Croatia coach Ante Cacic has named his first squad just days after replacing Niko Kovac at the helm of the country’s national team.
The new boss announced his first list at a press conference held at a famous Croatian brewery, which only added to the irony currently surrounding the national team.
Vatreni slipped to third after taking just one point from two September qualifiers and they are now two points behind second-placed Norway after their one-point penalty was confirmed.
This means that Croatia must beat Bulgaria on 10 October if they want to secure automatic qualifying berth and they are 1.40 (2/5) to succeed in their quest.
New coach Ante Cacic has now named a 23-man squad for upcoming Euro 2021 qualifiers vs Bulgaria and Malta.
The former Dinamo Zagreb boss caused a great deal of controversy by appointing Josip Simunic as his assistant, the man who was banned for 10 games for a Nazi salute.
Star striker Mario Mandzukic (62/19) is included despite suffering a thigh injury, but Hajduk Split starlet Mijo Caktas (0/0) has been left out.
Malaga striker Duje Cop (2/0) returns to international fold, whereas Dinamo Zagreb defender Josip Pivaric (2/0) is also back to the side.
Goalkeepers: Danijel Subašić (Monaco), Lovre Kalinić (Hajduk), Ivan Vargić (Rijeka);
Defenders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar), Šime Vrsaljko (Sassuolo), Marko Lešković (Rijeka), Vedran Ćorluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kiev), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Danijel Pranjić (Panathinaikos), Josip Pivaric (Dinamo Zagreb);
Midfielders: Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozović (Inter Milan), Mateo Kovačić (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitić (Barcelona), Ivan Perišić (Wolfsburg);
Forwards: Nikola Kalinić (Fiorentina), Marko Pjaca (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivica Olić (HSV), Andrej Kramarić (Leicester), Duje Cop (Malaga), Mario Mandzukic (Juventus).