Croatia's Defensive Puzzle: How will they Tackle the Netherlands without Star Defender Gvardiol?

In an intense clash against the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League semi-final, Croatia’s manager Zlatko Dalic faces a daunting challenge with the absence of highly sought-after defender Josko Gvardiol.

The injury-stricken RB Leipzig star will be sorely missed, along with the retired Dejan Lovren. This leaves Croatia vulnerable in defense, but there are rising talents like Josip Sutalo and Martin Erlic ready to step up to the plate. The experienced Domagoj Vida also remains an option, presenting an intriguing lineup decision for Dalic.

On the wings, Josip Juranovic and Borna Sosa are expected to win their battles against Josip Stanisic and Borna Barisic, providing attacking threats from the wide areas. Despite his recent Champions League exploits, midfield maestro Marcelo Brozovic will play a crucial role in shielding the defense. Alongside him, the ever-inspiring captain Luka Modric is set to earn his 165th cap, forming a formidable engine room partnership with Mateo Kovacic, whose future hangs in the balance amidst rumors of a potential move to Manchester City.

Seeking to make history, Ivan Perisic aims to become Croatia’s second-highest scorer of all time by securing just one more goal, highlighting his significance on the left side of the pitch. Meanwhile, Mario Pasalic from Atalanta BC adds another dimension to the attack, occupying the opposite flank. Together, they will provide valuable support to Andrej Kramaric, who steps up in the absence of Marko Livaja, whose withdrawal was marred by disrespectful behavior from a few fans during a recent training session.

With a potential starting lineup featuring the likes of Livakovic, Juranovic, Sutalo, Erlic, Sosa, Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric, Pasalic, Kramaric, and Perisic, Croatia faces a crucial test against the Netherlands. The stage is set for a thrilling encounter that promises tactical battles, record-breaking moments, and emotional determination.

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