Croatian national team at 2018 World Cup (Photo: Igor Kralj/PIXSELL) Croatian national team at 2018 World Cup (Photo: Igor Kralj/PIXSELL)

The Croatian national football team departed for Porto today, where on Saturday they will play Portugal in the first round of the Nations League competition. They then travel to Paris, where they will play France on Tuesday.

"It will be very, very difficult, these are demanding games, and we'll have to place at a high level if we want to achieve a strong result. That's what I expect, but it won't be easy. Especially because we're not physically prepared and there are only three substitutions allowed. So, we'll have to be very, very careful in that sense," said Coach Zlatko Dalić prior to departing from Zagreb.

Dalić will not be able to rely on team captains Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić. The two star midfielders have been given the month off to recuperate from their club commitments. Also out is defender Marin Pongračić due to illness. Pongračić was supposed to have made his national team debut on Saturday. Portugal is without midfielder Renato Sanches, while team captain Christiano Ronaldo is questionable for the game, due to an infection on his right foot.

Source: HRT