The list of finalized World Cup rosters keeps flooding in. On Saturday, following a 2-1 victory over Mali, Croatia announced the 23 players that will travel to Brazil.
Niko Kovac didn’t have too difficult a time making cuts from his preliminary roster – but that’s mostly because the injury crisis plaguing the World Cup is all too apparent in the Croatia squad. Hamburg duo Milan Badelj and Ivo Ilicevic and Ivan Strinic of Dnipro all fell to injury, and the injury Niko Kranjcar picked up in QPR’s promotion playoff will keep him out as well.
Along with those four, Kovac also scratched domestic players Duje Cop and Mario Pasalic, as well as Udinese defender Igor Bubnjic.
Despite the injuries, Croatia are set to be a tough opponent for Cameroon, Mexico, and yes, maybe even Brazil. Luka Modric, who dazzled at Real Madrid this season, will frustrate any opponent. Ivan Rakitic, also playing in La Liga, may be lesser-known but is equally capable of creating danger. And, of course, they have Mario Mandzukic up front – although he’ll miss out on the match with Brazil.
Croatia’s 2014 World Cup Roster
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov), Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Oliver Zelenika (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Defenders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Gordon Schildenfeld (Panathinaikos), Danijel Pranjic (Panathinaikos), Domagoj Vida (Dinamo Kiev), Sime Vrsaljko (Genoa)
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), Ivan Perisic (Wolfsburg), Mateo Kovacic (Inter Milan), Marcelo Brozovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Mocinic (Rijeka), Sammir (Getafe)
Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich), Ivica Olic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo da Silva (Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikica Jelavic (Hull), Ante Rebic (Fiorentina)