Friday, 24 June 2022

New FIFA Rule Allows 26 Croatia Players at 2022 World Cup

June 24, 2022 - A new FIFA rule allows each national team to bring 26 players to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. But which 26 Croatia players will coach Dalić choose?

FIFA has officially announced that coaches will be able to register 26 players for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This is a rule for the first time in the World Cup's history. 

The national team coaches were divided. Some advocated a larger number of footballers; others opposed it because they hold that leading a group of 26 players makes it difficult to maintain a competitive stimulus and atmosphere for everyone. However, most of them are satisfied with the rule, especially those who, like Zlatko Dalić, may have doubts and face difficult decisions about who to write off.

Thus, the Croatia coach will have a surplus of candidates. FIFA will allow anyone who wants to have 23 players as the minimum number allowed. Although Dalić has yet to make an official statement, he will likely lead with 26 players, as he did for Euro 2020. 

“Given the need to retain additional flexibility due to the unique timing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the global calendar, as well as the wider context of the devastating effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on the team, it was decided:

- the maximum number of players on the preliminary list has been increased from 35 to 55,

- the number of players to be included in the final list has been increased to a minimum of 23 and a maximum of 26,

- the last day of matches at the club level will be the deadline for registration of 23 to 26 players who will make the final list, which is November 13, 2022,

- there will be 26 on the bench, of which 15 reserve players and 11 officials, one of whom must be a doctor."

The last provision is important because 23 players were allowed minutes at the Euros, meaning the coach had to send three players to the stands before each match. Now, all 26 will be on the record, so as many as 15 on the bench.

Zlatko Dalić has two Nations League games until the final selection. Logically, he will bring three goalkeepers - Livaković, Ivušić, and another, and 23 players - eight in defense, six each from the midfield and attacking line, and three as a bonus where he needs it.

In the defense, it is clear that Juranović, Gvardiol, Erlić, J. Šutalo, Sosa, and likely Barišić are safe; in the midfield, Modrić, Kovačić, Brozović, Majer, Pašalić, although he is a candidate for attack and very likely Jakić, and in the attack Perišić, Kramarić, Livaja and very likely Budimir and Brekalo. That is already 20 names to which the third goalkeeper should be added (L. Kalinić, Grbić, Labrović?). For the other five positions, strong candidates are Stanišić, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Ćaleta-Car, Vida, though not all of them from the defense will be able to come, and Vlašić and Oršić. Sučić, Petković, Pongračić, Ivanušec, Musa, and Krovinović are also candidates.

Source: Sportske Novosti

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

FIFA Approves: Igor Matanović Will Play for Croatia!

May 25, 2022 - 19-year-old German-born Igor Matanović will play for the Croatia national team!

Igor Matanović, the Eintracht Frankfurt striker currently on loan to St. Pauli, born on March 31, 2003, in Hamburg, played in the younger ranks of the German national team. However, his Croatian roots pulled him toward the homeland and representing Croatia. Therefore, the Croatian Football Federation initiated proceedings with FIFA to change his football citizenship and acquire the right to play for Croatia, reports HNS.

FIFA approved the change on Tuesday and confirmed that Matanović could immediately defend the colors of Croatia. Furthermore, Croatia U-21 coach Igor Bišćan invited him to the national team for the upcoming qualifying matches in Norway and Estonia at the end of the fight for a spot at the European Championships.

"I am thrilled that the procedure with FIFA has been completed and that Croatia will be stronger in the future thanks to another talented player who looks forward to wearing the Croatia jersey. I want to thank all the Croatian Football Federation services for excellent work - Pletikosa and U-21 coach Igor Bišćan. With the secretary of the younger teams, Josip Tomašek, they actively participated in this process from the very beginning. It is also worth mentioning Ivica Olić, who made quality contact with Igor and his family, and I am sure that the inclusion of coach Zlatko Dalić also played a significant role. We showed great unity, everyone got involved, and obviously, Igor and his family recognized that," said the president of the Croatian Football Federation, Marijan Kustić.

