Friday, 16 December 2022

Dalić and Kovačić ahead of Morocco: "We Want to Win World Cup Bronze and Repeat 1998"

December 16, 2022 - Zlatko Dalić and Mateo Kovačić held Croatia's final pre-match day press conference at the Main Media Center in Qatar on Friday. Croatia and Morocco will fight for the World Cup bronze medal on Saturday at 6 pm local time. 

After Croatia lost to Argentina on Tuesday and Morocco lost to France on Wednesday, the two teams dropped out of the fight for the 2022 World Cup title. They will play the 3rd place play-off on Saturday at Khalifa International Stadium. 

Zlatko Dalić and Mateo Kovačić addressed the press at the Main Media Center for the last time. 

Will Modrić play in Euro 2024?

"I hope that he will. How he lives for football and how he feels at 37, I think he will play for Croatia then, too," said Dalić. 

About the World Cup bronze medal match against Morocco 

"This is a big final for us. The fight for the medal. We have the most respect for Morocco, who had an incredible World Cup. I think they think the same as us and will play with the best they have like us. This is the game for third place in the world. This is a big final for two small nations," Dalić. 

"Of course, we were sad after the semi-final. We wanted to be in the final, but it didn't work out that way. But our focus is on the game tomorrow. It's a big game, and we want to bring home the bronze medal," said Kovačić.

How does this compare to the 'Bronze Generation' in 1998?

"1998 was the first medal for our country from our football team. This was the beginning of our success. This is slightly different as we have now won the silver medal, but we want to be 3rd after being 2nd in the world. Every medal for us is a big thing. We are a small country," said Dalić. 

"We all remember 1998. We all hoped that one day we would achieve the same thing. To have a chance to win a medal for the second time in 4 years is a huge thing. We will give everything we can to achieve that," said Kovačić. 

Are all players ready?

"This is our 7th game in a month; we played extra time twice. We have some injuries - Juranović, Brozović, and Gvardiol. We will see how the rest of the day goes. We only want to play the players that are 100% ready. We don't want to play players that have problems. It will be challenging for the players who can't play, but we need to do what is best for the team," said Dalić. 

"We want to return home with the bronze medal. We have a big welcome reception waiting for us. We can't wait to come home," said Kovačić. 

"Morocco reminds me of us four years ago. Tomorrow will be much tougher than the first game. We have so much respect for them and are blown away by what they have achieved here," said Dalić. "When you look at the teams they have eliminated and beaten, it is amazing."

"We have no idea what our team will be or do in four years. So we are only focusing on that bronze medal tomorrow," said Kovačić.  

And Croatia's future?

"Croatia has a very bright future. We needed some players from this current generation to stay with us to help the younger players transition into the national team," said Dalić. 

"The older players have shown just how much Croatia means to us and how much longer we want to keep playing for Croatia," said Kovačić. 

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Dalić and Modrić ahead of World Cup Quarter-final against Brazil: "We Want More"

December 8, 2022 - Croatia and Brazil will meet in the 2022 World Cup quarter-final on Friday at Education City Stadium. Kick-off is at 6 pm local tie or 4 pm Croatia time.

The Croatia national football team will face the biggest test at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Friday - the quarter-final match against Brazil.

Brazil is the favorite to win the World Cup, which would be their sixth title in history and first in the last 20 years. They played brilliantly in their last-16 tie against South Korea, winning 4-1, while Croatia struggled against Japan, advancing only after penalties. 

At the last press conference before the match, coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić expressed their thoughts.

"I think we did a very big thing by reaching the quarter-final, but regardless, I want more. We know that perhaps the biggest game of the tournament awaits us against one of the biggest favorites. They are always the favorites, but at this World Cup they are rightfully so. We have to be real, give our best, and play our best game and then we have a chance. If we just settle for being there, then it will be difficult, but we believe in our strength, and that is how we will position ourselves on the pitch tomorrow," said Modrić.

