Borna Barisic has been rated Croatia’s fifth-best player today against Japan, after the Rangers star stepped in to replace stricken Borna Sosa for Hrvatska’s ultimate victory against the Land of the Rising Sun.
‘Some’ Rangers ‘fans’ in their droves took to social media pre-match to deride Barisic and ‘apologise’ for his performance in advance, and while the former Osijek man didn’t have the absolute performance of his life, he did absolutely nothing wrong and in fact produced a polished and professional display.
Winning the joint-most aerials in the match, Rangers star Barisic’s stats made for solid reading, making 46 passes, 11 crossing attempts and 4 accurate.
Defensively once he got wise to the zippy Ito on the right, very little got past him with a tackle and four clearances to speak of. Brozovic, Livakovic, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Perisic scored more in the ratings than Ibrox man Barisic, but two of those were based on the penalty shoot out, particularly Livakovic who saved three of them. Borna even managed a shot and a key pass in there.
In short, this was an accomplished display from him, and he may actually have given Zlatko Dalic something to think about for the quarter final, having barely made any appearances at the Euros and coming completely in from the cold in Qatar.
Has Barisic won his place back with Croatia? He could well have. This was much more solid, and Barisic did not concede possession at all – compared with the gung-ho defending of Gvardiol next to him, a clearly world class defender in waiting, but who looked like he was a red card ready to happen.
Barisic’s experience told here, never careless, reading the game, and it would be a shot in the arm to his chances of sustaining his Rangers place.
He can hold his head high, and other ‘Rangers’ sites can instead obsess over a throwaway line from Jermaine Jenas about the pace Ito was initially troubling him with.
On Ibrox Noise, we can be proud of how our man did, and hopefully it’s not the last we see of him in this tournament.