Ivan Rakitic pulled out of the Croatia squad over uncertainty about his Barcelona future, Zlatko Dalic has confirmed.

Croatia's head coach revealed rumoured Juventus target Rakitic would not be able to focus on the national team until his club situation is resolved.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde has only used Rakitic, who was reportedly offered to Paris Saint-Germain in a proposed deal for Neymar, for 44 minutes over the course of the club's three LaLiga matches this season.

Serie A champions Juve are thought to be interested and the Italian giants have until 20:00 local time (19:00 BST) Monday to finalise a deal before the transfer window shuts.

"I talked to Rakitic, who has not yet resolved his status at the club and is not ready for the national team at the moment and would not be able to give his maximum," Dalic told a news conference.

"I do not have time now to deal with what will happen in the future. Hopefully it will work out for the best."

Rakitic is not the only Croatia midfielder unavailable for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Azerbaijan.

Vatreni medical staff assessed Mateo Kovacic following his arrival in camp and diagnosed the Chelsea player with an inflamed Achilles tendon in his right leg.

The 25-year-old played 83 minutes of Saturday's 2-2 Premier League draw against Sheffield United.

Mijo Caktas replaces Kovacic in the squad, while Marko Rog is in for Rakitic.

Croatia, World Cup finalists in 2018, sit third in Group E with six points from three games.

Croatia will be without stars Ivan Rakitic and Ante Rebic for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifier against Wales.

Barcelona midfielder Rakitic and Eintracht Frankfurt's Rebic were ruled out due to leg and knee injuries respectively, the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) announced.

The 2018 World Cup runners-up will host Wales on June 8 before taking on Tunisia in a friendly three days later.

"We have jointly made the decision that Rakitic will not play," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said in a statement on Wednesday.

"He has had problems with his leg, it reoccurred in the Copa del Rey final and he won't be ready for Wales and won't play against Tunisia either.

"I believe in all the players in my squad, they can replace him with quality."

The injuries are a blow to Croatia, who won one and lost one of their opening two matches in Group E.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic felt fatigue was a key factor as England's late comeback condemned his team to Nations League relegation.

Andrej Kramaric's opener in Sunday's decisive meeting at Wembley looked set to give the World Cup finalists another victory over the Three Lions.

But Harry Kane's effort ran for Jesse Lingard to equalise before the hosts' captain converted a Ben Chilwell cross in the 85th minute to instead book England's place in the Finals.

Croatia were without key midfielder Ivan Rakitic due to injury and had to replace right-back Sime Vrsaljko, who made a brilliant tackle to deny Marcus Rashford, in the first half.

Ante Rebic was also withdrawn at the break, while England could introduce Lingard, Dele Alli and Jadon Sancho, and Dalic said his stretched squad lacked energy following their exertions in securing a last-gasp 3-2 win against Spain on Thursday.

"First of all congratulations to England on a deserved win and qualifying for the final four," Dalic told a news conference. "We didn't play well in the first half and we were a bit lucky to get in at 0-0, but the second half was better.

"We had a few chances after scoring but conceded two set pieces and in the end it's fair as they are a part of the game and a fair result. I'm not a sad man, I'm proud and we played well, I congratulated them on their performance.

"[Conditioning] was our biggest problem as you saw with Sime Vrsaljko and Ante Rebic, it was very difficult to recover from the match against Spain. We don't have a big roster of players and missing five players means we can't just replace them.

"In the second half England were not very dangerous, we played well but we lacked concentration in the last 15 minutes which can be taken from our condition physically.

"We didn't have many solutions on the bench, look at who came in for England  - they had two players worth €100million and we had two Under-21s and we'd already made two substitutions so we didn't have a lot of options."

Despite their Nations League disappointment, Dalic's side can reflect on a 2018 that took Croatia to their first ever World Cup final.

"The players are very sad after the game, they were leading at Wembley and could feel the win," he added. "But they lost and that's football, we beat Spain in added time and this time we lost.

"Big picture, the law of averages evens out between teams. We can be proud of what we achieved, we deserved it, we're a small country yet we achieved great results and we're second in the world [rankings]. We have to be proud of that.

"Our first goal was to prepare for the European qualifiers and get ready for Euro 2020 so we brought in new players and managed to do that. We showed we have quality for the future, young players have a foundation for the future."

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic will hold talks with Dejan Lovren following the defender's social media taunting of Sergio Ramos.

Liverpool centre-back Lovren was filmed in an Instagram video appearing to boast about elbowing Ramos in Croatia's dramatic Nations League win over Spain on Thursday.

The pair have been at odds since Spain's 6-0 thumping of the World Cup finalists in September, during which Lovren felt his team had been disrespected.

