October 9, 2014 / 5:43 PM / 4 years ago

Croatia's Vida to replace injured Lovren against Bulgaria

Croatia's Domagoj Vida controls the ball during their international friendly soccer match against Mali at Gradski Vrt Stadium in Osijek May 31, 2014. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic/Files

SOFIA (Reuters) - Versatile Croatia defender Domagoj Vida will replace the injured Dejan Lovren for the Euro 2016 Group H qualifier at Bulgaria, coach Niko Kovac said on Thursday.

Vida, 25, will win his 25th cap in Sofia after Liverpool centre back Lovren withdrew from the squad after sustaining an abdominal injury in training.

“Yes, I’ve decided who will play instead of Dejan Lovren,” Kovac told a news conference at the Vasil Levski national stadium.

“Vida plays as left back, right back and centre back at (his club) Dynamo Kiev. He’s in excellent shape and I see no problems for him to play in any position.”

Lovren, who will now return to Anfield for assessment, will also miss Croatia’s home match against Azerbaijan on Monday.

Croatia began their qualifying campaign with a comfortable 2-0 home win over Malta. Bulgaria beat Azerbaijan 2-1 in their Group H opener.

Croatia and Bulgaria are expected to fight for second place in the group with Italy considered overwhelming favourites for top spot.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; editing by Justin Palmer

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