"Of course, we are extremely pleased that FIFA made this decision in Matanović's case. I am sure that with his football knowledge and skills, he can immediately make a great contribution to the further success of the Croatia national teams, and his right to play for Croatia is a successful continuation of the Croatian Football Federation's efforts to put many quality players from the diaspora in our jersey. Stanišić, Sučić, Vidović, and Pašalić have already made great gains, and we will continue to work in that direction. With all deserving individuals in the Federation, from the coaches Dalić and Bišćan through Ivica Olić to President Kustić, who gave us great support in these activities, it is also worth thanking the lawyers who prepared the extensive documentation very well and presented the whole case to Fifa's body and enabled this decision to be made," said Technical Director Stipe Pletikosa.

You can read more about Igor here.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Captains: Luka Modrić to Feature in New FIFA+ TV Series, Netflix Also Interested

April 16, 2022 - Croatia national team captain will feature in a new FIFA+ series called Captains, which has also caught the attention of Netflix. 

Fifa has launched the FIFA + digital platform, which allows free viewing of rich content to football fans around the world, reports 24 Sata.

The series "Captains" will soon be available on the platform, which follows six captains behind the scenes as they lead their countries through the qualifications for the World Cup in Qatar, including Croatia's fierce leader Luka Modrić.

The series explores the leadership qualities of each individual but also the different roles of captains, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Brian Kaltak (Vanuatu), Andre Blake (Jamaica), Hassan Maatouk (Lebanon), and Thiago Silva (Brazil) in addition to Modrić.

At the age of 36, Modrić remains the engine of Real Madrid and the Croatia national team, and one of the main reasons why Netflix, one of the world's largest streaming services, showed interest in the FIFA documentary. As 24 Sata has learned, they are in advanced negotiations with FIFA, and the mentioned series will probably be found on that popular streaming platform as well.

The Netflix streaming service has already released super-successful documentaries about Michael Jordan, Michael Schumacher, and Formula 1, to name a few.

The series will, among other things, feature never-before-released footage from Luka's childhood, details from his private life, and viewers will be able to see first-hand the atmosphere within the national team during their hunt for the World Cup in Qatar.

According to 24 Sata, Luka expressed regret that the cameras did not film Croatia's path to the silver medal at the World Cup in Russia. Still, this series should also arouse great interest among viewers.

Equally, FIFA+ will soon release a feature-length documentary, "Croatia: Defining the Nation," by acclaimed director Louis Myles, which talks about how football unites and connects the Croatian people and a group of friends who have gained global recognition in the face of extreme hardships. Each of them became a legend and painted their country around the world.

The film tells many stories of Croatia's bronze national team in 1998, such as Davor Šuker's Golden Boot at the 1998 World Cup, and the captain of the national team at that time, Zvonimir Boban. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

What Will Happen to Croatian Footballers in Russia? FIFA Makes Decision

 March 8, 2022 - FIFA has finally made a decision on the contracts of Croatian footballers in Russia. 

The contracts of foreign footballers and coaches employed in the Russian and Ukrainian championships will be "suspended" until the end of the season, and in the spring they will be able to freely engage in other clubs and countries, FIFA announced on Monday, as reported by Gol.hr.

On the Russian side, which has been banned from the sports world since the invasion of Ukraine and deprived of international competitions, the goal is to "facilitate the departure" of all those who have not found an agreement with their clubs, explains FIFA.

Therefore, they will have the “right to unilaterally suspend their employment contract” until June 30, 2022, and will be able to play for clubs from another championship, even outside the transition period. Foreign players and coaches in Ukraine will benefit from the same provision, to allow them to “work and receive a salary” while the conflicts continue.

Finally, underage players fleeing Ukraine will be treated by FIFA as underage refugees, thus entering an international transfer market that is otherwise closed to under-18s.

FIFA, which has already banned Russia from participating in the 2022 World Cup but risks appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the decision, reiterated its "condemnation of Russia's use of force in Ukraine" and called for a "quick cessation of hostilities".

