Let’s just say that Croatia’s first official preliminary match before the World Cup is one we don’t want to remember.
The Croatian national football team lost to Peru in Miami last night as part of their mini US tour, reports Gol.hr on March 24, 2018.
The Croatian display we saw last night was undoubtedly one of the weakest editions of this team who, though they actually controlled the game in possession (61:39 percent), corners (10:2) and had more balls into Peru’s box (5:4), was unable to score. And this was true even when Peru played with a man down for the last 15 minutes of the game after Yoshimar Yotun had to leave the pitch because of a double-yellow. Yikes.
It is clear that the coach Zlatko Dalić is disappointed, and even more so considering Croatia performed with their strongest composition in last night’s match.
“I told the players that they had to be focused. If they were not, as was the case in this game, they will not be writing anything good about us at the World Cup,” said Dalić, emphasizing:
“We need to learn a lesson. It’s better that we’ve lost now than at the World Cup, and I told my players that we cannot beat anyone unless we’re totally focused. We cannot do anything like this. The players are in a difficult club season, fighting for national titles and the Champions League, but they must be right in every game.”
“Congratulations to Peru’s deserved victory – they were more focused and aggressive than us, and very compact, fantastic in front of their fantastic supporters. It was challenging for us. We entered the game poorly and received goals at the beginning of the first and second half. Afterwards, we took control of ball possession and the game, but that was not enough,” he added.
Dalić tried to change the rhythm by introducing reserve players into the game, but there was no real solution in Miami on Friday.
“There is no excuse; it was not good. We had to change something to move the game faster from left to right and vice versa. We also tried with the younger forces, but it was not enough to win. We did not manage to score with a player up, so we did not deserve a better result,” said Dalić.
“Besides, a lot depended on the rival. Peru is also a participant in the World Cup, they are not just anyone, and after the lead, they played even more aggressive to keep it, while we had to attack and watch out for the counter-attack. It is difficult to return after an early goal, especially after a mistake. We lost too many balls, we played backwards too much instead of attacking, and the Peruvians are extremely fast,” he concluded.
On Tuesday night, Croatia plays against Mexico in Dallas.
“Yes, there will be a change in that duel.”
Against Mexico, Dalić’ will look for other solutions, but he also must follow the demands of big clubs who are looking for the coach to free up the commitments of some of Croatia’s major players.
Allegedly, Danijel Subašić, Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić and Mario Mandžukić should return to Monaco, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, while other players might be parting from the US tour early as well.
Translated from Gol.hr