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I think most of us would agree that our defence is our strongest part of the team and we'll be very dependent on it for any success we might have.

There is one problem though, the defence isn't very experienced at this level.

Tudor's been great for Juve and great for us in the qualifiers. He's really come into his own and is among the best defenders in the world....but he lacks world cup experience. Sure he made a couple of appearances as a sub last WC but that doesn't mean too much. The burden is mostly on him as he's supposed to be the marshall back there, running the defence. I'm pretty confident he'll pay well, but then maybe he'll choke under the pressure and make costly mistakes.

Simic has world cup experience and was an important part of the defence last time around so I'm not worried about that. However, last time around, he was playing regularly in club football and playing well. This year and a lot of last year, he hasn't had a regular run in the team and his form has suffered because of it. Granted, every time he put on the Vatreni shirt, he played great but you never know.

Kovac is another who lacks WC experience but he's had a very good season with Bayern and plays regularly. He's once again earned the title of best "one on one" man in the Budesliga having entered the most one on one battles and having the highest winning percentage.

Jarni, if he plays on the left side is of course our captain but he's older now. He hasn't played a lot this year and his transfer to Pana was a good one, but he's not playing regularly there. Of course he's a veteran and I'm pretty confident he'll play well but he's definately lost a step.

Zivkovic if he's a starter is kind of hard to predict. I saw him play today against ManU and other than that fluky own goal he had, he played rather well. The commentators thought he was a good stabilizing force in the center of defence....but he won't play in the middle for us. Another one without WC experience.

The starting line up will most likely come from these 5 players, I can't see anybody else being a starter. Simunic seems like a good back up but he's definately a question mark considering he doesn't have any big game experience. Playing in the BuLI is great and Hertha are in a good position but I don't think he's even played in Europe yet. We also have Tomas and Soldo who can play in defence even though they probably won't in the WC. Niether are spectacular defenders, but nevertheless effective.

If our defence doesn't hold up, I don't think we can expect much. Sure we can score goals, but we're not nearly as potent up front as we were 4 years ago and our offence just can't compete with any of the "big boys."

Our lack of WC experience at the back is cause for some concern, something that I never paid much attention to before.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just to add to that, when you compare our defence with Italy, while we're near their level, not quite there yet because all their starters are already proven superstars and they have pretty good experience.

Nesta and Canna are easily world class, no question about it and they've been to big tournaments before, they know the pressure and know how to handle it and have done so in the past.
 

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hmmm, interesting..
 

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Ivo,
i can see what youre saying, but sans any WC experience, our defense has been rock-solid.
i pondered your post, but my brain cant allow me to think that our defense might slip up at the WC. In WC qualifying, for their respective clubs, CL, our boys have been playing "almost" flawlessly.
I mean, they have played in front of packed stadiums before. They have played under pressure, and in my opinion, have soaked up the pressure.
And from the little that I saw Simunic and Sablic play against Bosna, you know, they looked pretty good! If Simunic had to take Tudor's spot at the WC, I would still feel confident of our defensive line.
 

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Inexperience is always a worry, but look at the Croatian team of 96, they stormed through the qualifiers and came to England full of confidence. None of them, bar Prosinecki, had ever played at a major tournament before, none. In 98, none of those players that won 3rd place had ever played in a World Cup before, and I need not remind anyone that we were one of only two teams that went home winners.

Sure it's a plus, but certainly not essential, nor is it a big factor. Croatia has been there before, and the veterans will pass on knowledge and experience to the younger guys. Tudor, Simic, Soldo, Seric, Prosinecki, Suker, Boksic, Jarni, Vlaovic and Stanic have all been there before, so we're not exactly lacking in the experience sector.
 
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Croatia has the best defence in the World Cup!

Yes, you can say that Croatia lacks experience but that is because are players are young at the back other then Robert Jarni, who will I think play well in Korea/Japan and help alot with his experience. But, who can compare to Igor Tudor of Juventus Turin, big, strong, tall defender, with great ball control, and every ball in the air is his. Igor Tudor is a world class player. Robert Kovac always solid with 50/50 balls, and a player that as well plays tough but keeps his cool. Also Boris Zivkovic of Bayer Leverkusen, and Ante Seric of Verona, are fast, and strong, that play good with the ball. Dario Simic is king for man-to-man covering, a very smart player, with world cup experience. Simunic looks solid and strong, and will help in the back if there are any problems. Also, Zvonimir Soldo and Stijepan Tomas are stong in defence. Hrvatska ima najbolju obranu na SP - 2002 Korea/Japan!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm not saying that any of them will slip up for sure, but everybody makes mistakes. The world cup is a whole different level of pressure, everybody's watching around the world and often times, players are judged by their world cup performance. The glory of the Champions League is great, but not on the same level as world cup.