FIFPro called FIFA’s temporary solution “too timid.”

“It will be hard for players to find employment for the remainder of the season with uncertainty looming over them and, within a few weeks, they will be in a very difficult situation once again. It is unsatisfactory even for players who are tied to short-term contracts in Russia — where contracts typically end in December — and who may not want or be able to return after 30 June 2022.”

This includes Croatian footballers Dejan Lovren, Nikola Moro, Filip Uremović, Tin Jedvaj, Zoran Nižić, Silvije Begić, Filip Mrzljak, and Mateo Barać. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 10 February 2022

FIFA 'Man of the Match' Mateo Kovačić on Fire for Chelsea at Club World Cup

February 10, 2020 - Mateo Kovačić was named the FIFA 'Man of the Match' of the Club World Cup semifinal on Wednesday between Chelsea and Al Hilal.

It didn't go as Chelsea fans would have expected, but the Premier League club topped the Asian champions Al Hilal in the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday night. The 1:0 victory was thanks to a Romelu Lukaku goal after a blunder by the opponents. Havertz recorded the assist, reports Jutarnji List.

There were many opportunities for the London club, but also any close moments in the second half as Al Hilal went aggressively to get the equalizing goal. Instead, they failed, primarily because of brilliant defending by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, still the highest-paid keeper of all time.

Interestingly, although Lukaku scored the only goal, and Kepa defended miraculously in the second half, FIFA chose Mateo Kovačić as the player of the match!

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The Croat is currently on fire for Chelsea. Not only did he score the potential goal of the Premier League season against Liverpool in January, but he recently wore the captain's armband for the club, too. He has been so good that assistant coach Zsolt Low (as head Tuchel has COVID) called him "the great leader of Chelsea".

"I may have made some, let’s call them, unforced mistakes that I don’t normally make, but it’s good, and I’m happy. I have to point out Kepa. He is a world-class goalkeeper, blessed to have as many as three great goalkeepers at our club. As for the match, it was tough. It’s the World Cup semi-finals; we knew it would be that way. We should have scored the second goal; that would have relaxed us even more," said Low after the match.

Chelsea will play against South American champions Palmeiras on Saturday at 5 pm to fight for their first Club World Cup title in club history. When they won the Champions League in 2012, they played another Brazilian team, the Corinthians, in the World Cup final. Chelsea lost 1:0.

"We know how passionate Brazilian fans are. We are looking forward to that match, but it will be at least as demanding as this one against Al Hilal. It would be great to win another trophy. However, this is not easy to come by. You must first qualify for the European Champions League, then win it, and then pass the semifinals of the World Cup," said the Croatian national team player after FIFA presented him the player of the match award.

Thomas Tuchel's assistant, Zsolt Low, also spoke in selected words about Kovačić:

"Kova has a lot of experience. He played a handful of games like this. He is important to us on and off the field, and today he did everything. He didn’t stop running; he didn’t stop fighting and always found the best possible solutions for the team. We are thrilled that this kind of player is at our club; he is a great leader." 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 19 November 2021

Croatia Moves Up 3 Spots in November FIFA Ranking, 15th in World

November 19, 2021 - Good news today as Croatia has moved up 3 spots in the latest FIFA ranking, and the Vatreni is now the 15th national team in the world. 

The Croatia national football team has advanced by three spots in the updated International Football Association (FIFA) ranking for November and is now the 15th national team in the world!

In the last qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Croatia beat Malta (7:1) and Russia (1:0) and earned enough points to overtake Colombia, Uruguay, and Sweden in the ranking. 

Belgium, Brazil, and France remain at the top, while Italy, which is now sixth, dropped two places.

Among the ten top teams in the world, England and Argentina moved up one place each and are now the 4th and 5th national teams in the world, respectively. Spain and Portugal retained their positions, while Denmark and the Netherlands advanced, finishing in the top ten.

Based on the calculation of November's FIFA rankings, Croatia would be placed in the second strongest group in the 2022 World Cup draw. 

