Croatia’s national football team is back together for the first time in three months to train for three World Cup qualifying matches starting this Wednesday against Slovenia.
The team played held its first practice ahead of the qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Monday in Zagreb. The 2018 World Cup runners-up are opening their qualifying campaign in Ljubljana on Wednesday, followed by back to back games in Rijeka against Cyprus on Saturday, March 27 and Malta on Tuesday, March 30. Russia and Slovakia are also in Group H and only the top team will book a direct ticket to the World Cup.
Two key players will not be joining the team due to injuries. AC Milan winger Ante Rebić has a pulled leg muscle and Dinamo forward Bruno Petković is nursing a shoulder strain he sustained playing against Gorica on Sunday.
The good news is midfielder Marcelo Brozović and winger Ivan Perišić, who play for Inter Milan, were both at practice despite local authorities in Italy recommending to Inter not to let their international players travel abroad after four teammates tested positive for the coronavirus. Croatia’s Football Federation managed to get them the necessary permits to travel.
Coach Zlatko Dalić’s team is due to depart for Ljubljana on Tuesday afternoon. The match is scheduled for 8:45 PM on Wednesday. Immediately following the match, the team will head to Opatija where they will be staying for the next two games.
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