Keep in mind, Tudor is only 24 which is very young to be marshalling a defence at the world cup. He has a lot of pressure on him from the Croatian media and from the fans. We're all on a high on Tudor because of what a great player he's become and it almost seems like we forget that he's still very young and youth often makes mistakes.

If we get out of the first round which I'm pretty sure we will, we might face Portugal and then you have Figo and RuiCosta to face, among others. That's a pretty intimidating offence and I hope Tudor and co. can hold the fort.
 

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Our defence can hang with the best but Im still worried about the midfield. If any team contains Prosinecki then we are screwed. It's funny because I have the Croatia-Yugo game on tape when they played in Belgrade and before the match the Irish commentator says we have an awesome attack and midfield but our defence is pretty horrible. It is funny that Jozic made our weakness in Euro 2000 Qualifiers our strength. The Croatia-Hun game will be a huge test to see who is ready to crack the team and if not then, then the training camp in Austria will filter out the men from boys.
 

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CroatTommy said:
Ivo jebem ga you should be a motivational speaker:rolleyes: :tongue: stop scareing all of us!:cool:
hehe:D :) :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry guys, I'm just expressing my concerns with the team and wanted to see how the rest of you felt.

But I'll lay off;)
 

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nah Ivo, bring it up, I think some of us are oozing with confidence that we tend to everlook the shortcomings of our team.
 

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We have the best defense in the world!
Even better than the mighty Italians!
 

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Take it easy Mestre! Let's not get carried away! The Zabari have a great D to say the least! The key against the Italians is to score early. If we get that early goal it will rattle them enough to set them up for the counter attacks that make our nogomet dangerous. The problem is, do we have the guts to attack the Italians from the get go. I guess only time will tell! Zovi samo Zovi svi ce sokolovi za te zivot dati! Naprijed Vatreni!
 

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even though Ivo was scareing all of us he is right we have to look at the possibillities of how the game will go from all angles that means invisioning a win and even a loss! when we played Yuga in Zagreb for Euro 2000 qualifying I COULD NOT ENVISION US LOSING that game! i just couldnt i thought we would wreck them! ok so we didnt lose but still we never achieved our goal why? because the midfield was really depleted that game no Boban no Prosinecki!:eek: so when Ivo brings up our defence it got me thinking as well! sure they are all great young guys but the key is they are ALL YOUNG GUYS! only Soldo has a good deal of experience and i doubt he will be starting on the back line with Tudor,R. Kovac, Simic and Zivkovic most likely to start none of them have any big competition experience except for Simic so they could if we do concede an early fluke goal get discouraged hopefully that wont happen and they play like our past generation did in 98!:) :) :) :)
 

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umph... sure they have experience... Robert Kovac is one of the best Bayren players and top Bundesliga defender... he played against top european teams... he is like 28 or something...

Tudor has played plenty of huge games - he plays in Serie A for gods sake

Soldo might play in Midfield as well, and he is almost guaranteed starter... even Zivkovic played for Bayer in Champs league few times... dont worry... defence is good, but it needs to have decent midfield and attack so they dont have to defend the whole game
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wolf, playing in BuLi or Serie A isn't quite the same as the WC, let's not act as if it is.

The pressure is completely different when you have the whole world watching.
 

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umm, sure it is... based on your conception of experience, then likes of Owen would be considered unexperienced?

I dont see why should we worry about defence that much when it is clearly the best part of our team, I really fail to understand your worry here
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Sorry, but not it isn't, nobody in their right mind would compare Serie A to the WC.

Defence isn't the biggest concern, I never said it was. The point of this thread was to illustrate the lack of WC experience our players have. You can disagree that it's a concern but don't tell me that Serie A or the Bundesliga is up there with the WC.

Owen has WC experience, you really couldn't have picked a worse example.
 

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owen might be bad example, but when you try talk shat about our defence, you are setting ever worst example

big games in Champ League or Serie A are good practice for WC... they can be even more tense, simply because atmosphere is by far better in big games, when you have 60,000 ManU supporters, as opposed to WC where you wont have more than 10,000 supporters for any1 save for few biggest teams

once again, you dont learn how to play football in WC games, you learn it in your club, and these guys have done so... calling two of the best defenders in the world "unexperienced" by your own questionable standards is laughable
 
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