Interestingly, Iran, led by Croatian coach Dragan Skočić, jumped to 21st place and is now two places ahead of Serbia. Since taking over the national team of Iran in February 2020, Skočić has remained undefeated. 

FIFA ranking:

1. (1.) Belgium 1828 points

2. (2.) Brazil 1826
3. (3.) France 1786
4. (5.) England 1756
5. (6.) Argentina 1751
6. (4.) Italy 1741
7. (7.) Spain 1705
8. (8.) Portugal 1660
9. (10.) Denmark 1655
10. (11.) The Netherlands 1654
...
15. (18.) CROATIA 1620

Source: Gol.hr and HNS

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Luka Modrić Speaks Out Against FIFA's Biennial World Cup Plan

October 19, 2021 - Croatia captain and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modrić has spoken out against the biennial World Cup plan, which would move the international event from every 4 to 2 years. 

Former best footballer in the world and captain of the Croatia national football team Luka Modrić said he did not want the World Cup every two years, reports Gol.hr.

"For me, the World Cup every two years makes no sense. The World Cup is special precisely because it is an event that takes place only every four years," Modrić said at a news conference in Kyiv on Monday before the Champions League match between Real Madrid and Shakhtar. 

"I would not like to see the World Cup - every two years. But, as you (journalists) said, they do not ask us much for an opinion," Modrić added.

FIFA still does not give up on the idea of introducing the World Cup every two years. On the contrary, the organization is conducting a feasibility study on the practicality of organizing championships every two years despite fierce criticism from various federations, clubs, players, and fan groups.

FIFA also announced that it would organize video conferences this week to gather the "point of view" of football coaches on the reform of the international calendar and the introduction of the World Cup every two years.

"The reputation of an event depends on its quality, not its frequency. Every year you have a Super Bowl, Wimbledon or the Champions League, everyone is excited and waiting for them," said International Football Federation (FIFA) President Gianni Infantino during a recent visit to Israel.

The Croatia captain also commented on speculations that the Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is one of the primary candidates for the Golden Ball.

The award, given by the prestigious France Football, was won by the 36-year-old Croatian footballer in 2018, and this year he is among the 30 remaining players up for the prestigious award.

"There are a few candidates who can win. For me, Karim is one of them. He deserved it because of how he played this year and how he played in recent years. Besides, he won the Nations League with France, and that's important when voting for this award," Modrić said.

Real Madrid is in second place in Group D of the Champions League with three points, while Sheriff is in the lead with six points. Shakhtar and Inter have one point each.

"We have a crucial game ahead of us. Especially because we lost the last one at home. We have no more room for mistakes. We have to enter the game like Real Madrid, with confidence and strength. We were not at the best level in the last three games, but the national team break was welcome. We are ready to play a good game," Modrić said.

"When you play for Real Madrid, you have to get used to the criticism. If you win, everything goes great, but when the results happen to us, like in the last three games, doubts begin whether we are at a good level or not. We don't worry much; we trust ourselves and our qualities," he concluded.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

HNS Stands with UEFA Against Super League

April 20, 2021 - HNS stands with UEFA against the proposed Super League, including clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, and Real Madrid

HNS reports that representatives of 55 national federations and members of Uefa voted at today's 45th Congress of the umbrella European football organization, a declaration in which they condemned the proclamation of the so-called "Super League."

The participants of the UEFA Congress are united in the claim that the closed "Super League" opposes the very concept of what Europe must be: united, open, supportive, and principled in sports values.

"Uefa and its members believe in a true European model based on open competitions, solidarity, and redistribution to ensure the sustainability and development of football for the benefit of all, as well as the promotion of European values ​​and social outcomes.

The conspirator clubs have obviously turned a blind eye to the fact that the status they enjoy today is not the result of an isolated case but part of a dynamic European system in which one’s successes and failures are equally influenced by large, medium, and small clubs. Their assumption that they have the right to "separate" and claim the right to build a legacy built together is an insult to European values ​​and sporting merit.

