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Croatia gathers in Zagreb ahead of Spain clash, Dalić talks injuries and more

Dalić (HNS)

Croatian football coach Zlatko Dalić has held a presser on Monday ahead of UEFA Nations League clashes against Spain and England this week. 

Players arrived in Zagreb on Monday to prepare first for Spain on Thursday at Maksimir stadium and England at Wembley on Sunday. Dalić spoke to the press on Monday about a range of topics. 

Spain & England

“Two tough, attractive matches await us, and I am especially excited about the first match against Spain because we will finally play in front of our fans against in a competitive match. Let us keep this summer’s unity. I am expecting a full stadium, good play and three points so that at Wembley it will be decided who wins the group and will be seeded for the EURO 2020 draw.”

Injuries

“We will see today what the state is. We need new energy, new strength and we are counting on a lot of young players. Brekalo and Vlašić showed good form for their clubs and deserve to be with us and we will see if they will get a chance to play. Unfortunately, Pivarić is out injured, as is Barišić, Sosa, Strinić and Leovac and there will be problems at left back. I am not sure who will fill that gap. I am thinking about Jedvaj and Mitrović. I don’t want to use Vida there as he works so well with Lovren in the centre and it would do us more damage than good putting him there. I hope Vrsaljko will be fit. Lovre Kalinić is back and Livaković is in great form.”

Mandžukić, Subašić and Ćorluka

“These three are part of our family and now is an opportunity that we are together again. The moments from Russia we cannot forget and I want to remember those great memories and times again. HNS has invited (Mandžukić, Subašić and Ćorluka) and they will be given recognition at the Spain match in Zagreb.”

Mario Mandžukić (HNS)

The difference compared to Elche 

“I think we are healthier and in better in shape than we were in Elche (when Spain won 6-0) and I expect a better performance. We have to look for revenge, but not through vengeance. Spain has lost to England in the meantime and needs a point or a win, and everything is in our hands so we have to take the initiative and control possession of the ball, but we need to be careful considering the Spanish speed.”

Luka Modrić’s form 

“Luka is aware that there is always oscillation in football, and especially it is not easy for him to stay in shape after the year he has had. I never doubt him and I know he will the real leader of our national team. We rely on everyone, especially him – he is the best player in the world.”

Luka Modrić (HNS)

European coach of the year 

“Every award is important and beautiful, and I am particularly pleased to receive a reward from the profession of European coaches, but this is an award for the entire Croatian football, based on success in Russia, and thanks to all who helped me. “

Fiery heart 

“It will be a nice tomorrow to help the praiseworthy initiative to help the Zagreb Children’s Hospital and the Korak u život association. We need to help as much as we can and hopefully, there will be a good response and funds raised. The Croatian national football team must be the first to help.”

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