Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic, is hopeful that his key players who are under performing at their various clubs will hit resurgent forms before they face Nigeria in their first Group D game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in June 16, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Everton’s Nikola Vlasic, Nikola Kalinic at AC Milan, Ivan Perisic at Inter Milan and Marko Pjaca at Schalke 04 are currently not in their best of forms, while Vedran Corluka is battling for fitness ahead of the World Cup in Russia, according to Dalic.
Kalinic, a striker has scored four goals for AC Milan with his last goal coming in December 2017 while Everton’s Vlasic has made nine appearances – four starts, with five as substitutes so far this season.
Perisic who has seven goals in 25 games for Inter Milan so far this season has failed to score in his last ten games in the Serie A.
Dalic is however pleased with Andrej Kramaric form at TSG Hoffenheim.
Dalic told Croatia’s Football Association website that the quartet will be at their maximum best against Nigeria who they face in their opening fixture at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
“They will all be at their maximum against Nigeria,” Dalic began in an interview with hns-cff.hr.
“Vedran Corluka is fit to play and I need him. His teammates need him, Croatia needs him.”
“He (Corluka) can hardly wait to rejoin the national team, and we are ready to wait for one of our leaders.
“Nikola Vlašić, regretfully, does not get enough opportunity at Everton, but I still count on him in the future and expect him to come back.
“Marko Livaja and his goal scoring record is also of interest, and if he continues to score we’ll have him in focus.
“Nikola Kalinić scores less than before, but he does an excellent job in Milan’s defensive tasks. Mario Mandžukić is good as a winger, while Ivan Perišić’s level of performances has slightly decreased, but this is normal in a long season.
“I am overjoying seeing Andrej Kramarić score; everybody knows I hold him in high regard. Moreover, I am well aware of Marko Pjaca’s value in Croatia national team and I told him not to worry about his status at Schalke. We need him; he just has to keep working.”