Are all the players ready, and will there be any changes?

"There was not much time for preparation, and today we will train and prepare. Sosa trained, we won't make many changes. Placing among the eight with an almost new national team is a great success. But we will play fair, try to fight for something better," said Dalić.

Can Luka's knowledge of Casemiro and Vinicius help Croatia?

"Vini is a great guy, we have a great relationship, he is in incredible shape, and since he came to Real, he has improved greatly. Tomorrow we have a difficult task to stop him. I will surely help my teammates with details on how to neutralize him more easily. Everyone is fighting for himself and their country." 

Which of Croatia's past matches will the game against Brazil be most similar to?

"This will be the most demanding match for us. Maybe we would compare it to the final in Moscow against France if we were to compare. Out of 11 games at two World Cups, we did well in ten and only lost to France. Croatia is the only smaller country that, after success at one World Cup, repeated it at another, maybe the only one in history that immediately after the final made it to the top eight at the next World Cup," says Dalić.

"I agree with the coach, the final against France is similar to tomorrow's match, that's the ranking," Modrić continued.

What does Dalić think about Brazil's dancing after scoring?

"That makes them happy; they have their nature and character, and they have the right to that. It is their nation, and it looks beautiful."

Does Dalić think that this is a stronger Croatia team than from 2018?

"This is a new national team with 18 new players who did not play then, and it cannot be compared. That generation played together for ten years; those players played in the world's biggest clubs. This team is different, we need time, but they are lucky to have the remaining six from Russia with whom they can grow. These guys still have many games to prove themselves, but they have potential and quality."

What is the key to tomorrow?

"We played against Brazil several times and haven't beaten them yet, but I hope this tradition will change. Brazil has phenomenal players in all positions, so we will have to be very aggressive, run at the right level, not let them play; that will be very important," says Modrić.

Did Modrić watch Brazil's loss to Cameroon?

"I didn't have the chance to watch the match between Brazil and Cameroon, but Brazil did not play with the strongest team in that match. Of course, this is not a benchmark, but it certainly indicates that they can be defeated."

Does Croatia expect another extra time finish on Friday?

"If it comes to that, that last match with Japan gave us great confidence. Each match is for itself, we will see what will happen, but we are ready for anything."

How would Dalić compare Croatia's game against Argentina in 2018 and against Brazil tomorrow?

"Maybe they are similar games, but then we had Argentina in the group stage, and this is the knockout round. Of course, we will apply a similar recipe to narrow down the space for Neymar, but I think he has better support from his teammates than Messi did four years ago."

Do they consider Brazil a big favorite in tomorrow's game?

"They always favor big teams, but we have shown many times that the favorites don't always win. We appreciate every national team and their qualities, but we also appreciate ourselves," Modrić replied.

Did Croatia learn from Serbia's defeat to Brazil?

"We watched that match. Serbia played great for an hour, but they got nervous when some situations started. Until Brazil scored, the game was almost even. Brazil played after the goal, and Serbia could not follow that rhythm and fell. We must not do that; we must be disciplined and return to our formation. Serbia played well until they conceded a goal, said Dalić.

Will Modrić continue playing for Croatia?

"I can repeat that I don't think about the future. We'll see how long I'll be around. I am concentrating on this World Cup; there will be time to consider the future. I don't have a tactic for rejuvenation like there was for growth. If you have it, let me know," Luka jokingly replied to the journalist.

What can we expect from Croatia tomorrow?

"We play the way we play; sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so good. But we always do our best. We will see what Croatia will be like tomorrow. We are ready, we will give our best, and I believe we can do a great thing," says Modrić.

Journalists also asked Luka to comment on the strength of Brazil and Argentina.

"These are giants of world football, two world teams with many great players. I enjoy watching them; playing against such teams is a pleasure. Playing against them is a holiday for football and something everyone wants, especially in big competitions like the World Cup."

