Monday, 20 May 2019

Croatia call up rookie pair for pivotal Wales Euro qualifier

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic named two uncapped players in his squad for next month's crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against Wales on Monday as the World Cup runners-up look to react after a shock defeat by Hungary.

The two newcomers are Leicester defender Filip Benkovic, who has spent the season on loan with Celtic, and left-back Dario Melnjak, who has scored four goals in 15 games since joining Turkish side Rizespor in January.

"It is clear that we must target three points against Wales," Dalic said.

"I believe in the squad, we have not much choice after our failure against Hungary. We must be more focused in the future," added Dalic, whose team lost 2-1 in Budapest in March.

Ante Rebic, who scored in the loss, is included despite suffering a back injury for club Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Croatia also play Tunisia in a friendly on June 8, three days after hosting Ryan Giggs' Wales in Osijek.

In Group E, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Wales have three points each, while Azerbaijan have none.


Goalkeepers: Lovre Kalinic (Aston Villa/ENG), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Simon Sluga (Rijeka)

Defenders: Domagoj Vida (Besiktas/TUR), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool/ENG), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Borna Barisic (Rangers/SCO), Duje Caleta-Car (Marseille/FRA), Karlo Bartolec (Nordsjaelland/DEN), Filip Benkovic (Celtic/SCO), Dario Melnjak (Rizespor/TUR)

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid/ESP), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona/ESP), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea/ENG), Milan Badelj (Lazio/ITA), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan/ITA), Marko Rog (Sevilla/ESP), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta/ITA), Filip Bradaric (Cagliari/ITA)

Forwards: Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan/ITA), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim/GER), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Josip Brekalo (Wolfsburg/GER), Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb)

Back-up: Mile Skoric (Osijek), Mijo Caktas (Hajduk Split), Josip Posavec (Hajduk Split)

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