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Croatia boss Dalic laments ageing squad and defensive issues for Euro 2024 struggles

Croatia are on the brink of an early Euro 2024 exit and Zlatko Dalic apportions their struggles to an ageing squad and defensive issues.

Dalic’s side must overcome Italy on Monday to have any chance of escaping Group B, sitting on just one point after a 2-2 draw with Albania followed a 3-0 humbling by Spain in their opener.

Croatia have not gone through a group stage without winning at a major tournament since the 2006 World Cup (D2 L1) as those defensive problems referenced by Dalic remain the main issue.

They have conceded five goals in two matches so far, only letting more in at two major tournament group stages, shipping six at Euro 2004 and as many at the World Cup 10 years later.

“We haven’t started well,” Dalic told reporters on Sunday. “We haven’t been up to our usual standards because we’ve been conceding too many goals.

“We only conceded once in the group stage in Qatar 2022, we’ve conceded five thus far here.

“The players are three years older. We are also coming up against strong o

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