Uefa, its members, and all those who love football will strongly oppose it and fight against the moves of the owners of these clubs and all those who support them. In a moral sense, we know very well what is behind everything, and in that sense, we will protect football from a selfish clan that does not care about the game. We are European football. They are not," the declaration reads.

The Croatian Football Federation was represented at the 45th Uefa Congress by the president, Davor Šuker, also a member of the Uefa Executive Board, i.e., the executive director of the HNS, Marijan Kustić, and the head of the international department and licensing, Ivančica Sudac.

"Once again, we have sent a clear message to European football, showing solidarity united against the selfish interests of the richest clubs and their owners. The great thing is that we are unique in our attitudes and efforts to keep football as it should be, accessible to everyone, not just elites. The congress was very successful; Uefa kept the same course, everything it did before. I am delighted that my former teammate Zvonimir Boban has become Uefa's head of football, increasing the number of Croatian officials involved in various bodies of Fifa and Uefa. I believe that by acting together, we will contribute to even better treatment of Croatian football on the international stage," concluded Davor Šuker.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Friday, 19 March 2021

Andrej Plenković, Davor Šuker, Aleksandar Čeferin Discuss Football Infrastructure in Croatia

March 19, 2021 - The Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, received the President of the European Football Federation, Aleksandar Čeferin, and the President of the Croatian Football Federation, Davor Šuker, at Banski dvori in Zagreb to discuss football infrastructure in Croatia. 

HNS reports that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Zdravko Marić and the Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac. The HNS delegation was accompanied by the Executive Director Marijan Kustić and the Head of the International Department and Licensing Ivančica Sudac.

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HNS

The meeting topic was primarily further investments in the development of football infrastructure in Croatia, and support for plans for the construction of a national stadium and the renovation of existing football stadiums in Croatia was also emphasized.

Prime Minister Plenković reminded that his Government in the last term adopted the National Sports Program 2019-2026, increased allocations for sports by more than 100%, and several projects were launched in the sports sector. He also added that the Government had launched investments in local sports infrastructure for the first time, and 15 football infrastructure projects in the total amount of HRK 5.7 million were co-financed through a public tender for co-financing the renovation and construction of sports infrastructure in 2019.

In addition to job preservation measures, the government has expanded support measures to mitigate the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that have also affected the sports sector.

"I thank Prime Minister Plenković for organizing this meeting with Minister Brnjac and Minister Marić, which I consider extremely important for the further development of football, especially football infrastructure in Croatia. I am glad that the Government of the Republic of Croatia has shown an understanding of many economic, health, and other benefits that football brings to society and interest in the challenges we face as the most massive sports organization in the country. With the support of UEFA and FIFA, HNS has done a lot in the development of infrastructure in recent years, and of course, we wish more state assistance in this segment," said HNS President Davor Suker, adding:

"I have the impression that the current government led by Prime Minister Plenković, despite all the current challenges, has the hearing, desire, will, and strength to return to football what football, as the most successful Croatian 'product,' deserves. I am proud that in UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, we have a great friend of Croatian football, and I thank him for showing today with concrete examples and figures that any investment in football is many times more profitable; for society as a whole."

Šuker also expressed satisfaction with the agreement reached on the establishment of a joint body of the Government, UEFA, and HNS:

"I believe in the effectiveness of a joint body composed of representatives of the Government and the Ministries of Finance, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, HNS and UEFA's independent experts, and the city of Zagreb to jointly prepare a sustainable project to build a new stadium."

UEFA president Čeferin also reported on UEFA's plans to organize the European Football Championship, given the epidemiological situation in Europe.

At the initiative of UEFA President Čeferin and HNS President Šuker, a humanitarian match between Slovenia and Croatia was played in Petrinja on 13 March. On that occasion, President Čeferin, on behalf of UEFA, handed over a donation of 50,000 euros to the Croatian Red Cross. At the same time, HNS donated 200,000 kuna to the Sisak-Moslavina County Football Association to reconstruct football infrastructure.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Zlatko Dalic Interviews with FIFA: "Croatia Has a Bright Future"

December 23, 2020 - As 2020 comes to a close, Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalic interviews with FIFA about a hopefully bright year ahead. 

Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalic interviewed for the official website of the International Football Federation, FIFA, in which he commented on the turbulent world of football in 2020 and announced the challenging 2021 for the 'Vatreni,' which is just around the corner.

FIFA introduced Dalic by remembering Croatia's fairy tale at the 2018 World Cup, where they lost in the final to France.

A lot has changed since then. 

With Mario Mandzukic, Danijel Subasic, and Vedran Corluka retiring shortly after the World Cup silver, Dalic was forced to bring in promising young stars to the squad, hoping they could fill their shoes. 

With talented youngsters, Dalic's Croatia qualified for the Euros, but that is nothing compared to the grueling 2021 ahead, with World Cup qualifiers beginning in March and the European Championship next summer. 

Dalic was first asked about Croatia's World Cup qualifying group, including Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, and Malta.

"There are no easy groups because qualifying for the World Cup is a dream for every nation. We have a tough group, but we accept our position as a favourite in the group - we're the best-seeded team, and we are current World Cup silver medallists. We truly respect all opponents in the group," Dalic began. 

"Obviously, the schedule will be very tight in March and September with three games in one week. It leaves almost no time for training, and with the long travels, it's very challenging for the players to play three so important games, especially with their club schedule also being quite exhausting. It will be important to plan very well and try to manage our resources the best that we can, to protect the players while going for the best results. However, it's the same for everybody, so we won't use that as an excuse.

The other issue is the fact that we have the EURO in the middle of the qualifiers, which is unusual, and it will also present a problem for all EURO participants. For instance, you are starting the qualifiers with one team, but it's possible that after EURO, some players retire from the national team, so you have to make important changes in the middle of the cycle," he continued for FIFA.

Asked about if he feels even more pressure because Croatia reached the World Cup final in 2018, Dalic replied:

"I think people understand that 2018 was special and that you can't repeat that every two or four years. I think we had more pressure in 2018 when we knew it was probably a last chance for some of our senior players. Now, our pressure is to qualify - we want to be there, among the best.

Once we're there, we know that we have the quality, talent, and self-belief to beat anyone on a given night, but we also understand that Croatia is not in the first row of favourites - that's reserved for the biggest teams, such as France, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, England, Italy, Belgium or Portugal. Of course, as we showed in 1998 and 2018, that doesn't mean Croatia can't make a historic run, but I don't think we have pressure to do that."

Dalic spoke about how much the Croatia squad has changed since that final:

"Players such as Rakitic, Mandzukic, Subasic, and Corluka are no longer with us, and we have talented youngsters coming in and taking on bigger roles. We used the UEFA Nations League in 2018 and 2020 to give a chance to several new players, and we got through the EURO 2020 qualifying cycle quite well.

Luka Modric is still our leader, and with Brozovic and Kovacic alongside him, we still have one of the best midfields in the world. Senior players such as Perisic, Vida, and Lovren give us much-needed experience, and we also have young guns, such as Brekalo and Vlasic, who proved their potential, so we feel pretty good ahead when it comes to our future."

And what can Croatia achieve at the Euros next summer?

"We fulfilled our dreams in Russia - that was unforgettable for everybody involved, and for our fans as well. But it also gives us an extra motivation because we know how special it is to make the whole nation so joyful and proud. With the current pandemic going on, and so many lives lost, we understand that the whole nation will look at us to make them happy once again, and it's our obligation to do our very best to try to replicate that magic from Russia.

As I mentioned before - there are a few teams that are, objectively, ahead of us at the moment. But, we're pretty confident in our quality, and we surely won't admit to anyone they're better than us until they prove that on the pitch. And that's very difficult to do, because not only do we have the quality, but we also play with so much passion and togetherness for Croatia," Dalic said.

You can read the full interview on the FIFA website HERE.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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