Croatia Finishes Final Training Before Nigeria, Dalić and Modrić Talk to Press (Photos)

Daniela Rogulj

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Slobodan Kadić

Croatia will open their World Cup tournament on Saturday against Nigeria. Kickoff is at 21:00 in Kaliningrad. 

After Croatia finished their last training before their opening match against Nigeria, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić hosted a press conference where they reaffirmed they were ready for the highly anticipated match. 

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“We have a very good generation and players in big clubs, where they also carry the game. We are a good blend of youth and experience, and the nation has great expectations. We expect a lot from ourselves, you can be sure of that. I hope that the pressure will not be too much, and I believe we will justify the epithets that are tied to this generation and ultimately create the result this team can objectively achieve. I hope we will have a little luck; without it, it will be difficult. We are full of confidence and I hope we’ll show good football,” said Modrić in front of reporters. 

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“We are not thinking about Nigeria’s ranking, but we know their qualities, and they are maybe the best African team. They play fast and vertical football and they have very quick attackers. In the first games, there are no big favorites – it will be fairly balanced and that is how we will set up. We are not burdened by the fact that others put us among the favorites. We will try to play as the coach expects and demonstrate what we’ve been doing in the past few weeks,” concluded Modrić.

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Coach Zlatko Dalić confirmed he knows just the right formula for the Nigerian side. 

“Croatia has their own style and has to keep it, with a technically perfect possession of the ball. Of course, we will look after the young Nigerian strength, but I believe in our creation and obedience – this is the most prized virtue. I look at my team, our strength, and although we respect Nigeria very much, we know their quality and how dangerous they are, especially in the attack, and we also have great names. It will be a good, quality match. I am optimistic and know that we can win by taking care of Nigeria’s counterattacks and opening quickly. We are ready for the match,” said Dalić. 

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All photos Slobodan Kadić

Source: HNS


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