Niko Kovač confirmed his squad for Croatia's FIFA World Cup campaign following the 2-1 friendly victory against Mali.
Three players – Niko Kranjčar, Ivo Iličević and Ivan Strinić – had already been ruled out before the final cut due to injury. Kovač excluded a further four – Mario Pašalić, Ivan Bubnjić, Duje Čop and Milan Badelj – from his final 23-man party.
"It is a great honour to be coach of this team but there are some moments when this job is not perfect," said the coach. "One such moment was when I had to tell some guys that they will not be in the squad for Brazil. Of course they were sad but we had to make a decision." Badelj was perhaps the biggest surprise, though Kovač admitted to being "troubled" by the Hamburger SV midfielder's recent thigh injury.
Croatia travel to Brazil next week and will take on Australia in their final pre-tournament friendly on 6 June. They open their World Cup campaign against the hosts a week later, before also taking on Mexico and Cameroon in Group A.
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (FC Rostov), Danijel Subašić (AS Monaco FC), Oliver Zelenika (NK Lokomotiva Zagreb).
Defenders: Darijo Srna (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Dejan Lovren (Southampton FC), Vedran Ćorluka (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Gordon Schildenfeld (Panathinaikos FC), Danijel Pranjić (Panathinaikos FC), Domagoj Vida (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Šime Vrsaljko (Genoa CFC).
Midfielders: Luka Modrić (Real Madrid CF), Ivan Rakitić (Sevilla FC), Ognjen Vukojević (FC Dynamo Kiyv), Mateo Kovačić (FC Internazionale Milano), Marcelo Brozović (GNK Dinamo Zagreb), Sammir (Getafe CF), Ivan Močinić (HNK Rijeka).
Forwards: Mario Mandžukić (FC Bayern München), Ivica Olić (VfL Wolfsburg), Eduardo (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikica Jelavić (Hull City FC), Ante Rebić (ACF Fiorentina), Ivan Perišić (VfL Wolfsburg).
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