Just two months after Croatia’s biggest ever football success the team has suffered its worst-ever defeat after losing 6-0 to Spain in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday in Elche.
Here is some of the reaction from last night’s loss.
“It’s a tough defeat, but we need to take away the lesson. If our approach in every match is not like it was at the World Cup then it will be difficult to play against any team, especially a team like Spain.
The first 20 minutes we were good, we created three chances, we pressed but then after that was like we ran out of steam. We started to play for ourselves and not help one another, we stood too far away from players and against this kind of team that is suicide. The result was bad.
It is the start of the season and we are not in the best form, but despite that, it is unacceptable that we sell our reputation which we earned in a very hard way.
It is easy to criticise and say everything is wrong, but I do not want to do that. But our approach has to be different.”
Croatia will meet England next behind closed doors on 12 October in Rijeka.
“It will be tough with an empty stadium, but we have one month, we need to get ready and lift our form with our clubs. We struggled hard to get where we are and we can not let this happen. There is no sense to moan, we need to be positive, take away the lessons and I believe that this will not happen again.”
“Collectively we failed, Spain did not surprise us with anything, but against this type of side you have to be compact, run and fight. We are far away from our top form. We were missing some important players, and we don’t have as many options as they do. “
“After the match the changing room was silent, what can you say…We started the match with 3-4 chances, and they scored 3 goals from two shots. But they constantly created the extra man out wide and through the middle and came out of the last line clean.
“A tough defeat, it surely hurts, but wait and think (if you even have a brain) before you start spitting like the dear media usually do. In this situation, you do not need to find someone to blame, together we won until now so together we lose. We can not sink and I do not want to forget all the nice things we achieved at the World Cup.
We as the type of people we are like to immediately spit on the strongest, that is why we will never progress with this attitude (referring to the media). Guys, heads up, the next match is a chance to show again, to forget this as soon as possible. Simply a f..kn bad night.”
“A great first 20 minutes then when Vrsaljko left the pitch we completely vanished. We fell apart completely. Everyone started to play for themselves. This is a big loss and hard to take but we have to learn from it.
Players are aware that while we are a team and keep to the system and play for each other everything functions as it should. Soon as we let that go it was the end.
I already saw at half-time what the situation was and I was looking for them to get back into it through compactness, but what happened has happened and it is better now than later. Everything bad gathered in one night. I will not make a decision about players now, we will try and crystallize a team for the Euro qualifiers, and in the Nations League make up for this loss. We will see who can and who can not.
We tried Rog at right-back when Vrsaljko came off because Jedvaj was injured and we need to look for solutions and try different things as we don’t have a real replacement for Vrsaljko.
Of course, this is the toughest moment of my coaching career, but that is life, we must accept what has happened. Congratulations to Spain for their brilliant play and the big win. We will not sit and cry, let’s go back to work.”