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Lovren's final chance to shine for country ahead of massive World Cup opener
6:00am Friday 6th June 2014 in Sport
The centre half, linked with a move to Liverpool, will be hoping for a start in Croatia’s final warm-up friendly against Australia.
He will be desperate to do well to put himself in with a chance of facing hosts Brazil in the tournament opener next Thursday.
Lovren was an unused sub when Croatia defeated Mali 2-1 in a friendly last weekend.
Prior to that, he played the first 57 minutes of a 2-2 friendly draw with Switzerland in early March, starting against ex-Tottenham man Vedran Korluka.
But Gordon Schildenfeld was preferred alongside Corluka against Mali.
Lovren was a regular for his country throughout the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
But he was dropped from the starting XI after the 2-0 loss in Scotland last October.
Under new boss Niko Kovac, Lovren didn’t play at all in the first leg of the play-off in Iceland the following month and only came on in the last minute of the second leg for Luca Modric.
Lovren’s chances of playing in the World Cup, though, were boosted when centre half Josip Simunic was banned from the tournament.
FIFA hit him with a 10-match ban for leading a pro-Nazi chant with supporters after his team had beaten Iceland.Simunic will also banned from entering any stadiums for his nation’s matches and was fined around £20,000.
Lovren and Schildenfeld have been tipped to start against a Brazil side who will field Neymar and Fred up front.
Barcelona star Neymar, just 22, has fired 30 goals in only 47 appearances for his country.
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