ZAGREB (Reuters) - Left back Danijel Pranjic has been recalled for Croatia’s World Cup playoff against Iceland on Friday and next Tuesday after first choice Ivan Strinic suffered an abdominal injury.
Striker Ivica Olic is doubtful for the first leg in Reykjavik after scoring and then limping off in VfL Wolfsburg’s 2-1 Bundesliga home win over Borussia Dortmund on Saturday but should be fit for the return match in Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium.
“The situation is complicated with Strinic and we won’t know the extent of his injury before a scan but Olic should be fit for the return leg because it looks like a strain rather than a torn muscle,” coach Niko Kovac told Croatian media as the team gathered on Monday.
“Our first priority in Iceland will be to score an all-important away goal and we also want to look like a decent team,” said the 42-year-old, who took over last month from Igor Stimac after Croatia scraped only one point from their last four qualifying games.
Pranjic last played in Stimac’s debut, a 4-2 home defeat by Switzerland in a friendly in August 2012.
Influential midfielder Luka Modric warned his team mates against underestimating Iceland.
“They have several excellent players, such as (Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Gylfi) Sigurdsson, Ajax striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and the vastly experienced Eidur Gudjohnsen,” said Modric.
“We don’t want to look back at the recent past because we have one more chance to qualify for next year’s tournament in Brazil and we know full well that we need to raise our game.”
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Justin Palmer