Brazil is dangerous from all sides.

"Brazil is the best team at this World Cup, faster, more energetic, and more diverse than others, and they can come from all sides. They use all the templates; you don't know where the danger comes from. We have no chance if we give them too much space and time. We want to try to get the ball. We must position ourselves well, not fall out of the system and block, and constantly play as a team. It is important not to give them space because it is difficult when they receive the ball."

Why did Dalić replace Modrić so early in the match against Japan?

"It wasn't early; it was the 100th minute. We talked, me and Luka always agreed; I didn't decide on my own. We ran a lot, I had to refresh the team, and I had to make substitutions. We passed, and it turned out well. Luka will always play as long as he can. That's why Luka will be more rested tomorrow than if he had played 120 minutes," Dalić believes.

Tomorrow Modrić is playing against many Real Madrid teammates.

"I am looking forward to playing against former and current teammates. Of course, we will be friends before and after the game, but everyone is fighting for their country and for themselves on the field."

How will coach Dalić motivate the players?

"You don't need a bigger motive than the World Cup quarter-final against Brazil. I'm sure these guys dreamed of such matches. We don't have much to lose; we must fight back as best we can. We have already achieved great success but want more, although we would prefer to play them in the final."

Does Modrić miss Rakitić in the midfield?

"Unfortunately, Ivan is not with us, but Mateo is here, who replaced him very well. So we are good again, maybe not as in Russia, but we have an excellent team."

How is Croatia so successful in sports with less than four million inhabitants?

"Croatia is very talented; we have talents in all sports, not only in football. I don't have a particular explanation. We love sports; talents are born, and good work is done in football schools, where a lot of work is done with children. We are a talented nation; it's hard for me to say why that is," concluded captain Modrić. 

Source: HRT

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

Friday, 2 December 2022

Croatia into World Cup Last 16: Zlatko Dalić Comments on Japan, Joško Gvardiol, and VAR

December 2, 2022 - Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić addressed the press the morning after Croatia secured their World Cup round of 16 spot. Croatia will play Japan on Monday, and Dalić gave his first impressions. 

The Croatia national team will play in the 2022 World Cup round of 16 against Japan, the winner of Group E. Second-placed Croatia will thus face a rather unexpected opponent for a spot in the quarter-final. Coach Zlatko Dalić spoke to the press in Qatar the morning after Groups E and F were completed. 

Recall Croatia and Morocco drew 0-0 in the opening match, after which Croatia beat Canada 4-1 and finished 0-0 against Belgium, enough to win second place in Group F. Croatia thus crosses over with the winner of Group E, Japan, which lost to Costa Rica 0-1, and beat Germany and Spain 2-1.

Have you had time to analyze the match against Belgium one more time?

"I looked at it last night in peace, I got the statistics, and the impression is better than yesterday. Great match by Croatia, great 98 minutes. Control, defense, pressing - everything was at the highest level. Full control. We had two or three situations that could have been fatal, but they came from our mistakes, not Belgium's game.

The complete story was great. There were so many good things. According to statistics, we ran 122 kilometers and did not fail in that segment. Everything we did was very, very good. The impression after the recording is better than after the game."

What awaits Croatia against Japan?

"Tough game for both teams. Spain took the lead and thought it was over, but Japan never wavers and never gives up. Japan deserved to win because they were compact and fast. Germany was eliminated, and Belgium and Denmark, which speaks of the quality of the other national teams. Maybe earlier, we would have chosen Japan as the best option, but they beat Germany and Spain, and Japan is anything but an easy opponent."

How is Croatia doing physically?
"We work very well all the time; training is at a high level. We didn't fail the physical fitness part, and I'm not afraid of that. We have to rest for two days and prepare for Japan, but we are full of energy and motivation. We want to avoid injury. We can't rest the whole team, but it's not necessary either."

