Croatia announce FIFA World Cup 2022 squad for Qatar with Real Madrid and Chelsea superstars included - Official

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic and Real Madrid star Luka Modric are in Croatia’s official 26-man squad for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

Despite being 37-year-old, Modric continues to be a linchpin for manager Carlo Ancelotti’s side. He has scored five goals and has assisted twice in 17 games across competitions for Real Madrid this season.

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic has made some bold calls with his selection, with center-back Duje Caleta-Car and striker Antonio Colak left out of the squad. The Rangers striker has scored 14 goals and provided two assists in 24 games across competitions this season.

Former Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic’s name has been expectedly left out after he announced his international retirement in September 2020. Tottenham Hotspur’s Ivan Perisic, who scored in Croatia’s 4-2 defeat against France in the 2018 World Cup final, also made the cut.

Former Liverpool star Dejan Lovren, RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol, Damagoj Vida, Josip Sutalo and Martin Erlic will be the center-back options for Dalic. The full 26-man Croatian squad can be viewed in the tweet below:

Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozovic is another player expected to start every game for Croatia in Qatar. Along with Modric, Lovren, Vida, and Perisic, he is the only player in this 26-man squad to have started in the 2018 final against France.

Among the notable absentees from that starting XI are goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, striker Mario Mandzukic, and right-back Sime Vrsaljko. The trio has retired from international football but Manduzkic will travel to Qatar as an assistant coach.

Ante Rebic’s exclusion from the 34-man preliminary squad surprised many. The talented AC Milan star is one of Croatia’s most versatile and experienced forwards but will not make the plane to Qatar later this month.

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Croatia expected to make it out of their FIFA World Cup 2022 group

The Croats attained their best-ever World Cup finish in the 2018 edition when they made it all the way to the final.

The goal will be to go one step further this time around, as difficult as it may seem right now. They entered the tournament four years ago as dark horses, and they will do so again this time.

Their World Cup journey begins against Morocco on November 23. They will then take on Canada four days later before facing Belgium on December 1.

On paper, this group favors last year’s finalists, with perhaps the Red Devils their only realistic rivals for the top spot in Group F.

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