Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Zlatko Dalić on Future Croatia Captain and Modrić's Successor

November 16, 2021 - Zlatko Dalić hinted at who should replace Luka Modrić as the future Croatia captain - and he happens to be one of the biggest European stars this year. 

A tearful Zlatko Dalić was seen at the final whistle after Croatia secured their spot at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Dalić admitted that this dramatic ending to the World Cup qualifications was moving and he was delighted to lead Croatia to defend the World Cup silver next year. 

In an interview with Nova TV, Dalić was full of emotions. 

"One of my biggest victories; it meant a lot to me. Especially because it was the final, played in front of a full stadium, and it took us to Qatar. I was just emotionally broken. This time I couldn't stand it with so much pressure and stress. We wanted Croatia to qualify; we prevailed, in those moments I couldn't control myself, everything was released."

He announced that Croatia could move to a system with three players in the back.

"We will try a formation with three defenders. We will need to prepare very well for the World Cup. There will not be many terms to play, we have to expect great things from Croatia, but we cannot get a result without these older players."

There has been a lot of talk about returning Ivan Rakitić to the national team.

"I am in contact with him. Ivan did not have the opportunity to be with us because of Covid-19; now was the chance to thank him, and we invited him to Split. He retired, so we will see. If the need arises, we will talk, but one should look at our youth. However, Ivan said that if the need arises, he is there."

Dalić then praised Mato Kovačić.

"I have to point out Mateo Kovačić. He is Modrić's successor; he should become the captain of the national team. He is the biggest winner in 2021; he is the European champion, he plays great for the national team, he goes to the top, he cannot be replaced when he is healthy."

Modrić does not want to rest.

"Modrić wanted to play against Malta, I even wanted to replace him at half-time, and he wanted to play more. Luckily these young players can learn from him. The younger ones will progress much faster with the older ones like Modrić, Lovren, and Brozović."

Ivo Grbić was in goal for Croatia's last two games. 

"We changed the goalkeeper, we estimated that he is in better shape, but Livaković is still number one in the national team, and it is up to him to work and prove himself again. We have no problems with goalkeepers. Grbić deserved to defend, and Livaković must be even better to remain number one.

I have been leading the national team for five years. No money or contract can ruin this for me. Of course, there were difficult moments, but I forgot all that. What I experienced is irreplaceable. The fans are our strength," concluded Dalić.

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

Monday, 15 November 2021

Zlatko Dalić, Most Successful Croatia National Team Coach

November 15, 2021 - Croatia has qualified for the 2022 World Cup, making Zlatko Dalić the most successful Croatia national team coach we have seen. 

Just over four years ago, Zlatko Dalić took over the Croatia national team at its worst. Led by Ante Čačić at the time, Croatia drew against Finland in Rijeka and needed an away victory against Ukraine to secure additional qualifications for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Čačić was sacked, an unknown Dalić was announced as the coach, and proceeded to defeat Ukraine and Greece in additional World Cup qualifications. We all know what happens next. 

Four years later, Zlatko Dalić became the first Croatia coach to take the national team to three major competitions. In the meantime, he led Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final. Zlatko Dalić is thus the most successful Croatia national team coach, reports Index.hr.

Since participating independently in UEFA and FIFA competitions, Croatia has missed only two major competitions - Euro 2000 and the 2010 World Cup. Miroslav 'Ćiro' Blažević and Slaven Bilić are the only two Croatia coaches comparable to Zlatko Dalić, considering they are the only coaches who have led the national team in more than 50 games. Interestingly, no other coach on the bench has endured more than 25 games, which only testifies to how explosive the Croatia bench is.

Ćiro Blažević was the only coach who could successfully lead the national team in the 90s, and with the bronze medal at the 1998 World Cup, he earned the 'coach of all coaches' nickname. 

On the other hand, Slaven Bilić made the biggest tactical and personnel revolution in the national team's history. And with 42 wins in 65 games, he is by far the most successful coach in terms of win-loss ratios. 

