Croatia head coach Ante Čačić and man of the match Ivan Perišić shared their thoughts on a superb night of football in Bordeaux.
Ante Čačić, Croatia’s head coach, was a very satisfied man on Tuesday night in Bordeaux, following his team’s comeback victory over defending champions Spain (2:1).
“Croatia achieved an extremely significant result, beating the European champions, the mighty Spain. As I already said, this Croatia will not take a step back, regardless of the opponent. We will give everything we can in every match, we did not do the math, we wanted the top spot and we got it. I am especially pleased with the fact Croatia was true to its style in all three group stage matches, which wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support of our people back home and beyond. We have no right to relax, we need to bring joy to Croatian people. The national team is an example of the love for your country, it needs to represent it in a proper way, despite all obstacles”, he said.
“I was convinced that we can beat Spain with five new players in the starting lineup. Our youngsters have fulfilled the expectations and, of course, I’m happy, but this was just the first stage. We gained extra confidence, but if we want to be champions, we need to beat every single opponent. The next match is the most important, and I hope Modrić and Mandžukić will be ready. Spain showed respect to Croatia, tried to remain top of the group with the best possible team, playing responsibly and actively, yet we also had a say. Spain was good, but our victory is deserved. We created chances, saved a penalty, and were rewarded with a confirmation of quality. Nothing is yet done, though”, added Čačić.
With a goal and an assist, Ivan Perišić was named the man of the match.
“I don’t know how to describe this. All the credit goes to the players, to the fans. We have done a very good job in the group stage, but this is just the beginning. If we lose the next match, we haven’t done anything. We have to stay focused for the Round of 16 and fight as we did in the previous matches. Only then we can improve on the best Croatian achievement in history”, said Perišić.
“I am obviously in a good shape, and I hope that will last. It is an honour and pleasure to play for the national team, but as we have seen, I am not the only one playing. There are 23 players always ready to give their best, given the opportunity. Let us continue, and any Round of 16 opponent can be difficult should we relax. If we remain on this level, there is no fear of anyone”, he concluded.