Croatia will take on Switzerland on Wednesday 5 March in St. Gallen, and coach Niko Kovač hopes to use the match to assess his players ahead of an important three-month period leading up to the World Cup in Brazil in the summer…
“We have to consider the needs of the team when selecting players, and check their physical condition. Some players, especially those from Russia and Ukraine, are still in the process of preparations for the next stage of their championships. At the end of the season, players are tired, and we will not have time for complete basic preparations”, said Kovač, who is under no illusions that Switzerland will be a tough opponent on Wednesday night.
“Switzerland is above Croatia when looking at the FIFA ranking table and I expect a difficult match. We have lost several players to injuries, and we will not give up on the system introduced in play-off matches against Iceland, 4-2-3-1. We have experienced and smart players. Moreover, I want a good result in Switzerland, as a confirmation that we are doing a good job”.|
Kovač also has one eye on June’s World Cup opener against Brazil.
“We are aware that Brazil is playing the same system, usually with the same players, for two years and their plays are sometimes perfect. However, the opening match provides us with more motivation, and we already have a couple of ideas how to play against Brazil. I am not yet sure whether Eduardo will replace the suspended Mandžukić, there are three more months to decide”.
“We do not want comparisons with Brazil. Croatia has its own style of play and its own identity. We think only of the first three group matches and want to enjoy our football. We will do everything we can to reach the next round”, concluded Kovač. (HNS)