How would you rate Japan as a team, and what will be critical for that game?
"If someone finishes first in the group ahead of Spain and Germany, they are good and quality. Japan showed that they do not give up. They came back after losing and have great quality. We must be disciplined and patient and not make mistakes at the beginning of the game. Japan punishes it with counterattacks. We have to have a good comeback."

How does it feel to be statistically one of the best coaches at the World Cup?
"I will look at it from the aspect of Croatian football and the national team. We have continuity; we are always at the top. Along with Germany and France, we are the only ones with medals in the last 20 years. We are a small country; we must be happy and proud. It's not my success, but it's the success of all of us. I hope this is not the end and that Croatia will do better and bigger things.

We have become a team that deserves the respect I'm talking about, not that we play at 1 pm as World Cup finalists. We deserved it with the results. However this ends, it is a fact."

What is the next goal?
"Appetites have not increased. We must be calm and modest and look for what is most important. It's the next game. We must not think that we have done great things. We did what we were preparing for, and we are moving on. When we were first in the group with nine points in Russia in 2018, we went to Denmark. I said then that we would have been losers if we had lost that game. No one would remember the group.

It is the same now. We will not go with big announcements. We will try to win the next game and take the next step. We must be firmly on the ground. We know that Japan has a lot of players in Europe, or eight of them in the Bundesliga. They also have players at Celtic, good players in the championship. The Japan coach knows European football. Japan will be a worthy rival to Croatia.

I'm not surprised that Japan is in the round of 16. They deserved it with their games and quality, and I congratulate them on that."

Dalić commented on the photo of Joško Gvardiol in his mother's arms.

"It warmed my heart when I saw it. That's why he's the best stopper in the world; you can't be complete if you don't have those feelings. That picture is the picture of the Croatia national team. I congratulate his mother for raising such a son."

And what about that VAR call in last night's match?
"I don't usually comment on the reffing, but I was angry. It's a centimeter; it takes away the emotion. Because of this, Croatia lost the World Cup title. It hurts. If this were the interpretation, that hand in Russia would not be a penalty."

Source: Index.hr

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

Monday, 28 November 2022

Zlatko Dalić after World Cup Win: Canada is a Small Step, Croatia Must Confirm it Against Belgium

November 28, 2022 - Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić addressed the press after Croatia's crucial World Cup win against Canada on Sunday night at Khalifa International Stadium. 

Zlatko Dalić opened the conference by saying he was surprised by Belgium in their first two World  Cup matches. Belgium beat Canada 1-0 and lost to Morocco 0-2. Croatia will play their last Group F match against Belgium. A draw is good enough for Croatia to advance into the last 16.

"In the first game against Canada, Belgium had a bad start, but they managed to win. Big national teams win games even when they don't play well. Against Morocco, they had several opportunities, and when they went for it all or nothing, they conceded the second goal. However, they are not happy with their performance, and I expect a much better Belgium against us," he said. 

Dalić was asked if he was under stress ahead of Canada. 

"Every game is stressful for me. It's like that; that's us. I have no problem with that. We played well against Canada, but it's a small step; if we don't confirm it with Belgium, we haven't done anything," he added. 

"We can't get carried away with the match, we had a little fun, but now the preparation for Belgium begins. We have quality, I believe we can, and we will look for it. The data that we ran 120 kilometers is great; we outran and outplayed Canada. A very good match. We haven't been this good in all segments of the game for a long time."

He also spoke about Andrej Kramarić and his position in the team.

"Media are creating that drama around him. Instead of asking about his scoring, you ask what his position is. Got some better questions? The two of us resolved everything two years ago. He will play what he is told; he understands that and made up his mind. So be silent, work, and it'll come back to him."

The midfield played together for several years, culminating in the silver medal in Russia.

"It is difficult to replace Rakitić, but we need Kovačić as he was yesterday. With his vertical conquest of the pitch. When the team struggled yesterday, he kept the game's rhythm. In preparations, we said that the most important thing is to break through the first block; if we break through that, everything opens up. The team was fantastic, but Andrej and Mateo might have been a shade better."

