Croatia's first World Cup match is to be against Nigeria on June 16 in group D, which also includes Argentina and Iceland.

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Croatia’s Modric, Rakitic, Kovacic included in 24-man World Cup squad 

Croatia’s Modric, Rakitic, Kovacic included in 24-man World Cup squad

Zagreb, May 22: Real Madrid midfielders Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic, as well as Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and Atletico Madrid’s Sime Vrsaljko were included in Croatia’s 24-man list for the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

During a press conference here on Monday, coach Zlatko Dalic said he plans to exclude one defender from the final list, due June 4, given Vedran Corluka and Aleksandar Mitrovic’s injuries, reports Efe.

“We will assess their situation during the preparations,” Dalic said.

The coach also said he prefers Mario Mandzukic to play as striker rather than a winger, as he does with Juventus.

“I see our versatile striker Mandzukic leading the line because that’s his natural position,” Dalic added.

Croatia’s training camp is to start May 26, and the national team is set to tune up for the World Cup with two friendlies: Brazil on June 3 and Senegal on June 8.

Croatia’s first World Cup match is to be against Nigeria on June 16 in group D, which also includes Argentina and Iceland.

The team’s list is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb).

Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kijev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Matej Mitrovic (Bruges), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg).

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka).

Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt).

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