Nevertheless, after defeating Russia, Zlatko Dalić not only qualified for his third major competition in a row, but for the second time, he showed that he does not need additional qualifications for such an achievement. Furthermore, after a weak start, he showed that it was unnecessary to switch coaches to ensure the national team would come out on top in critical qualification moments, putting him ahead of Blažević and Bilić today. 

From the beginning of his term, Zlatko Dalić was nearly doomed to fail, primarily because he was unknown compared to former coaches. He also did not have the full support of HNS and was seen as a temporary solution.

And Dalić's road to success was no walk in the park. Recall, Croatia experienced many painful defeats under Dalić, from losing a record 6:0 to Spain and another blunder against Portugal. Croatia has also played poorly against much weaker opponents, like Slovenia, Hungary, or Azerbaijan. And Dalić has not escaped media criticism.

However, the essential criteria for the success of a coach are qualifying for major competitions and getting good results. Dalić first took Croatia to the World Cup, reached the final for the first time, and then qualified for two major competitions, finishing first in the qualifying group.

No one before him has shown such peaks and continuity, and that is why the verdict is clear: as far as the Croatia national team and its coaches are concerned, Zlatko Dalić sits alone at the top. 

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

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić: "Croatia-Russia Qualifier at Poljud is Our Final"

November 13, 2021 - The Croatia national team is in Split ahead of the last 2022 World Cup qualifier against Russia at Poljud on Sunday. Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić addressed the press on Saturday and agreed that the Croatia-Russia qualifier at Poljud is the final. 

After defeating Malta 7:1 in Valletta, morale is high - and a sold-out Poljud stadium is the best motivation to secure a spot at the World Cup next year in Qatar. 

Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić addressed the press at Poljud on Saturday to discuss the critically important match on Sunday. Only the winner is guaranteed a spot in Qatar. 

"We will see how Russia will play tomorrow. We have to be strong from the start; we know what we want. We need to be aggressive. That will be the most important tomorrow," said Luka to open the conference. 

"I know all the Russia players, and they have many young talented players as well. The ambient in Split is phenomenal, and I believe it will be that way tomorrow, and that will give us the motive to play well and bring us the win," Luka added. 

"This is football; this is sport. We believe in ourselves; we have a good team. The pitch is the only measure. We will decide on the pitch the better team. 

We knew when we saw the qualifying group that Russia would be the toughest. Tomorrow is the final, for them and for us. That makes it a different kind of game. We are the favorite in front of our fans, and we will show that on the pitch.

This is the most crucial game for us since the 2018 World Cup. This is the most important game for this team.

We are 100% focused on this game. We will show that tomorrow. Split and Poljud mean a lot. I remember the last match against Hungary, and the ambient was already there when we went to warm up. So this will be the motivation for us. 

The atmosphere is really good in the team, and of course, when we win and play well, that lifts the atmosphere. The young players have shown that we can count on them. I am pleased with the future of Croatia football," concluded Luka Modrić. 

"All players with us are in great shape. Nikola Vlašić is in much better form than the last Croatia action together. 

Russia was tough in the World Cup. A lot of players we played against at the World Cup are no longer on the team. They have many young new players now. But this is a different game than at the 2018 World Cup - this is a final," said coach Zlatko Dalić. 

"We knew this game had to be in Split due to the atmosphere and the public. However, all of our games played around Croatia have had an incredible atmosphere. I always feel good in Split, welcomed, and I am happy. I am calm and focused on tomorrow's game. 

We won't change many details in the lineup from Malta. We have a lot of good attackers. Vlašić is back; Majer had an incredible game against Malta. Pašalić is in brilliant form. But we don't want to change a lot in the lineup," added Dalić. 

"We are fighters, winners, and will do that tomorrow. But, we have to be smart," concluded Dalić. 

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

Monday, 8 November 2021

"First Malta, then Russia at Poljud": Dalić Readies for Croatia's Final 2022 World Cup Qualifiers

November 8, 2021 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić is maximally focused on the upcoming decisive matches for a spot at the World Cup in Qatar next year. Croatia plays Malta first away (November 11), then Russia at Poljud (November 14),

Dalić points out that the first game is the most important, reports HNS.

