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McCall highlights Croatia strength

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13 Oct 2013 17:01:55

McCall highlights Croatia strength

Scotland coach Stuart McCall has warned that Croatia still have plenty of quality to call upon for Tuesday's final World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park even if they do rest some players who are walking a disciplinary tight-rope.

Croatia's 2-1 home defeat to Belgium on Friday night meant the visitors qualified for the Brazil finals next summer as winners of Group A with Igor Stimac's men consigned to a play-off place as runners-up.

However, Vedran Corluka, Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic, Niko Kranjcar, Nikica Jelavic, Gordon Schildenfeld, Ivan Strinic, Eduardo and Ognjen Vukojevic are all on yellow cards and will miss the first game of the play-off if they are cautioned against Scotland.

Josip Simunic is suspended and Sime Vrsaljko and Mateo Kovacic, both on yellow cards, have dropped to the Croatia Under-21s, while Ivan Rakitic, also cautioned earlier in the tournament, is out injured.

McCall believes Stimac has been left with a dilemma, but does not feel Croatia will inevitably be weakened if they utilise their squad to leave it as complete as possible for the play-offs.

"As a manager you want to go into the play-offs on the back of a good result," the Motherwell boss, whose club left-back Stevie Hammell has been drafted into the Scotland squad as back up to Lee Wallace, who is very doubtful with a knee injury, told Press Association Sport.

"There is no doubt about that.

"You want to be going into the play-offs on the back of a positive result.

"There are a lot of key individuals on yellow cards and if they were to pick another one up they would miss the first game of the play-offs.

"It depends on the individual. If you look at the likes of Modric, you think, is he a hot-head? Is he sensible enough to think 'I am not going to get myself in a situation'?


PA

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