Zlatko Dalic Comments on the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, Croatia in 'Respectable' Group H

By 8 December 2020
Zlatko Dalic Comments on the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, Croatia in 'Respectable' Group H

December 8, 2020 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalic comments on the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and Croatia in the 'respectable' Group H. The next World Cup will be held in Qatar in 2022.

The European qualifying draw for the 2022 World Cup was held on Monday in Zurich. Croatia was one of the top-seeded national teams in the draw and was thus placed in Group H with Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, and Malta.

"As is mostly the case, the draw could have been better and worse, but Croatia was among the top seeds for a reason, and we should not run away from the role of favorites. Our goal is to qualify for the World Cup, and this is the group in which we can accomplish this. Strong matches from the past two years have come in handy as preparation for these matches," said coach Zlatko Dalic after the draw.

"We got Slovakia and Russia from the second and third strongest groups, opponents with whom we have a relatively fresh experience, and they will be our biggest competitors for first place. However, other games are not easy because we got the best national teams from each group. I repeat, Croatia is the favorite, and that is how we will position ourselves from the beginning," added the 2018 World Cup finalist coach.

Croatia has recent experiences with Slovakia and Russia:

"Slovakia proved to be a quality team; they deservedly qualified for the EURO. We played a great game in Trnava, but let's remember that they led and showed quality in Rijeka. They have experience playing with Croatia, and it will come in handy. The Russians are good; they showed it against us at the World Cup, after they knocked out Spain. Slovenia has risen and is advancing under the leadership of Matjaž Kek, who knows us very well, and as our neighbors will surely have a special motive to show their quality. We must not underestimate Cyprus and Malta either, because they are national teams that show from cycle to cycle that they are a tough nut to crack even for the best national teams, and certainly not easy opponents to score against."

Croatia, as well as other national teams, will have a very tough time with three qualifying matches in March and September:

"We are used to such a schedule in the past two months; we saw that it is not easy because there is no time for training. We do not have much time to make mistakes, but the stakes are the World Cup, and that's how we must approach it from the first minute of the first game. I want us all to be healthy because when we have all the players available, then we are real and quality, and I deeply believe, the best in this group."

"The group is demanding, with strong opponents that we respect. But Croatia wants to defend its World Cup silver medal in Qatar, and we will do everything to achieve that," Dalic concluded.

Source: HNS

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