"We have two games ahead of us; two victories separate us from our goal. Given the state we have been in the last five games, I am optimistic. The first game that comes is always the most important. Malta is very important because, with a victory, we open the fight for first place in Split against Russia. Of course, Malta is an opponent who cannot match us, but we must be serious, patient, and responsible. Malta has been training for seven days, they want to oppose us, but if we are good, we will win. At no point do I want, nor will I talk about Russia until Split. There is no talk about Russia," says Dalić, who referred to the team's current condition. 

"Kovačić dropped out before, and we will miss him very much. Brekalo will come to the gathering, we will do an examination, and if something suspicious comes about and he is not ready, he will return to his club. Thanks to Ivan Jurić and Turin for allowing us to do that; if he is not one hundred percent ready, he will continue to recover at his club. Sučić suffered an unpleasant blow, so he will also have a check-up, and captain Modrić is much better, and we will see what will happen with him in the next two or three days. Luka had a fever; he had a virus, and couldn't compete in Real's last game. Of course, this is not an ideal situation, we will try to train him for Malta, but if he is not one hundred percent, we will not force him because we need the readiest players for Malta. However, I hope that Luka will be OK."

The day before the national team gathering, the coach subsequently sent invitations to Bruno Petković and Lovro Majer.

"We have two games ahead of us, during which we can only win. So we have nothing to defend and calculate; we need to be at a high level in the attack. Majer left a very good impression in September, then, unfortunately, he got injured, but now he is healthy and brings us more quality in that segment of the game. And Petković's quality was not disputable; it just didn't have continuity. He has raised his form in the last games, and he can help us with his qualities. We will have an exceptional 25 players; we must not allow any surprises so as not to get stuck at the last minute. Petković and Majer are in very good shape, and there were no doubts. Petković's position? In the position he plays at Dinamo. We have the best players in the world - Brozović and Modrić; he must finish for the national team, and a goal is important to us against Malta and Russia. So, Bruno will be used as a striker."

As a coach, Dalić has already led decisive matches on several occasions, so the current situation is not unusual.

"The pressure is always there, but I don't feel it. These are important matches for us because we want to avoid tough additional qualifications, but there is always pressure and desire without which you cannot work properly. We have to be ready for everything, expectations are high, but we are going step by step."

Given the frequent injuries, the coach has rotated a lot of players in the defense. But now, everyone is ready.

"And my wish is to have a standard team. In Russia, there were always eleven players who started matches, but now, I was forced to rotate due to the circumstances. We changed, we tried, it took seven days to distribute the forces. The players play from Wednesday - Sunday, viruses happen, immunity drops, fatigue occurs, and I have to take care of all that. Croatia has not been so powerful in stopper positions for a long time; we have great players in big clubs. The best ones will play, while Gvardiol has the advantage over everyone. He is left-footed and plays well at his club. And we finally have a left-footer in the position of the left stopper. We will see who will play on the right side."

Before the match against Russia, Dalić does not want to leave anything to chance.

"In Malta, for the first time in my term, we will stay there to sleep after the game. The match in Split is played at 3 pm, so we need to try to make sure that we get a good rest before Russia. We have to beat Malta, and after that, we will see what condition we are in. I really don't mean to worry about whether we will keep a player for Russia. Of course, we will rest some players in case of a favorable result, but let's not talk about Russia. I know that the focus is on that game, but for me, Russia is not a topic until we beat Malta," concluded the coach.