The former Southampton man later claimed the Real Madrid captain was made to look good by his team-mates and doubled down on his criticism after the 3-2 victory in Zagreb, labelling Luis Enrique's side "p*****s" and accusing them of lacking grace in defeat.

Dalic confirmed he would speak with Lovren, but would not discuss the likely nature of the conversation.

"I will talk personally with Dejan but that will stay between us in the squad," he said.

"I do not want to speak publicly about it."

Croatia meet England at Wembley on Sunday with both sides seeking the three points that would seal their place in the Nations League Finals.

Lovren, who considers himself among the finest defenders in the world, is expected to be tasked with the tough job of marking Harry Kane.

Asked whether his regular Premier League opponent or Madrid star Ramos was the better player, the England captain declined to fan the flames of the rivalry.

"That's not for me to compare the two," Kane said. "Obviously, I think Ramos' record speaks for itself, the amount of trophies he's won, the amount of big games he's played.

"Of course Lovren is another fantastic defender and I look forward to going up against him tomorrow.

"It's a matter of opinion, obviously [Lovren] has his opinion. Some players are more outspoken than others, but from my point of view it's not to judge them but focus on myself and my team."

Zlatko Dalic believes playing at Wembley will be motivation enough to ensure fatigue does not derail Croatia against England in the Nations League on Sunday.

Croatia were involved in a pulsating 3-2 win over Spain on Thursday – a result which means all three teams are in the race to qualify from Group 4 of League A going into the final match.

A win for England or Croatia would guarantee promotion a place in the Nations League Finals, but the prospect of relegation also looms for both sides.

Dalic admits that the win over Spain took a lot out of his players but is confident that playing in a stadium as iconic as Wembley will give his side the lift they need.

"We are tired," said the coach. 

"Kick-off is at 2pm, which is not the best. But what can we do? We will try to make it a spectacular day.

"I hope we can be totally fit and we can play at our best.

"It was not easy [against Spain], but to play against England at Wembley means we are motivated."

Sunday's clash is the third time the two sides will have met this year, following Croatia's World Cup semi-final win in Russia and the goalless draw in last month's reverse Nations League fixture in Rijeka.

Dalic, though, insists the rivalry is friendly and that he will not take extra measures to combat forward Raheem Sterling, who lit up England's win over Spain last month with two goals.

"Both teams know each other," he added. 

"It's a positive atmosphere and rivalry on the pitch. We beat them in the semi-final of the World Cup, which was the most important result.

"We know what we have to do. They don't only have Raheem – they have a lot of fast players. It's a large pitch and they have strong and fast players."

Winger Ivan Perisic – who scored Croatia's equaliser in their World Cup win over Gareth Southgate's men – believes if his side play to their full capability, they will emerge victorious.

"It's difficult to say who is the favourite," he said.

"You can expect a really tight match, but if we play to our best, we can win the match."

Ivan Rakitic is out of Croatia's crunch Nations League clash with England, coach Zlatko Dalic has confirmed.

Rakitic was substituted during the second half of Croatia's dramatic 3-2 victory at home to Spain on Thursday, with Tin Jedvaj hitting a 93rd-minute winner.

That result set up a decider against England at Wembley on Sunday, but Rakitic will be unable to play due to his injury.

"I asked for the change because I had discomfort," Rakitic said after the Spain win.

Croatia will qualify for the finals of the inaugural Nations League if they beat England in a repeat of the World Cup semi-final, but will be relegated to League B if they lose.

Dalic confirmed the injury news at Zagreb airport, with Barcelona midfielder Rakitic set to return to his club for treatment.

"He will go to Barcelona because there is an injury," Dalic told reporters. "You know my practice not to risk [players] if there is anything suspicious.

"We want healthy and ready players, Ivan Rakitic at the moment is not one hundred per cent ready for the game so unfortunately we go without him.

"We've got [Nikola] Vlasic, [Mateo] Kovacic, [Josip] Brekalo, we have [Milan] Badelj, we always have solutions. We'll look for another solution and that will be fine, I hope."

Rakitic's injury is also bad news for Barcelona, although he is unavailable for their next LaLiga game, away to title rivals Atletico Madrid a week on Saturday.

He was sent off in Barca's last match, a 4-3 reverse at home to Real Betis, so he will be serving a suspension.

Zlatko Dalic said his Croatia bench were ready to run on the pitch to stop a Spain counter-attack before Tin Jedvaj struck a dramatic late winner in Thursday’s Nations League clash.

Jedvaj's second of the game, in the 93rd minute, secured a 3-2 victory in Zagreb to set up a winner-takes-all clash against England at Wembley on Sunday.

The victor will progress to the Nations League finals while the loser will be relegated from League A, with a draw sending pool leaders Spain through.

