Zlatko Dalić: Big Guys Went Home, Workers are Left, I Will Not Accept Bronze!

Daniela Rogulj

Zlatko Dalić held a press conference on Sunday after Croatia’s quarterfinal win over Russia. 

After defeating Russia in the quarterfinals, Croatia will play in the semifinals of the World Cup against England on Wednesday at 20:00. Zlatko Dalić spoke to media at a conference on Sunday where he clearly stated that Croatia would enter the semifinal match without fear and with faith in the gold, reports Goal.hr on July 8, 2018. 

“England will be a tough opponent, but we have great respect. They have been following and analyzing us, and we will do the same. We respect them, but above all I respect us,” said Dalić.

“We have played 120 minutes twice over the last six days, and we have spent a lot of energy and strength. That is not easy, and the semifinals are already on Wednesday. The key is good recuperation. We will soon know what to do with the players who have had some problems, but hopefully, we will have everyone at our disposal. Now we have a new motive and we will definitely find the energy for the semifinals,” the coach added.

Which players came to Moscow with problems? 

“Everyone has problems. Everyone has not slept, some have not slept enough… We are constantly finding new strength and we will not allow any problems to interfere with us now that we are finally in Moscow. To all of us, this is a dream, and I do find it strange that Croatia came to this result. The big guys went home, and we are left with the workers! This is our pride and our strength, and we will not stop at the semifinals! It would be a pity to be in Russia for a month and not see Moscow.”

Many have said that England had an easy road to the semifinals. But what about Croatia?

“I do not think that England easily reached the semifinals, but that they were able to easily solve all of their opponents! Especially with Kane and Sterling in the team, they are a young and powerful team that made all of their victories look easy. Both teams await a tough job in the semifinals. England has a strong league, unlike Croatia, which you probably did not expect to go this far.”

Does Dalić think that Rakitić is one of the best midfielders in the world?

“I think so. At the World Cup he played one of the best matches for the national team, he continues with good performances for Barcelona, and he and Modrić are probably the best tandem midfielders in the world right now.”

Can we expect the same lineup that played against Russia or Denmark?

“We will have to think well and find the best solution. We have changed a lot through the tournament and that will be the case now when we study England. We will not use a lot of chemistry, we will just find the most potent and healthy players. Surely those who are not 100% healthy will not play! On Saturday, we were quite uncertain about which players could play, such things can cost us a lot, and that is unacceptable.” 

What does this semifinal represent for Croatia as a country?

“This means a lot for our little country which must be presented in all possible ways, and football is the best way. Before the World Cup in France, a very small percentage of people even knew about our country. In Croatia, all four million people were on the streets and it shows us what kind of people we are. We are working for the best way to present this country.”


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