Croatia’s first 2022 World Cup match is on Wednesday against Morocco at Al Bayt Stadium. The teams meet at 13:00 local time.
“There is no easy opponent here. We appreciate and respect Morocco, and we expect a tough match,” said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić ahead of the team’s first World Cup match.
“We followed Saudi Arabia’s win and Tunisia’s draw. Everyone plays well, and surprises are possible. Therefore, we will enter with maximum respect,” added Dalić.
Croatia had only a week of preparations, but Dalić is satisfied with what was done.
“We used this time to get used to the conditions that awaited us. I am very satisfied. We are ready,” Dalić said, revealing how he decided on the starting lineup.
“We chose the highest quality in terms of energy and experience. We don’t have any doubts anymore; the guys know the lineup. We have experience and energy, and we have a good mix. A challenging match awaits us. I believe we made the right choice,” he said. “Livaja has also recovered and has no problems.”
Dalić also spoke about Morocco’s quality.
“We analyzed them. They are a great team. They are well organized. They have great individuals in all positions. I don’t want to comment on their decision to change the coach. Halilhodžić is an excellent coach, but that is their business.”
According to the latest announcements, Morocco could play with a home atmosphere.
“I know that they will be particularly motivated and that they will have a lot of fans. We are careful and full of respect. We have to be at the maximum level.”
Croatia arrived in Doha as the 2018 World Cup finalists and has a series of excellent results behind them. Dalić agreed that Croatia’s rivals certainly look at them differently.
“We’ve had a lot of opponents, and they look at us better than before Russia. We are worthy; we are aware of it. However, we must be realistic and objective. The pressure is high, and the expectations are high. We will not fall into such a trap, and we will go one game at a time. I believe in this team.”
Dalić pointed out that Croatia is one of the few in the world who has won two World Cup medals in the last 20 years.
“In the last 20 years, we have won two medals. And there should be commotion around us, but we are preparing in peace. Of course, the first game is important, a good start is important, but it is not crucial,” said Dalić.
Modrić also commented on retiring from the national team.
“I haven’t made a decision yet. I don’t want it to be a topic at the World Cup. I’m here to enjoy and play a good tournament. We’ll see how far we can go. We have faith in our abilities. If we play like before, we can do a lot. Tomorrow we have a tough match. I believe we can play well and hope for a favorable result”, said Modrić.
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