And Dalic, who led Croatia to the World Cup final after beating England in the semis, indicated he was prepared to take drastic action in the closing stages while his side poured forward in attack.

"It's an image that has to go into history: we are attacking with all players in the last minute," Dalic said after his side's win.

"It was a strange situation with two unmarked Spaniards in the centre. We were even ready to run out from the bench in order to prevent a possible Spanish counter-attack.

"I called and screamed, but no one wanted to go back. Everyone went in for a shot. It was about the character of the players, their power and strength."

Spain coach Luis Enrique complained the result was unfair, telling reporters: "Under no circumstances did we deserve to lose."

And Ivan Rakitic, who played under Luis Enrique at Barcelona, accepted Croatia rode their luck to snatch a 3-2 win.

"First of all, we have seen a great football match. The people in the stadium and at home have enjoyed a great game," Rakitic, who was replaced with an injury in the second half, said to Teledeporte. "The last goal came with a bit of luck and this victory gives strength to the group.

"When you play in such a group and you see the other groups, you realise that we did not have much luck in the draw, but this is the beautiful thing: now we have to play at Wembley and fight to be first."

Captain Luka Modric denied pre-match that his side were out for revenge after a 6-0 thrashing against Spain in September, but he accepted Croatia wanted to right the wrongs of that loss.

"Of course we were motivated, especially because of the serious defeat in Elche, but the full stadium was our second important motive," Modric said. "Such a great atmosphere raised us, especially at the critical stages of the game, and I believe that such support will now become a tradition.

"Players who came from the bench brought new energy, an extra dimension, and we need it. They showed that they belong in the national team and will surely continue to grow in the coming games. We have to have a good rest, [it will be] a fast match with England, it will be hard again against an excellent rival, but I believe we will gather strength."

Zlatko Dalic and Luka Modric are not looking for revenge when Croatia meet Spain again in the Nations League.

Spain thrashed Croatia 6-0 in September and the sides face off in Zagreb on Thursday with top spot in League A's Group 4 still up for grabs.

World Cup runners-up Croatia will qualify for the Nations League finals if they beat Spain and follow that up with another three points against England on Sunday.

And Croatia coach Dalic is focused on the task at hand rather than looking back at his side's humiliation against Spain two months ago.

"In Elche, Croatia performed excellently for the first 20 minutes, but failed to convert chances," Dalic told reporters. "Now, we do not seek revenge, but a really important victory.

"If we win, we can decide who tops the group against England at Wembley, and what an encounter that would be, just like the World Cup semi-finals.

"Spain do not focus on possession anymore, but on quick, direct moves, and we have to be careful - they were brilliant against us and we have to respect this."

Real Madrid midfielder Modric, familiar with many Spain players from club level, agrees with Dalic's assessment of the encounter.

"As always, we enjoy good team spirit on the eve of a really difficult match," Croatia's captain said. "We do not think about revenge, this will be an entirely new match, in front of our fans, and Croatia have to be patient and wise, staying true to our style until the end.

"We will give our best, supported by the cheers from the stands, and I believe we can achieve a positive result. Back in September, we were emotionally and physically empty, and that's normal in football. However, now we are in a better shape, and we need to show this on the pitch.

"Playing for Croatia is our main driving force, regardless of the competition or the opponent. Spain are full of great players, and their new manager [Luis Enrique] has brought new energy and created a compact team that knows what to do. Still, we are not afraid, and we can win."

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic came to the defence of Luka Modric after Real Madrid's poor start to the season and said the midfielder has been unfairly criticised at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid are sixth in LaLiga after losing four of their 12 matches so far this term but have recovered some form in recent weeks under caretaker coach Santiago Solari, winning their last four games in all competitions.

Modric is in the Croatia squad for their Nations League matches against Spain and England and Dalic revealed that he had spoken to his captain ahead of the fixtures.

"We talked a few days ago," Dalic told reporters.

"Luka is aware that in football there are oscillations, that after playing brilliantly for a whole year, he cannot always be in shape and always be the best.

"When Madrid loses a match, then they look for the culprit among the foreigners, so they blame Luka, [Toni] Kroos or someone else.

"At the end of the day, Luka is the best player in the world."

Croatia will hope Modric can help them bounce back from the 6-0 defeat they suffered against Spain in September and improve on their 0-0 draw with England in October.

Dalic's men are bottom of League A Group 4 with one point but have a game in hand on England and Spain, who have four and six points from three outings, respectively.

"I think we have a much better mood and form than in that first game," said Dalic, reflecting on defeat in Spain. "The Spaniards have since lost to England. We need two victories.

"I expect a full stadium, victories and the points that will keep us in contention for the European Championship."

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