Croatia have included Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in their 28-man preliminary squad for the 2018 Fifa World Cup, Russia.
Zlatko Dalic’s men will be making their fifth appearance at the global finals thanks to a 4-1 aggregate play-off win over Greece, having finished second in Europe’s Group I.
They would be hoping to better their third-place performance in 1998, but they must negotiate their way past Nigeria, Iceland and Argentina in Group D.
Most of the players selected took part in the qualifiers, expect for Dinamo Zagreb’s Borna Sosa, Red Bull Salzburg’s Duje Caleta-Car and Hajduk’s Karlo Letica who were handed call-ups for the first time.
“In this list are mostly players who we have compiled so far, who have shown the burden of qualification and took Croatia to Russia,” Dalic told Croatia football website.
“There are also several new names, Sosa and Letica, who were not yet in A team, and players such as Brekalo, Vlasic, Livaje, Benković or Halilovic – this is a confirmation that we believe in their talent and to recognize their work and that they are surely the future of our team with the young players already involved before.
“I want everyone to remain healthy through the upcoming final club game and to be ready for the preparations, I know that all the players are extremely happy about the gathering and the great challenge ahead of us, and we are aware that Croatia will breathe with us and we will do everything to justify love, trust and expectations of our fans.”
Croatia begin their quest for glory when they take on Nigeria in their opening game on June 16 at the Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad.