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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The future of our our backline has been discussed before(but i felt that that discussion was inadequate), but I want to open up some eyes to the players born in 78/79 and why basically since then we've only broken in 5 players post 78/79.

First a list of defenders born in 78/79(most have played for the NT but 1 has not, and 2 have played at other positions; 6 of 8 are not on the NT currently for various reasons)

Goran Sablic
Ante Seric
Josip Simunic
Igor Biscan
Andre Mijatovic
Igor Tudor
Mato Neretljak
Ivica Krizanac

I actually can't believe the defensive talent that came out those years :proud: But since then :thmbdown:, thats right not much.Check em out:

Danijel Pranjic--1981
Dario Drpic-----1981
Dario Knezevic--1982
Vedran Corluka--1986
Marko Babic-----1981 and
Darijo Srna------1982 (if u consider him and Babic playing as wingbacks in Cico's 3-5-2 formation)

Only Corluka and Pranjic have started to get regular playing minutes. I hope I am not the only one who sees the the storm clouds forming here(I know bad over used cliche :pp), but u get the point.

I've made a list of Hrvati playing outside of Hrvatska who are possible candidates(and please don't laugh at some of them, because by post 2012 our back line could be very weak with no depth to speak of). And someone could emerge (alla Ivica Krizanac):

Name-----------------Age-------------------Current Club

Marko Kopilas------July 22, 1983---------SV Weisbaden
Gordon Schildenfeld-March 18, 1985-------MSV Duisburg
Ivica Dzidic----------8 February 1984-----RAEC Mons
Tomislav Mikulic-----January 4, 1982------Standard de Liège
Lovre Vulin ---------February 9, 1984-----Slovan Liberec
Kristijan Ipša--------April 4, 1986---------FC Midtjylland
Filip Marčić----------February 22, 1985--- FC Midtjylland
Toni Golem----------14 January 1982------Ruch Chorzów(Poland)
Mihael Kovacevic-----6 March, 1988-------- Dundee United (could play for Switzerland)
Luka Vucko---------April 11, 1984----------Eskişehirspor
Hrvoje Cale---------March 4, 1985---------Trabzonspor
Manuel Pamic-------August 20, 1986-------Red Bull Salzburg

A few youngsters(not in the Top leagues yet, but names to ponder)

Luka Odak
Jure Colak

OK, this seems like the best we have outside of Hrvatska right now, who may be possibilites by 2012. Not much talent outside the country thats for sure. Please give me your thoughts(and not just :HE"S NOT GOOD ENOUGH- EXPLAIN YOUR REASONING) and lets not dismiss anyone on this list and add some of your own.

P.S.- Please someone make a list of possibilites in Hrvatska(and maybe even Bosnia) currently who could be a possibility by 2012.
 

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I think HS could shed some light here, he knows the HNL and regional leagues well.
 

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about the third part of the list:

Kopilas: NO, played no higher than Pula and lower German leagues
Schildenfeld: NO, we seen what a disaster he is
Dzidic: NO, maybe BiH are desperate enough to cap him
Mikulic: Not sure, he is with Standard Liege which is having some season but not positive if he is a regular there
Vulin: NO
Ipsa: NO, very shaky at the U21 level and failed in the Bundesliga
Marcic: NO, not really a defender either, more of a midfielder
Golem: Never heard of him :D
Kovacevic: Ladic failed to cap him, and he was called up by Switerland U21, not sure if he played for them. Certainly could be useful though because he is a right-back
Vucko: Potential, unfortunately he plays for too small of a club to get too much attention, but I feel he is NT material. Another bonehead move by Hajduk
Cale: YES, for a call-up at least
Pamic: As of right now NO, he hasn't been playing much, but he has talent and must be kept track of and hopefully he can play more

Fore me Cale, Vucko and Pamic are ones to look at, Ladic was being foolish once again not capping Kovacevic when he is in the Croatian squad. Some other names I can think of are

About the HNL, who knows, I was hoping for Lovren but he seems to be regressing. Prahic from Varteks could be good enough, always rumored to make a move abroad. If this Kulusic from Sibenik is as good as some people say he is, another guy to look out for, but the last Sibenik defender to get praised heavily turned out to be a disaster ;)

I'd look at Mijatovic and Neretljak, might be desperate sure, but no matter what his form in the HNL was he is a regular in the Bundesliga (recovering from a serious injury, which is why he has only played 2-3 matches this season) and Neretljak is a pure left back, something very much needed, but he needs to go to Europe

About Odak and Colak, not sure exactly what position Odak is, and he took a fall so far early in his career, from Bayern Munich to Duisburg in a few years.
Colak seems good, but he is still very young
 

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There's always Stjepan Tomas as he is another defender that has won the Russian championship this season with Rubin :proud: :smileani:
 

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Stjepan Tomas should be an option at least. You can never have too many options ;)
 

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What's going on with Domagoj Vida?
 

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Mikulic: Not sure, he is with Standard Liege which is having some season but not positive if he is a regular there
Mikulic has only played 5 out of a possible 22 games (including UEFA) for Standard this season. Not very good.
 

