Nobody expected Croatia to struggle too much against Kosovo, but 6-0 is just ridiculous. Mario Mandzukic scored 3 and assisted another before making way for Fiorentina striker Nikola Kalinic, who made a case for his own inclusion in the first XI by doing this.
We give Nikola a little bit of guff around these parts because he’s a streaky, one-dimensional forward who can only score with his feet from inside the area, preferably with a tap-in. His holdup play is good, but he’s not particularly fast or strong, and he’s certainly not particularly creative (occasional moment of brilliance involving Joan Verdu—of all people—aside). Khouma Babacar is bigger, faster, stronger, can shoot from anywhere, and has been with the Viola for nearly a decade, making him a fan favorite.
But holy smokes, Kalinic. That’s just blisteringly good. Maybe that’s why Paulo Sousa keeps on starting him. Now if he could only do it while wearing purple, instead of blue and checkers.