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

Monday, 25 October 2021

Dalić Announces 30-man Roster to Face Malta and Russia in November

October 25, 2021 - The latest news on the Croatian national football team, as Zlatko Dalić announces a list of 24 players called up and another 6 players on stand-by for the matches against Malta and Russia in November, the last two to define the qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Croatian national football team will face their Maltese counterparts in Ta 'Qali on November 11 at 8:45 p.m. And on November 14, at 3:00 p.m., Croatia will host the Russian national team at the Poljud to define the winner of Group H. Dalić and his players beat Cyprus 3-0 and drew 2-2 against Slovakia in Osijek in the previous round of matches. Now, in their last two group matches, they hope to take all six points to seal their direct qualification to the Qatar World Cup in 2022 and avoid the playoffs. It will not be easy since, in addition to visiting Malta, they will face their direct rival for qualification, Russia.

248372523_4499379480142453_7488961722443917051_n.jpg

(Croatian Football Federation on Facebook)

For the matches against Malta and Russia, Dalić has presented a roster of 24 players and another six on stand-by. Compared to their last list to face Cyprus and Slovakia, it is worth highlighting that Dalić announces the return of Simon Sluga (Luton Town) in goal, and Duje Ćaleta-Car (Marseille) and Marin Pongračić (Dortmund) in defense, thus leaving Filip Uremović (Rubin Kazan) and Mile Škorić (Osijek) on the stand-by list, and Ivica Ivušić of Osijek is no longer among the 30 named by Dalić. Those would be the only changes to the 24-player roster, while goalkeeper Lovre Kalinić (Hajduk) is new to the stand-by roster. Nikola Moro (Dinamo Moscow), Antonio-Mirko Čolak (Malmo), and Kristijan Lovrić (Gorica) reappear on the provisional list.

The tickets for the match against Russia at Poljud are already on sale, and according to the Federation, more than 10,000 have already been sold.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Zlatko Dalić Reveals Changes in Croatia Starting 11 against Slovakia

October 10, 2021 - Zlatko Dalić addressed the press in Osijek on Sunday with captain Luka Modrić. The coach announced how the Croatia starting 11 against Slovakia would look, especially with the absence of Mateo Kovačić. 

A crucial 2022 World Cup qualifying match awaits the Croatia national team on Monday at 20:45 at City Garden Stadium in Osijek. Croatia will face Slovakia in the 8th round of qualifications for the World Cup in Qatar. A possible victory would keep them in first place in the group ahead of the last two rounds held in November.

Two days ago, Croatia beat Cyprus 3:0 on the road and thus continued a series of winning results and a game without conceding a goal. Croatia is currently tied with Russia, which plays against Slovenia in Maribor on Monday.

Zlatko Dalić, as well as captain Luka Modrić, appeared before the press in Osijek at 17:00 at the final press conference before the match against Slovakia. Croatia's last training at City Garden is scheduled for 17:30. 

"We have to respect Slovakia; they are a top national team and can be tough. It doesn't matter who will play for them; we have to be good," said coach Zlatko Dalić at the beginning.

"Our goal is to win as many points as possible and secure a place in the World Cup. We know how much tomorrow's game means to us, perhaps the most important qualifying match. Russia has a difficult visit to Slovenia. This is a chance for us to get closer to Qatar with the victory," Dalić added.

Dalić announced changes in the defense, despite a good performance in recent games.

"We haven't conceded a goal in six games, but tomorrow is an important exam. As good as we were in Cyprus, it was not a benchmark. Tomorrow is a situation where we must not receive pain. We will make changes in the lineup, but not because someone played badly, but we want even more energy. We will put in a couple of fresh players; some of our players are not standard, so it is difficult to repeat two games in three days. Vida is returning to his position," Dalić explained and praised Osijek player Mile Škorić.

"He deserved the invitation, but the competition is great for him. So we will see; I would like the situation to open up for him," Dalić added.

"I am looking forward to the competition in the national team, players who bring new energy and strength. We have to confirm this to get continuity. Everyone works well, and whoever I play, I will not make a mistake," said the Croatia coach, who added that the atmosphere is good because the results and overall team play are good.

"The result dictates everything; we play well, so the atmosphere is great. What makes us happy is the atmosphere and the result; the atmosphere was not worse at the Euros, but the result was missing."

Mate Kovačić will not play due to yellow cards.