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What about guys like Maloca and Jozinovic? They could develop into real players if they keep progressing.
 

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the problem with the HNL is the defenses are all so freakin terrible. It's easy to look good against Cibalia and Inter Zapresic but when they play against serious opponents they get exposed. The U21 defense was a disaster, they were just lucky they had a good generation of creative midfielders and forwards.

Apparently I guy I mentioned Prahic is on trial with Celtic and could join pending a work permit issue. About Vida, he is more of a DM, only Ladic played him as a right back
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
^^HS, I see no real use in considering guys like Mato Neretljak and Andre Mijatoivc anymore. Both are 29 years of age and have either not played for the NT or have ruined their NT career( in Neretljak's case by playing in Korea, I lived in Korea and have seen there league - its comparable to our league(maybe even a bit slower)). The other reason being , how many over 30 players can we have on this squad(both turn 30 the following year)

This thread is more about looking at players born between the years 1982 to 1988.

HS, u have written off almost every player that has been posted on here :thmbdown:. When was the last time u saw someone like Kopilas or Dzidic even play? I wouldn't write anyone off just anyone yet. Playing in places like Belgium, Germany and Turkey may yet prove valuable football experiences to some of these players.

As for the youngsters, Yeah Kovacevic is a shame right now, hopefully we can get him back and playing for us.

As for:

Igor Prahic
Dejan Lovren
Ante Kulusic

1 of these guys has to make a name for themselves outside of Hrvatska, because we need some youth fairly soon on this backline.

This team cannot be continuously propped up by players born in 78/79.

P.S.- Lets not forget the great Ivan Juric :) here and the inspiration he has been and continues to be
 

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maybe we are thinking about a different Kopilas :howler: because I remember one playing for Pula back a few years ago and he went to some German third division but then in wikipedia I found out there is one in the 2.Bundesliga (appears to be German born), but again at 25 and playing in the 2.Bundesliga is not something NT worthy. It's a different story with Ilicevic where he has potential.

About the Dzidic's, Ivica had potential, he was with Dinamo Zagreb and trialed with one of the big Dutch teams (PSV or Feyenoord) but he eventually went to Zrinjski and now some random club in Belgium. Maybe Damir Dzidic, his brother, is a different story, he is younger but he was dumped by NK Zagreb last season and now is back at Zrinjski :lala: Apparently Toni Sunjic from Zrinjski is a 19 year old is a regular? (don't follow the BiH league at all) but he plays for the BiH youth teams though this is simply based on his wikipedia :howler:

Lovren needs to step up, 3 years ago he was a huge prospect, but he is still very young, still a teenager but he hasn't looked confident. Kulusic needs to go to a bigger club in Croatia to have a better judgement. Prahic is interesting so far, talented player but one who needs to try his game abroad.

I felt another guy who never lived up to expectation was Marijan Buljat, but he has his leg broken and that might have effected him. He was close to being in the World Cup squad in 2006.

Really can't think of any HNL guys which jump out: Jurica Pranjic from Osijek maybe?

I think to play for Croatia, one needs to be at a higher level than some average Belgian side or playing in lower leagues in Germany. It's one thing if your Macedonia, BiH, or Albania, but Croatia competes at major tournaments at need players at the top of their game. HNL isn't creating any defenders, in fact outside of Corluka and Knezevic they haven't done a good job in general, all the current defenders on the NT are either diaspora or made their impact outside of the HNL (Krizanac)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I felt another guy who never lived up to expectation was Marijan Buljat, but he has his leg broken and that might have effected him. He was close to being in the World Cup squad in 2006.

Really can't think of any HNL guys which jump out: Jurica Pranjic from Osijek maybe?

I think to play for Croatia, one needs to be at a higher level than some average Belgian side or playing in lower leagues in Germany. It's one thing if your Macedonia, BiH, or Albania, but Croatia competes at major tournaments at need players at the top of their game. HNL isn't creating any defenders, in fact outside of Corluka and Knezevic they haven't done a good job in general, all the current defenders on the NT are either diaspora or made their impact outside of the HNL (Krizanac)
The last part of this statement is really what I am getting at here. Krizanac played for Dyskobolia - have u heard of that team before!? I know I hadn't until I looked up Krizanac and saw that prior to playing for Zenit he played for Dyskobolia in Poland.

So, even if u don't start your career playing for some big club or league in Europe, u can still end up getting a national team look :). Thats really the point here, its the overseas guys we should take hard looks at and see how they are playing because a gem could be there. He just maybe playing for a team like Dyskobolia or RAEC Mons right now, but tomorrow....... lets hope for the best and not write off some of these players I have mentioned.

Like u guys have said, defensively the HNL is fairly weak, defensive players best career move is playing in countries where they highly value the defensive end of the game. So places like Poland, Italy and Czech Republic may well be good destinations for our NT's future backline players.

As for Kopilas, its probably the same one as the one u have mentioned. I just could not find many defensive players playing outside Hrvatska and Bosnia.

As for worthiness, Krizanac broke into the team when he was 28, Pranjic broke into the team when he was 25 and Budan got called up to the national team when he was 26. How old was Prso when he got his first call up? So, since when are 25 year players frowned upon and discarded from getting called up to the NT ?:rollani:. And we all know Defensive players tend to fully mature later then offensive ones.

