Injured Mandzukic ruled out of Croatia's Euro 2016 qualifiers

CROATIA: Striker Mario Mandzukic has been ruled out of Croatia's Euro 2016 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Malta with a hamstring injury, the domestic football federation (HNS) said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, Mandzukic cannot play due to a hamstring injury," Croatia national team doctor Boris Nemec told the HNS website.

"He has been examined on Wednesday and concluded that he will not feature in these matches."

The 29-year-old Juventus striker, who scored 19 goals in 62 internationals, will now continue his rehabilitation at the club.

"He will be back to full training in two weeks, without risking injury recurrence," Nemec said. "Of course, he was not happy with these news, bit his health comes first."

Croatia host Bulgaria in their penultimate fixture on Saturday before travelling to Malta for their final Group H match three days later.

Croatia are third in the standings with 14 points from eight matches, four points behind leaders Italy and two behind Norway.

The top two teams from each of the nine groups and the best third-placed team qualify for the 24-team tournament, along with hosts France. The other eight third-placed teams enter a two-legged playoff for the remaining four berths.