Croatia national football team coach Zlatko Dalić once again commented on Croatia’s performance in the first friendly match in Doha on Saturday, reports HNS.
Croatia dominated Slovenia for most of the match, which ended in a draw after conceding a goal in the last moments.
“I am sorry for the goal we conceded in the last minute. We knew there would be two minutes of stoppage time before that corner kick when we didn’t react well, and then we conceded a goal anyway. We did not stand well in the initial formation; a hole was created, but, well… It is better that it happened now than later. We will analyze the situation well, see where we went wrong, and correct it.
All in all, it saddened me because we didn’t deserve the game to end 1:1. We played well, especially after the first twenty minutes when we weren’t ourselves. We had narrowed a bit; our legs were stiff and heavy, there was no depth. I have to admit that it was much better in training. It was good,” said Dalić, who once again commented on the defense.
“The players had to attack the ball after the cross, but they didn’t set up well. If they had stood properly in the space, the Slovenian player would not have come to the ideal situation to score. It’s a matter of concentration. However, the problem was that we replaced six players, so the formation and schedule of players changed at that break, and we could not follow everything. Even though we knew we had two minutes. I’m sorry for the goal we received in the last seconds, but we will try to fix it in the games that follow.”
The coach announced a completely new team against Bulgaria.
“Croatia solved all its problems four months ago. We are calm and peaceful, what we have to do now is check some things, that is my job as a coach. We need to get answers to some questions, and we only have a chance now. Competitive matches come later when there are no more sub-questions so that we will give a chance to all players. I told the guys that it’s all up to them, that no one will be deprived; what they show and play will be the only thing relevant to whether or not they will be part of the national team. That is why I want to give a chance to all the players. Ivušić will get a chance in goal; we have small problems in the defense because Sosa is in pain, and I don’t think we will use him. He surprised me because he came to the gathering with an injury he didn’t talk about. He wanted to be with us, he tried, he struggled, but we will not force him. It doesn’t make sense; I want him to rest and be ready to return to the club.”
Dalić announced the rest of the lineup:
“The stoppers will be Škorić, Vida, and Ćaleta-Car, on the left side Barišić, on the right maybe Juranović, although it will be his second game then. Moro, Pašalić, and Majer will be in the midfield, and Vlašić and Livaja will be in the attack. When it comes to the right flank, we are only in a little doubt; I will not tell you who we are thinking about because you will make drama around it. The goal is to try this team and, of course, win the game.”
The coach again praised the players for their engagement and the game against Slovenia.
“We played a fair game; it’s good to have a wide frame; sweet worries await me. The Nations League is already waiting for us in three months. We face difficult exams during which we will have to use more players because we will play four games in ten days. After the Doha games, the players will, in any case, know what they did or did not do.”
Croatia also awaits the upcoming World Cup draw.
“Croatia has competed in five world championships and won two medals. Who has that? And we underestimate that. A country of four million people has achieved such great results… This is something fascinating. The draw… it would be good if we pulled Qatar, no matter how much we underestimate anyone. Our goal is to go through the group to take that first step. It will be difficult, Qatar will be with the best national teams, but I believe in our team and us. I do not want to talk about some higher goals. In Russia, we went step by step. All opponents are tough from the first strong group, except the host, who is objectively the easiest opponent. The third and fourth strong group… I didn’t think much about it; when the draw is over, I will be able to comment a bit more,” concluded the coach.
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