Croatia turned on a class performance to beat Canada 4- at the 2022 FIFA World Cup at the Khalifa International Stadium tonight.
The win means Croatia goes to the top of Group F match on goal difference ahead of Morocco. After the match the players and coach Zlatko Dalić spoke to HRT.
First of all, I would like to congratulate the boys on a great game. They were behind from the first second against a team that has enthusiasm, energy, when you score a goal, you attack even more. We managed to reconcile and win the match. Only great teams can do that, teams that have faith, that breathe together, that are full of motivation, that are characterised by determination, that’s Croatia.
After their goal, it was important to get back into the game. Their second goal was close and it was dangerous, we searched for fifteen minutes, but then we played as we imagined and prepared. We asked Perišić and Kramarić to stand wide and not come into the middle, to give space for Brozović, Kovačić and Modrić, I will repeat again, it is one of the best midfields in the world, anyone can say what they want. Today they ran and played great. This is just the beginning and we can do this again, but let’s go slowly.
I said that we have four great strikers who can always answer. We decided to put on Livaja to protect the ball. He played great, created a dangerous situation and scored a goal. He was spent afterwards. The plan was for Budimir or Petković to go on. We thought and put Petković to guard the ball and bring calmness, we didn’t need Budimir, who is better in the defensive phase.
The last round will decide everything. We haven’t solved anything, we have to go for the win against Belgium, a team that needs three points just like us. I said that this is a difficult group, now we are there and we have a good goal difference, but we must not look too much at it, we need to look for three points. I won’t talk about happiness and euphoria, let’s go step by step.
It’s a relief, there was a lot of pressure on us. These three points are important for the further course of the group. Apart from the first five minutes, we did everything else fantastically. We fell asleep again and weren’t focused enough at the start, but maybe we needed to because we woke up afterwards.
Did that scare us? It did and it didn’t, it surprised us, we weren’t focused, but we changed the course of the game, we talked at halftime that Joško and I should stand higher up and after that everything was perfect.
Everyone said that Morocco is an easy team, but today they were good, they beat Belgium, now it’s up to us to do the job.
The first five minutes were a difficult start, but we showed what Croatia always shows, focus, mental strength, and we won dominantly. There is no need to be too happy, the last game decides the group. I hope that we will be in the same condition as today and pass the group.
Goals? A special evening for me and the team, you don’t score two goals at the World Cup every day. Thank you all for your support. A dream of dreams.
It’s difficult when you concede a goal in such a situation. We got back into the game, tried to keep the rhythm, but it’s difficult for 90 minutes at that level. In the end, we scored another goal and brought the game to an end. We know how good Canada is, they also had opportunities, but when we are compact, when we have Livi in goal, then everything is easier.
There was no pressure, we always believe in ourselves and know our quality. When it’s the hardest, we’re at our best. We have to prepare for the last game. We know that Morocco won, it didn’t surprise me. But we will go for three points against Belgium.
We played a great game, experienced a shock after a few minutes and reacted well. We fulfilled all the coach’s requirements and deservedly won. Big teams can have a shock, anyone can concede a goal, but Croatia has shown that they can play great football when they want to. My goal? I dedicate it to my late father. When you’re a kid, when you start playing football, you dream about this. But nothing is finished, we have Belgium and we have to continue like this.
We had to do much better with the ball than in the first game, in the first we focused more on defence because we knew that Morocco had good players on the counter and half-counter, but we saw that it wasn’t us, we had to impose the rhythm.
Although we had a bad start, we changed the system afterwards, that nervous period passed and we won. It’s easier to breathe when you win, to give you strength and wind at your back. Everything is up to us, we turn to the last game. We will go for the win. Goal difference? We will not go for it, we will try to win, we play at the same time and we will listen to the result from the second game. We have to be smart and when we play like this, then we are good.
It’s very difficult after conceding a goal so quickly. But there was no fear, we were aware of our strength and knew that we would have many more opportunities.
Belgium are a very good opponent. They come after one bad result, which means they will have more motivation. But again, everything is up to us. We will wait for the match with a smile. I think you should always go for the win. No need to calculate.
We played great except for that early goal and those first 15 minutes when they dominated. We showed character, quality and why we are here. I think we can be proud and happy. It couldn’t have been better to score. I’m overjoyed.
I thank Oršić. To pass in such a situation, a lot of players would just score themselves. He showed that he is a team player. It shows togetherness and modesty. If we repeat this kind of game, everything should be fine.
Croatia faces Belgium in their final group match on 1 December with a draw enough to see them advance into the last 16.