"Pašalić will replace him; he will go to his position. Because he is good in the end, and we miss such a player, he has the best of all players, so there is no dilemma. Pašalić will start," said Dalić and added that Duje Ćaleta-Car will not start from the first minute.

Source: HRT

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Zlatko Dalić Ahead of Croatia's October World Cup Qualifiers: "We Must Remain Disciplined"

October 4, 2021 - Croatia's October World Cup qualifiers begin on Friday against Cyprus and continue in Osijek against Slovakia next Monday. Coach Zlatko Dalić addressed the press in Zagreb today before the national team gathered to discuss the upcoming cycle.

The Croatia national team is gathering in Zagreb ahead of the October World Cup qualifiers. Zlatko Dalić's team will play against Cyprus on Friday and host Slovakia on Monday in Osijek. Dalić has a lot of problems in the Croatia defense due to injuries, reports HRT.

"We must continue to be disciplined. We must continue even more seriously, even more responsibly, if we want to ease the cycle in November," said Dalić to begin.

On Sunday, he activated a callup to Borussia Dortmund defender Marin Pongračić. A few days ago, he also called up Duje Ćaleta-Car, due to the uncertain injuries of Domagoj Vida and Josip Juranović.

Dalić commented on Josip Brekalo's return to the national team:

"Josip Brekalo was not a problem for me; he was looking for a club, he was not in rhythm, and that is why he was not invited. He went to Turin, he played, and as soon as he got back in shape, we called him. We need him like other players who were not on the national team. No one will be deprived of the national team; whoever deserves their games, with their behavior, statements, and attitude towards the national team, will not be deprived because I see my interest first. Mine is that Croatia plays well to qualify for Qatar and the interest of the Croatia national team. I did not communicate with Rebić; there was no contact."

Croatia leads Group H with 13 points, the same as Russia. Slovakia is third with nine points, and Slovenia has seven. Malta and Cyprus follow with four points each.

"I think that 21 points will be enough, but we must decide for ourselves."

What does he think of the World Cup every two years?

"I don't think it's good, especially for the players, and the charm of playing the World Cup would be lost. We have to take care of the health of the footballers, and they play too many games this way."

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Ivan Perišić to Captain Croatia against Slovenia: Every Game at Poljud is Special

September 7, 2021 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić and Inter Milan midfielder Ivan Perišić spoke to the press ahead of Croatia's final September 2022 World Cup qualifier at Poljud on Tuesday. Ivan Perišić will captain Croatia against Slovenia. 

Croatia needs a victory at Poljud to increase points after consecutive visits to Russia and Slovakia.

"Certainly, there will be no Livaković in goal; we will not take any risks; Gvardiol is also questionable. I am not inclined to force what I am not sure of, as in the case of Modrić and Budimir. We will go with healthy and ready players. This, after all, was shown by this census at the beginning of the September cycle. Some players played a lot, Sosa, Juranović, Lovren… I'm a little scared to start a game with players who played a lot. We won’t change and invent much because we have nothing. I will say that Livaja will start the game, he has known this for several days, and I expect great things from him; he deserved it with his performances for Hajduk. In what position will he play? Everyone is there to play what is meant for them. Nobody plays a dominant position, even though the media constantly emphasize it," says Zlatko Dalić, who went on to discuss the importance of a victory and the demands of the third game in a week.

"We have to be favorites at our stadium, in front of our fans. Perhaps this will be the most difficult match for us because it is the third in just seven days against an aggressive and combative opponent who beat us in Slovenia. If we do not show the energy from Bratislava and Moscow, it will be difficult for us. However, I doubt that the audience will carry us in our motive, and I believe we will win the match. In which way, it doesn't matter; only the points are important."

Slovenia is no easy opponent. 

"Slovenia is not just Jan Oblak. Iličić rested; he is fresh and the biggest danger; he forms an attacking axis with Lovrić, and I expect Mlakar as well. Slovenia will play as much as we allow them and as we position ourselves on the field. We did not let Russia or Slovakia play with pressure; I am delighted with that game segment. We must react well to other opponents' balls again. Problems in the attack? We were a little futile going forward, but these aren’t games to die for in beauty. Points matter, not impressions. I said that I had no objections to what Croatia played, except for that final."

