World Cup 2018: Dalić Reveals Plan Against Denmark in Round of 16

Daniela Rogulj

The day after Croatia defeated Iceland, Dalić hosted his regular press conference in the Roshchino national team camp.

Zlatko Dalić and his Croatia side have won Group D in the World Cup with flying colors. After pulling out three wins to be first in the group, Croatia expects the first match of the knockout phase where they will play Denmark on Sunday at 20:00 in Nizhny Novgorod – and the stake is huge, reports on June 27, 2018. 

This is Croatia’s biggest achievement since 1998, and it is an even bigger opportunity to get closer to the greatest goal of Croatian football.

At the press conference, Dalić was immediately asked about Denmark and their best player Christian Eriksen.

”We haven’t done much about Denmark over these last few days. Now we will start intensively. They are an excellent national team, similar to Iceland, but of a better class. Eriksen is a class player who can give us a lot of trouble. We will study their strengths and weaknesses, but it all depends on us. We have respect and we are careful.”

Croatia winning first place in the group allowed them to avoid France, a favorite team in the round of 16. But Dalić claims the odds against Denmark are 50:50. 

“The odds are 50:50. We will not underestimate anyone. It will be a tough game, it will be pretty tight. It will probably be two different styles of play, and the team that imposes their style of play will have a greater chance of going into the quarterfinals.”

Spain and Russia are also interested in who will celebrate in this match as whoever wins will play either Croatia or Denmark. With Spain as the topic of conversation, Dalić was then asked who is better, Modrić or Iniesta?

“In front of us is Denmark and Eriksen. Iniesta is a player of great class. He has also shown that he is a great man. I’m sorry that I do not want to talk about Iniesta at this point. If we beat Denmark and play against Spain then we’ll talk about it.”

Pogba and Tolisso said they would rather play against Argentina. Has Croatia become the team to avoid in the tournament?

“We have a reputation for these three wins in the group, which goes into history, but we have to forget about it now and turn to the game against Denmark. If we do not confirm it against Denmark, it will be: Where were you? What did you do? Nothing…”

Dalić was asked about working with perhaps the best midfielder in the world, Luka Modrić. How would he compare him with Eriksen and how will he stop the Danish midfielder?

“They are similar players, players who can solve the game. No special plan or tactics. We will play as we did against Argentina. The whole team must be compact in that segment of the game and we have to stop him and prevent him from doing what he knows best. When Denmark attacks we all have to block and defend ourselves. We have to be compact.”

Dalić was then reminded of Croatia in the 2016 Euros where Croatia was also first in the group over Spain but failed to overcome Portugal in the Round of 16. 

“Our first goal was to get out of the group. We did this, but that is not enough. We expect more. The most important match is against Denmark and it is the match of truth. A lot has to be covered. We have done great things in these three games, but if we do not confirm it against Denmark then there will be one big complaint. I believe we can go further. If we defeat Denmark, then everything is open and everything is possible.”

What is the state of the national team?

“We are tired. We lost a night, we have not slept… But there are no excuses. We have to invest the maximum power and energy to go further. We are all tired here. We have to sacrifice for what can open for us. We have no injuries, we have minor problems, but everything can be solved.”


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