The coach spoke about whether he knew the squad for Belgium.

"We will see the situation with the players today at training. I think everyone who entered justified their role. We planned to start with Marko Livaja, so later, Bruno entered the game. We were thinking about whether it would be Budimir or Petković. We ran enough, and the solution was to put a player to guard the ball. He replaced Marko, and I think that was good. I am happy we have guys on the bench who can come in and continue in the same rhythm."

A Belgian journalist asked Dalić to explain why it was difficult for Croatia to play against Belgium in the last ten years.

"For the last ten years, Belgium has been at a high level. For five years, they were first in the FIFA ranking. They played great, won bronze at the World Cup, and were always in the finals. That's why it was difficult to beat them because they are a great team."

Canadian coach John Herdman did not congratulate Zlatko Dalić after the game.

"I experienced that twice in my career. When we beat Argentina and now. I don't remember leaving the pitch in my career without congratulating whoever beat me. I think it's basic culture, but I won't get into that. As far as I have seen and filmed, the gentleman is a good coach, promising, and has ambition, but he is young and will learn the latter."

Belgium is a crucial match. The most important thing is that Croatia rests well in the next two days.

"To repeat the approach, the same desire, and energy. We still have good reserves. Ivan Perišić was very dangerous, and he set up two goals. A slightly different role than against Morocco. He played more forward, like Kramarić. It is very important against Belgium that our midfield is at a high level. It is important not to make these small mistakes because the opponent will punish them. We mustn't have black holes like in the first 10 minutes against Canada."

When asked who he would like in the round of 16, Spain, Germany, or Japan, Dalić concluded:

"Japan."

Source HRT

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

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

"We're Ready": Zlatko Dalić Satisfied ahead of Croatia's First World Cup Match

November 22, 2022 -  Croatia meets Morocco in their first match of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday. Coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić addressed the press one day before the big game. 

Croatia's first 2022 World Cup match is on Wednesday against Morocco at Al Bayt Stadium. The teams meet at 13:00 local time. 

"There is no easy opponent here. We appreciate and respect Morocco, and we expect a tough match," said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić ahead of the team's first World Cup match.

"We followed Saudi Arabia's win and Tunisia's draw. Everyone plays well, and surprises are possible. Therefore, we will enter with maximum respect," added Dalić. 

Croatia had only a week of preparations, but Dalić is satisfied with what was done.

"We used this time to get used to the conditions that awaited us. I am very satisfied. We are ready," Dalić said, revealing how he decided on the starting lineup. 

"We chose the highest quality in terms of energy and experience. We don't have any doubts anymore; the guys know the lineup. We have experience and energy, and we have a good mix. A challenging match awaits us. I believe we made the right choice," he said. "Livaja has also recovered and has no problems."

Dalić also spoke about Morocco's quality. 

"We analyzed them. They are a great team. They are well organized. They have great individuals in all positions. I don't want to comment on their decision to change the coach. Halilhodžić is an excellent coach, but that is their business."

According to the latest announcements, Morocco could play with a home atmosphere.

"I know that they will be particularly motivated and that they will have a lot of fans. We are careful and full of respect. We have to be at the maximum level."

Croatia arrived in Doha as the 2018 World Cup finalists and has a series of excellent results behind them. Dalić agreed that Croatia's rivals certainly look at them differently.

"We've had a lot of opponents, and they look at us better than before Russia. We are worthy; we are aware of it. However, we must be realistic and objective. The pressure is high, and the expectations are high. We will not fall into such a trap, and we will go one game at a time. I believe in this team."

Dalić pointed out that Croatia is one of the few in the world who has won two World Cup medals in the last 20 years.

"In the last 20 years, we have won two medals. And there should be commotion around us, but we are preparing in peace. Of course, the first game is important, a good start is important, but it is not crucial," said Dalić.