The team will once again be weakened with the absence of Luka Modrić.

"Luka will not be forever; we cannot keep repeating Luka, Luka, Luka. No one can replace him individually; we can only replace him as a team; we must understand that. He started training; he will be with us in October. We have to get rid of that rumor so that we can play without the captain, who we miss a lot."

There will be no lack of support at Poljud, and well-filled stands are expected.

"The support of the audience will be important to us. We remember Hungary and the fantastic atmosphere that reigned at Poljud during that match. It was an atmosphere that gave you chills. However, since I was the coach, where the point was that we played, it was beautiful for us, in Osijek, Rijeka, Zagreb… Regardless of what someone wants to do that is worthless, the Croatian people recognize the good. Therefore, I expect great support from the stands, and we will try to thank you with three points," concluded Dalić.

Ivan Perišić will lead Croatia as captain against Slovenia. Ivan is aware that the victory against Slovakia in Bratislava additionally raised the self-confidence of the national team.

"The atmosphere is great after the victory in Slovakia; it gave us extra energy. We did well in the matches against Russia and Slovakia, we did not concede a goal, and we can be satisfied with two of perhaps the most difficult away games. However, if we don't beat Slovenia, it won't mean much," said Perišić, who spoke about the hard September rhythm of these matches.

"The rhythm is tough; everything happened in a short time, it will be a little easier in October and November, but then we will already have two games a week with our clubs. Whoever survives will talk, ha, ha, ha… However, we have 25 players so that the coach can choose and distribute the forces. The skeleton of the team is there; the younger players already have a lot of serious games, they give us extra strength." 

Ivan spoke about the course of the match against Slovenia.

"We will start from the first minute to score; it will be easier if we open them at the start, as was the case against Hungary at Poljud. We definitely need to improve our attack, and we need more time for that. Poljud? Every game at Poljud is something special; it means a lot to me, family, friends, we can't wait for it to start."

Source: HNS

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Zlatko Dalić Ahead of Croatia's 2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Luka is Impossible to Replace

August 30, 2021 - September is nearly here, meaning Croatia's 2022 World Cup qualifiers are upon us. Coach Zlatko Dalić spoke to the press ahead of the first match against Russia on Wednesday. 

The Croatia national football team has arrived in Moscow, where the first of three September matches will take place. Croatia will face Russia on Wednesday to continue the 2022 World Cup in Qatar qualification cycle, reports HNS.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić fondly remembers the beautiful memories of Moscow and the historical silver but is aware of the fact that one cannot live from old glory in football. 

"Three years have passed since the World Cup in Russia, but that is now behind us. Of course, it is nice to come here and remember everything we experienced. Still, our new task is the qualifying match against Russia, and we are focused exclusively on that," says Zlatko Dalić, who once again explained the choice of players against Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

“I stand behind this list. I have chosen players who play in their clubs and are in shape. I wouldn’t talk about names and specifically explain why I didn’t call someone, but no one was written off or crossed out. If those who are not there now are in shape and play in their clubs, maybe they will be with us again. This is a team that I believe can get a good result in these three games. How many points will be enough for us for Qatar? According to some of my calculations, we will need 20 or 21 for the first place, which means that we have to catch another 14, 15 in the next seven games."

Before the September matches, Dalić was first left without the captain and best player, Luka Modrić, due to an adductor injury. Then the news followed that Ante Budimir would miss at least the first match.

"It is impossible to replace Luka, but that is why all other players have to take on a greater amount of responsibility, especially the more experienced ones. One player cannot replace Luka, but everyone else must take on more responsibilities. It will be difficult for us without Luka and his help, but we have to get used to it. Luka will not be with us forever; I believe we will replace him as a team because we cannot change him according to the chess - 'figure for figure.' The midfield line? We will see, there is Brozović, Modrić, Pašalić, and Vlašić, and we will look for solutions among them. Again, Ivanušec is in good shape; our midfield must not and will not be a problem. Of course, Luka is difficult to replace, but I'm not afraid; I believe in this team."

