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Kovač: “Mandžukić is back – I Feel Optimistic”

CroatiaCroatia arrived in Manaus on Tuesday ahead of today’s match with Cameroon, and head coach Niko Kovač is glad to have striker Mario Mandžukić back for the must-win clash…

“The pitch is OK, and we accept the weather conditions the way they are. We are not looking for any excuses. Luka Modrić will be ready, and I am glad that Mandžukić is back. Any coach would be happy to have such player in his team”.

Both Croatia and Cameroon will try to stay in contention and win their first points of the World Cup campaign.

“This match is crucial and we will try to take all three points. We know all about Cameroon, just as Cameroon knows all about Croatia. I believe in the quality of my team, even though Group A proved difficult, as expected. Cameroon will also look for opportunities”, said Kovač.

“Mexico had a lot of problems with Cameroon, but we will try to impose our style of play. I repeat, I feel optimistic. Should we play like we did against Brazil, we have a chance of progressing. Nobody will give us any gifts, we go and fight”, he concluded.

Striker Mario Mandžukić returns to action after missing the Brazil opener through suspension.

“I am happy to be returning to the team, I can hardly wait to play again. I worked hard for this important match, and the whole team is ready”, he said.

Croatia’s goal is to win the remaining matches and qualify for the second round.

“The players needed some time to adapt to the weather conditions in Manaus, but we have to put that aside. We need to concentrate on our performance to achieve a positive result. Croatia came to the World Cup to win, and now we have to beat Cameroon and Mexico to reach the second round. Nothing has changed and I believe that we can do the first step on Wednesday”.

“It is every player’s dream to play at the World Cup. I want to prove myself, together with my team”, said Mandžukić. (Drago Sopta / HNS)

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