Rangers fans are this morning shocked after Croatia rejected Antonio Colak and instead went with Ante Budimir despite the Osasuna forward bang out of form having scored one goal this season.
Ibrox Noise explained in an earlier piece how there were effectively three Croat strikers actually in form, and Colak was one of them – well his lack of caps have counted against him and despite his being among the most in-form strikers in world football and being the only Croat striker to have a goal in Europe this season, national team boss Zlatko Dalic has gone with the Spanish-based off-form Budimir instead.
The 15-cap striker has a goal and an assist all season, feeble numbers by any account, yet the boss chose him, Livaja and Petkovic as the three strikers to go to Qatar and ignored Colak, which makes absolutely no sense in light of his picking Borna Barisic despite left of defence covered by two world class players in Sosa and Gvardiol.
Barisic will probably not even play, but Colak would have offered so much more than Budimir, and the boss knows this, but decided to leave Rangers’ star striker behind and go with a guy with worse stats than Ryan Kent.
We are and aren’t surprised, we’re gutted for Colak to tell the truth, he deserved the call up for the form of his life, and was called up when at Malmo despite not being in as good form as he currently is. It’s a bad call from the NT boss who was pretty awful at the Euros too, in truth, for how he lied a few times about Barisic as to why the LB wasn’t getting any minutes.
We are disappointed for our man, he will be devastated to miss out – if he wasn’t going to this one in his career peak up against men who have more feet than goals this season, he probably never will get the selection again.
Hopefully this is Dalic’s last tournament as manager because it’s been freefall since the world cup final. Croatia are an aging squad and they need new direction. We have no real words of comfort for Colak, unfortunately.