SAINTS defender Dejan Lovren will be hoping for a recall to the Croatian starting XI tonight in Switzerland.
Lovren was left on the bench for both legs of last December’s World Cup play-off victory over Iceland.
They were the first games that new head coach Niko Kovac had taken charge of after he had replaced Igor Stimac.
Josip Simunic was one of the two centre halves used against Iceland, but he was subsequently handed a 10-game suspension by FIFA after being found guilty of chanting a pro-Nazi slogan. Simunic took the microphone in the aftermath of the play-off win over Iceland and addressed the crowd with a cry of: “For the people.”
That phrase has links with the pro-Nazi regime which ruled Croatia during World War II, and the defender’s impassioned denial of any wrongdoing failed to spare him a FIFA charge. Simunic’s suspension starts with his country’s first World Cup game in Brazil this summer, agains the hosts.
That leaves Kovac with the dilemma of who to play in his place, but Lovren must be in with a good shout as he was a regular in the World Cup qualifying campaign prior to Stimac leaving.