Modrić also commented on retiring from the national team.

"I haven't made a decision yet. I don't want it to be a topic at the World Cup. I'm here to enjoy and play a good tournament. We'll see how far we can go. We have faith in our abilities. If we play like before, we can do a lot. Tomorrow we have a tough match. I believe we can play well and hope for a favorable result", said Modrić.

Source: HRT and HNS

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

Monday, 31 October 2022

Zlatko Dalić Announces Wider 2022 World Cup Croatia Player List

October 31, 2022 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić announced a wider list of players for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

On Wednesday, November 9, Dalić will announce the final list of candidates for the World Cup, which includes between 23 and 26 players. The Croatian Football Federation must submit the definitive list of players to FIFA on November 14. After that, it is possible to change players up to 24 hours before the first match in case of injury, reports HNS.

There are 34 names on Dalić's wider list of candidates, one less than expected after Lovre Kalinić was injured in the match between Lokomotiva and Hajduk on Sunday. Today's MRI showed that Kalinić would not go to Qatar. 

"We are extremely sorry about Lovre, and we wish him a speedy and high-quality recovery. However, this unfortunate event confirms that, at this moment, the most important thing is the players' health. Therefore, we can only wish we have no more news related to injuries until we get together," said coach Dalić.

"There are 34 players on this extended list, so we have enough options in case of unforeseen situations. I am happy that most players are in good shape and that most have good playing time. I believe that everyone will make the most of the next two weeks to be in optimal condition for the gathering that we are all extremely looking forward to," said Dalić.

The Croatia national team will gather on November 13 and 14 in Zagreb before traveling to Riyadh on November 14 for a friendly match against Saudi Arabia scheduled for November 16. Two days later, the national team travels to its base camp in Qatar, where the FIFA World Cup begins on November 20. The 2018 World Cup finalists start their journey on November 23 against Morocco, followed by Canada (November 27) and Belgium (December 1).

Player list

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković, Ivica Ivušić, Ivo Grbić, Dominik Kotarski, Nediljko Labrović

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barišić, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Josip Juranović, Joško Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanišić, Marin Pongračić, Martin Erlić, Josip Šutalo

Midfielders: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Mario Pašalić, Nikola Vlašić, Luka Ivanušec, Lovro Majer, Kristijan Jakić, Luka Sučić, Josip Mišić

Strikers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Josip Brekalo, Bruno Petković, Mislav Oršić, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja, Antonio Mirko Čolak

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

Monday, 5 September 2022

Croatia Team Announced for Denmark and Austria Nations League Matches

September 5, 2022 - Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić has announced the list of players for the September Denmark and Austria Nations League matches.

After four rounds, Croatia holds second place in the group with seven points, and with two wins, they would secure first place and thus a place in the Nations League final tournament. Croatia can reach the "Final Four" in other ways, and it needs a point to avoid the last place that leads to League B, reports HNS

Croatia will host Denmark at Maksimir on September 22 at 8:45 pm and play against Austria three days later at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna (8:45 pm). Tickets for both matches can be found HERE.

The 2018 World Cup finalists will gather on September 19 in Zagreb, and coach Dalić has invited 25 players with seven potential call-ups. 

"We still have two weeks until we reunite, and during that period, we will intensively monitor the reserve players and see who else we could call up. Also, in agreement with the U-21 national team coach, Igor Bišćan, we will consider whether any of the players invited here join the young national team for the crucial match against Denmark," said coach Dalić.

"As is usual at the start of the season, we have certain challenges - some have injury problems, some players have changed clubs, and some have changed status within the team. Clearly, this list largely reflects our thoughts ahead of the World Cup, but we have more than two months until then and, of course, the fight for certain positions is still open," said the coach.

