Full stadiums, media support, three wins and a draw to sit pretty with 10 points at the top of Group A in the race to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Things could not better for new Croatia football coach Igor Stimac. The former Derby County and West Ham hardman talked to Croatia Week during the week.
“If we keep making progress as we have in the last four games, then I am convinced you will watch us in Brazil,” Stimac said. Probably Croatia’s best performance since the glory days of the 1998 World Cup in France came against Wales in Osijek earlier this month and Stimac’s motivational techniques seem to be working.
“I talk to them (players), I put them in a position to be stronger and more resilient than the opposition.” Stimac says, revealing his motivation style.
Croatia will play a friendly on 14 November in Rijeka against a selection from the local Croatian first division and Stimac says it is a great opportunity to see how local players fear when they have to step up a level. It is a match he wants to turn into a tradition so he can have a good look at the players he maybe can rely on in the future. It is not only local Croatians though that are on Stimac’s radar.
“I have supporters all over the world calling me and giving me information about players with Croatian heritage…with so much love from our supporters we don’t need to waste money on having scouts abroad,” smiled Stimac.
Stimac is making an effort to get around all parts of the country, yesterday he was at NK Imotski in the Dalmatian hinterland watching them train. Stimac has become hugely popular with the Croatian media and fans, gathering over 30,000 fans on his Facebook page.