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Dalić talks about Morocco, bronze medal, changes and Modrić

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic Euro 2020

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

Croatia will take on Morocco on Saturday in the playoff for 3rd and 4th at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 

Croatia will hold their final training session today ahead of Saturday’s match, and coach Zlatko Dalić told the media earlier today that a few players are in doubt, as HNS reported.

Injuries

“This is the seventh game in less than a month and we have spent ourselves. The consequences are felt, and we will see how it will be during the day. We have to be careful and I want the players to be honest and report every problem. We need those who can give more than 100 percent. Everyone wants to play, and we will have to weigh well so that we don’t have to make quick substitutions. We have to block their counterattacks, and it is difficult to break through them. They will have to be patient and wait for their opportunity, and Croatia has to be better in some things.”

A number of players are reportedly in doubt for tomorrow including Josip Juranoivć, Marcelo Brozović, Dejan Lovren, Nikola Vlašić and Joško Gvardiol, although Gvardiol said yesterday he would be fit. 

Josip Stanišić against Noussair Mazraoui

“Stanišić is our future, he is a player at the great Bayern Munich and he already had notable matches for Croatia. His quality grows with every training session at Bayern and maybe tomorrow we will see his matchup with Mazraoui, who is also of high quality and means a lot for Morocco.”

Like a final  

“This is the big final of the smaller national teams, the fight for a medal. We have a lot of respect for Morocco, they are one of the most pleasant surprises. They think the same as us, they will play with the best possible squad. And they want to be third, the semi-final was the best for both teams. We did a great thing but we want more, and after that comes the final tournament of the Nations League, the qualifiers for the European Championship, so a lot of new challenges and games.”

Bronze from ’98

“It was the first medal for the Croatian national team, it was a huge thing and recognition for the newly formed country. It was the beginning of our brilliant football success. Now it’s different, now we have an even bigger silver medal, but every World Cup means a lot and we would like to make our people happy. That medal was the first, but this one will be no less significant, for Croatia every one is big. It is important for us to return home with third place.”

Morocco

“Nobody expected them to go so far and they remind me of Croatia in ’98. They grew throughout the tournament, showed great emotion, enjoy the support of the fans, and we have a tougher match ahead of us than in the first round. There were also unknowns in the first match. They are full self-confidence, motivation and energy. Kudos to them for what they have done, they are not afraid of anyone. They are the most pleasant surprise, and there are many superpowers who failed, who expected to be in the semi-finals.”

Future

“The time of tiki-taka has passed, Spain failed to beat Morocco with 900 touches. France has been playing differently for a long time, the key to the future success of all national teams will be a solid block and quick opening, such players will be an advantage in the future. We have talents for the future. Maybe this is the last World Cup of our golden generation, and we can talk about a new Croatia. Through next year, we will prepare a good national team for 2024 and 2026. We have to maintain continuity, we must not ruin this. It is important that someone older always remains, just like that success is possible.”

Mid-season World Cup

“Smaller national teams profited the most because they had players in optimal shape, in the middle of the season, and we will see what happens next. Clubs will have problems because of players from national teams who stayed until the end. However, I think it was good that the World Cup was in the middle of the season”

Argentina vs. France

“Both national teams are very good, even if they have different styles. France wins even when they don’t have control of the game, Mbappe can dominate, but Argentina has Messi who can always solve the game. It will be uncertain and it is not advisable to make predictions. Let the better team win.”

Luka Modrić retiring

“Everything will be decided by Luka, and I hope that he will stay with us. I think that will be the case, considering how he thinks about football and the national team.”

Referee from Qatar

“I think FIFA took a big risk, but I hope we won’t talk about the referee after the game.”

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