"We did a great job with victories in Denmark and France; these were performances that boost confidence and confirm the high potential and quality of our national team. With these results, we put ourselves in a position to secure the final tournament, which would be an outstanding result in such a competition, but we know that it will not be easy. We saw at home against Austria what it means if we are not at one hundred percent from the first minute - the only way is maximum togetherness and compactness. We're going step by step, we value both opponents, but we believe in ourselves, and of course, we're going for two victories," coach Dalić is optimistic.

"First of all, given the calendar this year, we must see these matches as preparation for the World Cup. Therefore, we want to see a compact, competitive, and ready Croatia, and at the same time gain knowledge about what we still need to improve before Qatar," concluded Dalić.

Croatia squad

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković, Lovre Kalinić, Ivica Ivušić

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barišić, Josip Juranović, Joško Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanišić, Martin Erlić, Josip Šutalo

Midfielders: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Mario Pašalić, Nikola Vlašić, Lovro Majer, Luka Sučić

Strikers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Bruno Petković, Mislav Oršić, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja

Reserves: Josip Brekalo, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Luka Ivanušec, Marin Pongračić, Kristijan Jakić, Antonio Mirko Čolak, Nediljko Labrović

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

Saturday, 11 June 2022

A New Era: Coach Zlatko Dalić Praises Young Croatia National Team Players

Junee 11, 2022 - Coach Zlatko Dalić praises the young Croatia national team players including Erlić and Šutalo in Croatia's 1:0 win against Denmark last night. 

The Croatia national football team defeated Denmark 1:0 in Copenhagen in the Nations League third round on Friday night. Mario Pašalić scored for Croatia in the 69th minute.

After the victory in Denmark, coach Zlatko Dalić congratulated his players and thanked the fans:

"Congratulations to the boys on a great game, especially the second half when we turned the game around. We have shown high quality. This is what Croatia can do and needs to do. There is one more game left against France. Thanks to the fans who cheered us on the whole time," Dalić told Nova TV after the match. 

The coach commented on Marcelo Brozović:

"Brozović can play and it is not a problem for him to play. If he says he has energy, which he does, he doesn’t need to be changed. He is a great winner and a great player for the Croatia national team. With Modrić, Kovačić, and Brozović in the midfield, everything was different."

About Erlić and Šutalo:

"All praise to those young guys who took the opportunity, imposed themselves, and played with a lot of confidence. Stanišić also played a great game, at the top level. All three brought another headache, but a positive one," the coach said.

Šime Vrsaljko is in the picture again:

"Šime was absent for a long time, he played well and we do not want to spend him. We also need him to return as high quality as possible. The advantage is in the togetherness and encouragement of the team. I’m glad he came back after a year. I can only praise the guys. After Osijek, great against France, even better today. France is one of the best teams in the world if not the best. It's a bit of a problem that we only have these three days. We need to rest and recuperate. With this kind of energy and togetherness, we can do a lot," added coach Dalić.

Goal scorer Mario Pašalić also commented on the match:

"Everything was easier when Modrić and Kovačić entered the game in the second half," said Pašalić. Pašalić has been excellent in the attack for Italian first league club Atalanta and reacted in the same way in the 69th minute. He found himself in the right place and skillfully secured Croatia's first victory in this season's Nations League.

"I have that feeling to shoot and find myself in the right spot. Luckily the ball came to me and we won. But, everything is much easier when Modrić, Kovačić, and Brozović play. In the second half, we really took over," said Pašalić after the game.

He also talked about the difficult moments the team went through in the first 45 minutes:

"The first half was extremely difficult. We struggled with everything. We couldn’t come out with the ball, we didn’t have possession and we couldn’t keep the ball for long. But everything changed in the second half. We gained possession, and then we started creating opportunities as well. In the end, we came to a goal. Of course, when Modrić and Kovačić came in, that change took place, the two of them are the best midfielders in the world and they look great in the middle together with Brozović. When they come into play you get some security."

The next opponent is France, who drew against Austria and is the only team in the group without a win after three rounds.

