Bandelj out, Mandzukic’s availability in the air
Croatia will be without Fiorentina midfielder Milan Badelj in their two matches against Greece while Mario Mandzukic’s availability for Thursday's match will likely be a game-time decision.
Similar to Greece's Michael Skibbe, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic also has some injury headaches before his side’s playoff fixtures against Greece on Thursday and Sunday. Fiorentina’s Milan Badelj has been ruled out for both games against Greece after suffering an injury over the weekend in Italy. Badelj is an integral part of the Croatian midfield and his absence will surely be a let down for Dalic.
Croatia’s star striker, Mario Mandzukic, also suffered a knock over the weekend with Juventus, and his muscle injury was ruled a minor one initially. However, on Tuesday, Mandzukic was not ruled fit to practice with the rest of the team (for a second consecutive day) and was forced to undergo an individual training program. Although reports out of Croatia are stating that he will likely be ready in time for Thursday’s first leg in Zagreb, his availability will be a gametime decision, something that worries coach Zlatko Dalic and Federation president Davor Suker.