HNS Confirms: Zlatko Dalić to Remain Coach of Croatia through World Cup Playoffs

Daniela Rogulj

After the victory against Ukraine in the final group stage qualifier for the World Cup in Russia next year, HNS didn’t have to think much about their decision.

The Croatian Football Federation confirmed this afternoon at a press conference that Zlatko Dalić will remain the coach of the Croatian national team through their final qualifications for World Cup, announces on October 16, 2017. The coach’s ongoing agreement with the national team will be determined after the upcoming playoff matches. 

“Zlatko Dalić will be the Croatian coach until the end of these qualifications. We talked on Saturday and he has agreed to coach these two games. After the playoffs we will talk about the future,” said Davor Šuker, who continued:

“He will not get a contract now, no rewards, unless we go to Russia, then we will talk about the future. I do not like to talk about the future because we have time. The coach will also choose our assistants. The most important thing is to advance to Russia, to please all of those who work in football, for the fans to be together, to show unity, and to advance to the World Cup.”

The decision seems to be a logical one after the coach was widely accepted by the players, not to mention Croatian media and football fans who regained somewhat of their support for the national team after defeating Ukraine 0:2 in Kiev last week. 

A former footballer himself for teams including Hajduk Split, Dinamo Vinkovci, and Varteks, Dalić has managed Varteks, Rijeka, Dinamo Tirana, Slaven Belupo, Al-Faisaly, Al-Hilal, and Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates, and was also the assistant coach of the Croatian U-21 team from 2006 – 2011. The coach has said that his dream is to one day be the coach of Hajduk Split. 

When asked about taking the Croatian job for the critical World Cup qualifier against Ukraine, Dalić replied:

“When they asked me to take over the team, I did not ask anything. I accepted a call and said that I would walk to Croatia if I needed to. I’m not burdened, I have my name and status,” he said after winning in Kiev.

Dalić will take the team through two more vital playoff matches which will determine Croatia’s fate for the World Cup next year. Croatia’s opponent will be named in the draw tomorrow, and the teams include Ireland, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Greece. Šuker said today at the press conference that he would not like to draw Greece.

“I would not like Greece! We know what the situation is with our supporters, and the question is whether they should travel to Greece. Remember the problems with fans against PAOK, the flares and the attack on a bus with rival fans. There will be plenty of issues which we will decide on the go,” Šuker added. 

HNS decided that the upcoming playoff match in Croatia will be played at Maksimir stadium, and ticket prices will range from 60 – 200 HRK. 



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