When at the end of the first week of May 2018 the Australian national football team coach Bert van Marwijk announced his extended Socceroos squad for the World Cup, one name stood out. 22-year-old defender Fran Karacic is undoubtedly the least known member of the 32-man squad, plying his trade in Croatia with Lokomotiva Zagreb.
Born in Zagreb, Croatia, the young gun Fran Karacic is eligible to represent Australia owing to the fact that he holds Australian citizenship as well as Croatian, his father was born in Australia while his grandfather was a Croatian migrant Down Under, lived in Australia most of his adult life, and also a citizen before the family returned to live in Croatia.
He has represented Croatia at youth level as recently as March 2018, but Fran Karacic is now set for a Socceroos debut after a particularly complicated route to the national arena.
Karacic has seemingly come out of nowhere for the green and gold but the word is that he has actually been on the Socceroos radar for a long time.
With eight appearances for Croatia’s U-21 side to his name with his last coming in March when he scored against Moldova, Karacic was reportedly undecided for a long time over which country to represent but had his mind made up when Australia beat Croatia to the punch by offering him a shot at World Cup selection.
Though he could still be cut from the Socceroos final World Cup squad, the right back could get to show exactly why he has been in Socceroos sights for a long time when Australia play Czech Republic on June 1 in a friendly game.
“It all started two years ago when the Australian coach was Ange Postecoglou,” Karacic said to goal.com.
“During his mandate we were in regular contact. Lokomotiva is a good club, full of young and prospective players, so the Australians have probably noticed it. After all, they wanted me to join Australia for last year’s Confederations Cup, but then I was injured.
“The Australians have been with me for a long time, knowing practically everything about me, and most often I contact with the assistant coach of Ante Milicic.
“I have never talked to Bert van Marwijk, but through WhatsApp I am in contact with other coaches and psychologists from the Australian team.”
Karacic was recommended to van Marwijk by Zagreb-based Socceroos assistant coach Ante Milicic, and he’s ready to ride the wave to Russia.
Despite having been primarily used as a right fullback at club level, one of the newest members of the Socceroos squad has reportedly shown a versatility to be deployed further up the pitch in attacking positions, while having also played on the left side and centrally in defence.
While he may be a new face among many experienced figures in the Socceroos, Karacic may well bring a sense of leadership to the group having already been handed the captain’s armband on several occasions throughout the season. We watch the developments for Karacic on the World Cup field with keen interest.