Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic gave his players a free day on Friday after they secured a spot in the last 16 at the World Cup in Russia with an emphatic 3-0 over Argentina in Nizhny Novgorod last night.
The squad arrived back at their Woodland Rhapsody resort complex base just outside of St. Petersburg in the early hours of Friday. Dalic held a press conference later in the day and talked about his plans ahead of the last group match against Iceland on Tuesday.
With Nigeria beating Iceland 2-0 this afternoon, only a Nigeria thumping of Argentina and a loss to Iceland will prevent Croatia from winning Group D.
“We are happy and satisfied after the win (against Argentina). We have achieved the most important goal. I expected to go through the group stages, but not in such an impressive manner. I hope we continue in that style,” Dalic opened up by saying, adding that there will be no calculations going into the final match.
“We want to be first in the group. Against Iceland, we will worry about the last 16. We have a few players who are on yellow cards and there will be changes to the side.”
Dalic touched on the fact that in the five official matches he had led Croatia in since taking the job, his team has scored 11 goals and conceded just one.
“We changed the style of play and there is no talk of us not being effective. We have to raise the level and be even better. There is room to improve,” he said.
Dalic will not risk the players on yellow cards and says he has a squad of 22 players in Russia who can all do the job. Those who face suspension with one more card in group play and will miss Iceland are Mario Mandzukic, Ante Rebic, Ivan Rakitic and Sime Vrsaljko. Marcelo Brozovic is already suspended after picking up two yellow cards already, Sportske Novosti reports.
The squad will train over the next few days to work out formations, but it looks likely that there could be starting births for Mateo Kovacic and Andrej Kramaric.
Croatia and Iceland meet on Tuesday 26 June at 8 pm CET.