Before the first match at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, there was a question mark over Dejan Lovren’s status in the team.
After solid performances in all four matches so far, including providing the assist for Ivan Perišić’s equaliser against Japan, the former Liverpool player will again start with Joško Gvardiol in the middle of Croatia’s defence against Brazil in the quarterfinal on Friday.
Ahead of the match he sat down in front of the press.
Not angry at the criticism
“It’s nice to see you here again, but in much larger numbers than last time. I didn’t get angry, maybe I answered one question inappropriately. Am I happy with my game? I am satisfied with the whole team’s performance, that is the most important thing. I am my own biggest critic, no one has to explain it to me, when I play well or badly. It is important that the team is happy and healthy and that we move on,” Lovren said, as HNS website writes.
“Brazil is the favourite, they have fantastic players, they literally have two great teams and they are definitely the favourites. We have no problem with that, we appreciate and respect everyone and we will prove it on the field”.
How to stop Brazil
“Only eleven of us can stop them, they have a dangerous team, they are fantastic individually, they play at the best clubs. We are ready for that fight. Do I understand Brazilians? I understand a lot because I have a lot of friends who are former and current teammates who are Brazilian.
Have I heard from them? I have heard from all the Brazilians, except for the ones we play against on Friday. They wished me luck, they are nice people and my friends, and I hope that we will be on good terms even after the game.
Dancing after a goal? They can do whatever they want, I don’t see any disrespect in that. Everything has its limit, but I know how Brazilians breathe and I don’t see anything negative about it”.
Relationship with Joško Gvardiol
“Yes, now I am in the role of giving advice to Joško, as I, as a kid, followed the steps of Šimunić, Robert Kovac, Križanc and other defenders who played with me in the national team. I watched them and followed what they were doing, absorbed everything they told me.
Maybe they were a little more aggressive towards me, but now I’m in their role. I try to talk to Joško as much as possible and give him positive advice. He listens, he absorbs, and I think he is far ahead of me, than where I was at twenty years old.
He has the quality that he shows at the World Cup, but also before, it’s no wonder that all the clubs are interested in him. I hope that one day he will also mention me as a mentor.”
Period not playing for the national team
“I was frustrated when I couldn’t play because I like to be there and help the national team. It was quite a long period of four months of not playing, but I managed to overcome it. I fought with myself, it was difficult psychologically, but I believed that I would come back. I always say that behind such things there are reasons, positive or negative, but it strengthened me”.