Just because a players doesn't succeed early in his career doesn't mean he won't succeed later in it. See Prso on that one

I think fitness and strength is a major factor for players when they move abroad. We in Hrvatska seem to lack that, where as in other countries they put some more emphasis on that side of the game. Thus our defenders(well probably most of our players on the field), just don't have the proper nutrition or training required to continue through to full ninety minutes.

P.S.- Marijan Buljat just played his best game, since coming over from Dinamo, this past weekend against Sibenik. Looked like the Marijan Buljat of old. I still have slight hopes for him, but realistically he is a long shot for the NT now.
 

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For me, at this point in time, the only potential prospects are Cale (doing well at Trabzon), Pamic (not getting much time at Salzburg at the moment unfortunately, but he is talented) and Kovacevic (watched him play a full match for Dundee Utd last season, though he did well against Rangers at Ibrox) and possibly Vucko in Turkey.

Don't forget there are some HNL youngsters as well, just need to keep tabs on how they do over the next season or two.

Kovacevic should be called up to our U-21s because he is born in 1988. We will regret it if Switzerland get him !
 

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With the past two seasons watching Cale at dinamo I just can't see the potential in him. I can say that I was glad to see him leave, he was plainly a frustrating player to watch, especially against stronger opponents where his unintelligence really shone.
Apparent solid games in Turkey can not change someones true ablity or my opinion of them overnight, he may develope somesort of tactical awarness and become your average of the mill european player but I don't believe he will develope into one of the caliber that is allowed in our NT.
 

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looks like Kovacevic played a solid game for Dundee against Rangers

He was called up by the Swiss U21's according to wikipedia but has not played so I guess he is still eligible to play for Croatia, but this shouldn't even be a thought anymore really! Ladic is such a bum that he couldn't find a spot for a guy playing regularly in the SPL in that shitty Croatia U21 defense where a 2.HNL player could walk in?

I really think Croatia need to approach this guy, just for the fact he is potential. But how much he feel when he is called up to the Swiss youth team who almost knocked out Spain in the playoffs, and Ladic's U21 team who loses to Albania and barely beats the Faroe Islands drop him after one call up in favor of 2.HNL guys and fringe players at Varteks, Zadar etc..
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
As for Kovacevic, I mean Ladic wasn't the only coach on hand when he was tried out. The ex Rijeka coach(can't rememeber his name right now) and probably some other of Ladic's assistants also had their say on him. It doesn't hurt us to call him up again though.

As for Cale, he's playing which is important. And I think Trabzonspor are doing quite well. Lets hope that Cale is a large part of their success.

So the concensus is that right now that their really is no concensus about any of the defenders overseas(except calling Kovacevic back to the U21 team).
 

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As for Cale, I always though he was decent going forward but suspect defensively.

Reality is that LB is one of our weakest positions and we don't have any 'natural' LBs. Cale is one of the few, is currently a regular starter at a Turkish League club chasing for the title and at least deserves that Bilic & ekipa go out there to have a closer look at him.

As for Miheal Kovacevic, watched him play for Dundee v. Rangers at Ibrox last season, he played RB and was quite decent IMO, definitely worth calling up to the U-21s IMO.
 

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Cale got destroyed most times for nothing. He is just one of those players that gets picked on but when you look at him, he is a decent player.. I think dinamo fans have found that out this year with Hrgovic playing left back. Thankfully Ibanez is a gun..

Finding a good left back anywhere is hard so you need to try out those that you have.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
This is how I/We on XT see it currently, all layed out in black and white(with varying levels of agreement):

Right Backs

Darijo Srna
Vedran Corluka

Left Backs

Daniel Pranjic
Nikola Pokrivac(my personal choice here :))
Josip Simunic(I would rather that he not play left back again)

Center Backs

Josip Simunic
Ivica Krizanac
Vedran Corluka(is fairly versatile and can play 2 or 3 defensive positions)
Dario Knezevic
Hrvoje Vejic
Dino Drpic

So future defenders/prospects are:

Right Back

Mihael Kovacevic(if he chooses us)
Domagoj Vida(being played as Right Back by Ladic)
???????????????????????????

Center Backs

Luka Vucko
Dejan Lovren(some would argue he has regressed, played also right back)
Igor Prahic
Ante kulusic
Gordon Schildenfeld
Kristijan Ipsa

Left Backs

Manuel Pamic
Hrvoje Cale(an assortment of opinions on him here)
????????????????????????????????

The Current backline should be together till 2012, if Simunic doesn't back out earlier. By then Vejic, Simunic and Krizanac will be 35,34 and 33 respectively. By then someone will have to step up.

Luckily that Corluka is very young and will be around for quite some time yet, because that right side is super thin.

The same could be said for the left side,I would say, just as thin. I see Pokrivac as the perfect Left back for the NT , I've stated most of my reasons before. Manuel Pamic, may also be a good rjesenje for Left back ,but he has to start getting significant playing time somewhere, before he gets looked at.

The ???????????,signifies the unknown players still awaiting to emerge.
 
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