Srna set to return to Croatia camp

Jun 14, 2016 - 4:15 PM Croatia captain Darijo Srna will rejoin the team and be available for Friday's Group D clash against Czech Republic after travelling home for his father's funeral, coach Ante Cacic said on Tuesday.

"Darijo knew his father was gravely ill but you can never be ready for that kind of news," Cacic told reporters at Croatia's Deauville base camp in northern France.

"One thing is certain, Darijo will soon be back so that he can be at his best on Friday, he will do everything he can to arrive this evening."

The 34-year-old Srna learned after Croatia's 1-0 win over Turkey on Sunday that his father had passed away during the game. He flew home for Monday's funeral, joined by Cacic.

The Croatians, aiming to reach the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time since 2008, could seal their last-16 berth if they beat the Czechs in St Etienne.

Cacic, however, struck a note of caution to his players and heaped praise on their rivals.

"Of all our group stage games, I dread the one against the Czechs the most. I have the utmost respect for them and we have to be razor-sharp because a last-16 spot is at stake."

Cacic also hinted he might reshuffle his starting lineup after a bruising encounter with the Turks, settled by Luka Modric's spectacular volley.

"There are three days left, we have to prepare ourselves for a fast-paced game and it wouldn't be a drawback if we made some changes to the starting 11," he said.

"Our game revolves around Modric and we have to keep him fresh throughout the tournament, but he looks in good physical and mental shape so he will definitely start."

Holders Spain beat the Czechs 1-0 on Monday.

Source: AAP

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