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Dalić replies to Canada coach comment and talks about problems in opening match

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic Euro 2020

Zlatko Dalić (Photo credit: Кирилл Венедиктов/Soccer.ru/Creative Commons)

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić has spoken to the press the morning after his side’s 0-0 draw in their opening match at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

– I am not satisfied and overjoyed with the point we got, neither is the team, we are a little disappointed because we want more. It’s good that as a team we are not happy when we get a draw. However, when we look at the whole situation, we played against an opponent who was good, organised, and dangerous in transition. We did the defensive part well, but not offensively, if we had scored a goal it would have been better. We lacked more deep balls and going into empty space. We have to do better – Dalić said when asked what his impressions were after a night’s sleep, Sportske novosti reported.

Croatia now faces Canada next.

– Canada was the better side against Belgium and should have won the game. They are attacking oriented, play high pressing, they missed a penalty, and conceded a goal from a counterattack. They showed much more than in the last matches, we will have to play much better than against Morocco. It is their right to be ambitious, to hope, and ours to prepare and try to win because that is our goal. They are young, energetic and very motivated because this is their first World Cup.

Canada football coach John Herdman told TSN after Canada’s loss to Belgium that “we’re gonna go and F…Croatia next. It’s as simple as that. That’s our next mission now.”

– I saw it (that comment), each of us has our own way of communication, he expressed himself like that, I don’t know how nice that is. I will not look back on it, we have to show on the field that we are a better team.

We have to and we will certainly talk about it. It can only motivate us. We must not accept any negativity, we are worthy when we play and it is crucial that we focus on our football.

The defence did a good job, but in terms of opening the game, they did not participate as in the Nations League, which is why the midfielders had to go back and build the game from there.

– It is true that we did the defensive part well, we didn’t give Morocco any good chances, but we were too slow in the opening and had too few deep balls. Is that the reason that Morocco did well? There was a problem with the flow of the ball, that’s why Modrić and Kovačić went back more, and it was clear that Brozović had no matches under his belt, I’ve rarely seen him have so many problems, but En Nesyri blocked him well. 

The ball went a lot between the two centre backs, but it didn’t go vertically. The flanks failed, they ran less than ever. But Morocco made a block, waiting for our mistake to punish us. They did that wonderfully. Their game was good, but we lacked determination. We also failed, but their good defensive performance is also to be credited. We wanted to get a fourth midfielder with Vlašić, but we didn’t do some things as we planned.

Kovačić was not at his best, was this is one of the reasons why the game suffered?

– I commented on what we lacked. Morocco stood very well, they are alive, they are fast, and we had a little fear of them counterattacking. Without responsibility you lose the match, examples are Germany and Argentina. We lacked courage and determination. It’s not a problem with one player, the whole team failed to move forward. A one-on-one breakthrough was also missing. The Moroccans are fast, energetic, they were held to 0:0 and they gave their best. If only we scored that one goal…

Will there be changes in the lineup for the second match against Canada on Sunday?

– We will see with the player’s health, Vlašić had an examination which showed nothing serious, he should be at training on Friday. As for the changes, we don’t have any big thoughts about it. After the analysis, we will talk more about the composition. We just lacked courage.

Did you play for a draw?

– We didn’t go out on the field like that, the goal was to win. The plan was for Vlašić to strengthen the midfield, and Juranović to go offensively, and also to get behind Hakimi on the left side, who is cutting forward a lot. 

Would I do anything differently now? There is no reason for me to change anything, we did try with Majer, who is more offensive than Kovačić, to get a shot… We put on Livaja, Oršić and Pašalić. In no case did we go for a point, nor are we happy with it. We didn’t calculate. But Germany and Argentina went all out and got nothing.

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