"Who would say that France would not win after three rounds. We're all here for points. It will be interesting until the end," said Pašalić.

Source: HRT

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Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Zlatko Dalić's Father Passes Away in Livno, Croatia Led by Coaching Staff

June 1, 2022 - Zlatko Dalić's father Ivan Dalić has passed away in Livno. The Croatia team will be led by the coaching staff until Dalić's return. Croatia and Austria face off in Osijek on Friday, June 3. 

Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić has traveled to Livno after the death of his father Ivan Dalić, reports HNS.

"We received this news with great sadness about Zlatko's father's passing. We express our deepest condolences to Zlatko and his family and tell him that the entire Croatian football family is standing by him in this difficult time.

We want him to find a little consolation in the fact that his father left extremely proud of everything that Zlatko has achieved in life, what kind of man he became and what kind of family he built. May Ivan rest in the peace," said the president of HNS, Marijan Kustić, calling on the media and the public to respect the privacy of coach Dalić at this time.

Kustić will lead the delegation of the Federation at the last farewell in Livno, and until the coach returns to the Croatia camp, the national team will be led by Dalić's professional coaching staff.

According to Sportske Novosti, Dalić plans to return to lead the national team in Osijek against Austria on Friday.

Dalić often visited his hometown in Livno and his parents' house as both Dalić's father Ivan and mother Kata had been ill for a long time. Ivan was hospitalized even before the 2018 World Cup in Russia when he experienced his son's greatest success.

"Son, be firm and your own, and stay as long as possible in Russia," he told him four years ago. Zlatko has never hidden his immense devotion to his father and family, so this is a tremendous loss for him.

It is an incredible coincidence that France coach Didier Deschamps also lost his father Pierre on the first day of the Nations League preparations for the France national team. 

Dalić and Deschamps will face each other at Poljud in Split as Croatia and France meet in the Nations League on June 6 at 20:45. 

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

Monday, 30 May 2022

Croatia Nations League Gathering: Perišić Out, Musa and Livaja Questionable

May 30, 2022 - The Croatia Nations League gathering is held today before the Vatreni plays their first match against Austria in Osijek on June 3. 

Croatia national football team coach Zlatko Dalić has announced the first Nations League match against Austria, which will be played on June 3 in Osijek, reports Gol.hr and Index.hr.

It will be great preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which awaits us at the end of this year. After Austria at City Garden Stadium, Croatia will go to Poljud against France, which should come with its biggest stars.

Four days later, on June 10, Croatia will play against Denmark away, and on June 13, Croatia will head to Paris to meet France in the return match.

It is already known that Ivan Perišić will not compete in this June Nations League campaign due to injury. Still, two other players are in question - Petar Musa and Marko Livaja.

"Unfortunately, Perišić dropped out. He may have been in the best shape of all the players, but now the most important thing is recovering and being ready for the World Cup. Petar Musa, who is ill, will probably drop out, but Marko Livaja is also sick. That is why we invited Luka Ivanušec. I am incredibly sorry for Musa, who was supposed to be with us for the first time today.

Many have had good seasons, but it's six months until the World Cup. Our quality is unquestionable because we have the backbone of the older players. The younger ones are also coming. For Musa, this was supposed to be a good test. I hope that during the summer, those who have problems in their clubs will solve them to be even better. I don’t have any bad insights about last year. A lot of good things have been done."

Dalić says he wants to test all the players in four Nations League matches but that the result is very much the priority.

"We want to be good, competitive. Try all the players we invited, but the result is important. It will be a problem that the boys have been on vacation for seven or eight days, but everyone is like that. We will play in our system 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1. We are going for the victory in every match," said Dalić.

And what about Modrić?

"Luka Modrić is coming tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. After everything he has done, he will compete in Osijek and Paris, i.e., all four matches. We need him to be in good health. We will see how much and how he will play in Osijek. After training, we'll see whether we need to call anyone else."

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