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Zlatko Dalić creates history as Croatia coach 

Ivo Grbić to play in goal against Russia

Zlatko Dalić

An emotional Zlatko Dalić shed tears on the bench when the final whistle went today after Croatia beat Russia 1-0 to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

They were tears of joy as the 55-year-old set another record on the bench of the ‘Vatreni’. 

After being the first coach of Croatia to lead the country to a World Cup final, Dalić created history today when he became the first to lead the team to three major tournaments – 2018 World Cup, 2020 Euro and the 2022 World Cup. 

Miroslav Blažević and Slaven Bilić before Dalić led Croatia to two major tournaments, whilst Mirko Jozić, Otto Barić, Zlatko Kranjčar, Niko Kovač and Ante Čačić each went to one major tournament with Croatia.

Dalić, Blažević and Bilić are the only coaches to pass the group stages at a major tournament, whilst Dalić is the only one to reach a final.

Dalić only dropped 7 points during this qualifying campaign, which was the equal (with Bilić) best performance in qualifying by Croatia in its history. 

Dalić took over the Croatia job back in October 2017 after the sacking of Ante Čačić. He would lead the side to wins against Ukraine and then Greece in the play-offs to reach the 2018 World Cup. 

Dalić has led the Croatian national team in 54 matches, recording 26 wins, 12 draws and 16 losses.

“I am happy and proud and today was one of my nicest sporting moments of my life. We have a wide range of players to select from now but it will be nothing without the older, experienced players there. We have time now to prepare and we will get better,” Dalić said after today’s win.

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