario Brkljaca, Domagoj Vida, and Srdjan Andric . And we have the current crop of NT'ers at DM : Ognjen Vukojevic, Jerko Leko, Nikola Pokrivac and Jurica Vranjes.

Where is their a problem here? Because I don't see it. Sometimes too much of a good thing leaves u with some tough choices,pick the most deserving/versatile 3 DM's. Criteria may be something like this : 1 who is slightly more offensive oriented, 1 who is slightly more defensively oriented and 1 who is maybe more versatile and can play another position if asked.

If thats my criteria, then I would probably choose : Vukojevic, Pokrivac and Vranjes/Andric.

Actually I may choose all 4 mainly because in my formation , I see greatness with Pokrivac as a LB :pp. Not withstanding that, we have plenty of options here and Bilic has time to make a decision here. Lets hope he gets this one right; we can use these next 3 matches to see what works for us, because when we play Ukraine next June its really do or die!?!?!??!??!
 

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Let me preface this by saying that this probably wouldn't be my ideal line-up, but I'm bringing it up as "food for thought." I've always maintained that you can win in a number of ways and/or formations. Here's another one that came to mind that could possibly work:


Pletikosa

Srna.....Krizanac.....Simunic.....Pranjic

Corluka

Vukojevic.......Pokrivac

Modric

Petric.........Eduardo


Again, not my ideal formation, but here are some reasons why it could work:

1. We move Srna to RB (his position at club level) giving us two attacking FB's.

2. Both FB's would be better covered defensively when they join the attack or even on regular defensive situations (particularly useful in Pranjic's case).

3. Corluka can play in a sitting role allowing him to break up play but also help build our attacks from the back. Sort of what Carrick does for Manchester United. He reads the play so well and it's a position where his lack of quickness wouldn't easily be exposed. He's deceptively quicker than he looks (runs rather awkwardly), but not the quickest off the start. But in this position his mind would be key. I can see him picking out the surging runs of either Srna or Pranjic (for example).

4. Vukojevic and Pokrivac would provide a lot of the running/covering/breaking-up play. Along with Corluka they would form a "Milan-like" midfield (try to stay with me). While they obviously wouldn't provide the offense (skill) of some of other midfielders, they both possess decent long-range shots and would provide a threat when available. But their primary goal would be to make a nuisance of themselves around the pitch and get the ball to our more creative threats. The belief is that Srna and Pranjic would provide the extra offensive punch that might otherwise be missing from midfield (in this particular formation).

5. Modric would play in a more free role and be allowed to roam all over the pitch (something he does anyway), without the added defensive responsibilities.

6. It allows us to play with 2 up front (Petric and Eduardo) helping to keep the opposing defenses honest and always providing an outlet.

7. While we may be somewhat "light" in the FB position (defensively speaking), we would be very strong centrally with the trio of Krizanac-Corluka-Simunic. All are good in the air and good with the ball at their feet.

Of course I'd have a difficult time keeping out the likes of Kranjcar and Rakitic (for example), but even better players have been left out of their respective NT's. In the formation above I feel that Modric would best fill that role.

I believe it gives us a good balance of a solid defense, a hard working midfield and creativity up front. I think it would allow us to transition from defense to offense rather seamlessly (and vise versa).

It's a little bit "outside the box" (at least for the Croatian football mentality) and I doubt many Croatian managers would attempt it. I think they'd get crucified for fielding such a somewhat "negative" looking lineup (although I don't see it as such). Don't get me wrong, there are many (managers) who would throw out an extra DM or two into the mix, but not quite in this formation/personnel.

Again, perhaps not the ideal formation but another one which could theoretically work.
 

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Pletikosa

Srna.....Krizanac.....Simunic.....Pranjic

Corluka

Vukojevic.......Pokrivac

Modric

Petric.........Eduardo
i think its a good formation, but i put Kranjcar over Pokrivac... we need to have a creator in midfield. The balance of creation i think is Corluka in defence, Kranjcar in the midfield and Modric for the attack. I dont know if you understand my point hahaha
 
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