Several Croatia members are currently in the middle of club transfers, which can be a problem ahead of important matches.

"Yes, that is a problem, their heads are in transfers, they have a lot of inquiries and information, and it is difficult for them to concentrate, and that worries us. Fortunately, Vlašić has finished his, he is on his way from London to Moscow, but they all have to forget the transfers and turn to the match against Russia. So my meeting with the players today will be in that direction. I know that these are their careers and lives, but now we are only interested in Russia." 

When it comes to Russia, the team has undergone significant changes compared to the one that played the World Cup quarterfinals against Croatia.

"Russia plays differently than in 2018 or at this year's Euro, which is logical considering that they have a new coach. Before, they looked for Juba with long balls. Karpin cultivates a different style, looking for a passing play in a 4-3-3 formation. We prepared for that; I spoke a lot with Olić, Ćorluka, and Pletikosa. Russia will not surprise us. This match is crucial to them; they allowed 20,000 spectators to be in the stands, we have a hard job ahead of us, but I believe that we will respond with aggression, fighting spirit, and energy," concluded the Croatia coach. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

 

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Three Croatian Diaspora Footballers to Wear U21 Croatia Shirt

August 24, 2021 - Three Croatian diaspora footballers will join Igor Bišćan's U21 Croatia squad for the new qualification cycle. 

U21 Croatia coach Igor Bišćan has selected players for the new qualification cycle, which includes three footballers born and raised abroad - Luka Sučić, Josip Stanišić, and Marco Pašalić, announced HNS.

Red Bull Salzburg's offensive midfielder, Luka Sučić, already has 17 appearances for the young Croatia national team and was among the candidates for the U21 national team before the European Championship final, which he missed due to injury. Sučić played for the U15 Croatia national team for the first time in a friendly match against Austria, where he was born and raised.

"It is a special feeling to wear a jersey with red and white checks, and I am looking forward to continuing to represent Croatia," said Sučić, who is currently on the call-up list for the A national team coach with coach Zlatko Dalić.

Defender Josip Stanišić was born on April 2, 2000, in Munich, where he played for the first team of the Bavarian giants Bayern this season. He played for the German U19 national team in two friendly matches but chose to play for his parents' country:

"I am pleased to be invited to the U21 Croatia national team. I am honored to be able to wear the Croatia jersey," Stanišić said.

Borussia Dortmund striker Marco Pašalić also attracted the attention of the Croatian public this summer. Pašalić was born on September 14, 2000, in Karlsruhe, and so far, he has played in two friendly matches for the U17 Croatia national team.

"I can't describe how proud I am to play for the Croatia national team because I was raised from a young age that Croatia is my homeland. I am looking forward to the first gathering with the young national team, and it is up to all of us to prove ourselves with good games and dedicated work, first for coach Bišćan, and then potentially for coach Dalić," said Pašalić.

The talented trio from the diaspora confirms the quality work of the Croatian Football Federation, said the president of the HNS, Marijan Kustić:

"We are aware that there is great potential in the diaspora, and young men like Sučić, Stanišić, and Pašalić show with their decisions to play for Croatia how strong the commitment of our families abroad is to the Croatia national team. Furthermore, by bringing Stipe Pletikosa as the technical director of the A and U21 national teams, we wanted to strengthen this segment of operations further because we are a small country, and we must successfully find every talent in Croatia or abroad."

The newly appointed technical director of the A and U21 national team, Stipe Pletikosa, has already held talks with Sučić and Stanišić, and this week he will also meet with Pašalić:

"I am extremely pleased that Sučić, Stanišić, and Pašalić have chosen to represent Croatia. We have a responsibility to develop our scout network further and nurture quality communication with guys who are potential for Croatia national teams, and organize as many activities as we can see them up close, such as the Memorial of Croatian Veterans in Vukovar. "

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Page 1 of 15

Search