Yesterday’s confirmation of what Ibrox Noise told you weeks ago, that Antonio Colak has been rewarded for his sensational Rangers form with a Croatia call up, was just reward for the German-born striker’s season.
The hitman, Scotland’s top scorer by a distance at the moment, was being mooted for a world cup call by ourselves some weeks ago, and it has come as no surprise that he got the call for the preliminary squad which will be whittled down to make the final 26-man squad, if Croatia deem to need that many.
Whether Colak makes that final squad is unknown as yet, but as things stand, Colak, and fellow Ranger Borna Barisic are in the initial 34-man squad for Qatar, which is in itself a massive reward for Colak in particular. Barisic was always likely to be in the preliminary, whether he makes the final squad is less known given his form this season, but Colak hadn’t had a call up since late 2021.
So this is a well-earned prize for him.
How likely is it Rangers will have two Croats in their squad for the world cup? It’s a chance – Colak’s domestic form is superb but unfortunately he’s not been able to produce it in the Champions League, indeed the striker has never scored in the group stage. In fact, he’s never scored in UCL and he’s never scored for his country either. Highest levels he has a goal at are UCL qualifying (this season) or Bundesliga. Which isn’t horrible.
And Barisic? He’s excelled in UEL and has featured briefly for his country at a major championships so his CV on that is marginally better.
End of the day though they’re both in contention and we’d love even one of them to make it.
What’s the competition?
Borna has his namesake Sosa, and Leipzig’s Gvardiol. And arguably Celtic’s Juranovic too. His chance is solid.
Colak has seven rivals for the slot, but in reality there are only another two strikers in Colak’s kind of form – Petkovic and Levaja, so the likely solution is all three will go.
So, the chances are decent on both sides that Rangers will send both to the Middle East.