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Modric, Rakitic headline Croatia’s preliminary WCup squad

May 14, 2018

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale, right and Luka Modric embrace after Bale scored his side's 2nd goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Celta at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, May 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul White)

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — In possibly their last World Cup as midfield partners, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were named Monday in the provisional Croatia squad for the tournament in Russia.

Modric’s focus could be distracted by perjury charges he faces in his country for testimony about financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director charged with embezzlement and tax fraud.

The prosecutors in the eastern town of Osijek say Modric gave a false court statement in June about his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham.

Striker Mario Mandzukic, who just clinched yet another Serie A title with Juventus, was also chosen by Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic for his 32-man selection.

Mandzukic has scored 30 goals for his country in 82 international games. Forwards Ivan Perisic and Nikola Kalinic are also available up front.

Center back Dejan Lovren, who will play in the Champions League final with Liverpool, and veteran Vedran Corluka will likely anchor Croatia’s defense. Domagoj Vida, Josip Pivaric, Sime Vrsaljko and Ivan Strinic are also part of Croatia’s defensive line.

Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and his likely backup, Lovre Kalinic, were also included.

Croatia will play in Group D at the World Cup campaign against Nigeria on June 16 before facing Argentina on June 21 and Iceland on June 26.

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