Zlatko Dalić announced the game between Croatia and Spain for the UEFA Nations League in Zagreb on Thursday.
Ahead of the Croatia national football team is the last gathering of the incredibly historic 2018. This month, the group stages of the Nations League season premiere will come to an end, and two major games lie ahead of Croatia this week, reports Gol.hr on November 12, 2018.
Croatia will host Spain at Maksimir on Thursday at 20:45, and on Sunday, Croatia will play away at Wembley against England at 15:00.
Dalić released the lineup for these two appearances earlier this month, which will include three young players who should be the stars of the Croatia A-team in the future.
As the national team gathers in Zagreb today, coach Zlatko Dalić has announced what we can look forward to in this representative week.
“We await two difficult and attractive matches. I’m especially excited about the first match against Spain because it is the first official game on Croatian turf after the World Cup. I expect a full Maksimir, unity, and, of course, the win and three points that will put us among the top-seeded teams for the Euro draw. We get together today, we have some tricky problems with injuries.”
Zlato Dalić was awarded the ‘Best Coach in Europe’.
“This is a very nice award, but this is not just an award for me, it is also for Croatian football. This is the result of the national team in Russia. It is prestigious and wonderful, but it needs to continue.”
What has changed compared to the first match against Spain?
“I think we are in a much better mood and form than in that first game. Spain lost to England, they do not decide for themselves, and we decide for ourselves, and we need two victories. I think that the players are in shape, I’m really looking forward to this game.”
The key will be if Croatia captain Luka Modrić is back in shape.
”Yesterday, Luka had an assist. And he is aware that fluctuations are normal, he raised his form, and I know he will be himself and will be the leader of our team.”
‘Certainly, Luka had some consequences after the World Cup, and it is not easy to always be in shape and always be the best. When Real loses a game they always look to blame the foreigners, Luka or Kroos. Luka is the best in the world.”
Croatia has a big motive after losing 6:0 to Spain in Elche.
“It was a tough defeat, and I will not go back to it. Our approach will be better. Enrique has applied a little style, playing a bit faster, more straightforward. Everything will depend on us. In Elche, we played the first 20 minutes very well and then we fell apart. This must not be repeated.”
Zlatko Dalić has called upon some younger talents for the upcoming games, including Josip Brekalo, Nikola Vlašić, and Duje Ćaleta-Car.
“I’m constantly saying we need new energy, new strength, and young players coming in. Brekalo and Vlašić show their form through their games, which showed how they ended up with us. We need their speed and energy.”
The left side is still a problem.
“Pivarić is hurt. And Leovac and Sosa are injured. I hope Vrsaljko will be in good shape. The left side will be questionable. There is no Strinić either. All play on the left in one way or another. There is Milić, there is Jedvaj. It would be a shame to put Vida on the left, to separate the stopper pair.’’
What about Lovren?
“Lovren was hurt, and he did not play, but I do not think he is questionable. He’s full of confidence. Liverpool has a lot of players in his position, giving everyone a chance, so there is no problem.”
Who will be the goalkeeper?
“It’s not great to rotate the keepers. Kalinić is back, Livaković defended well against England. We’ll see. Kalinić deserved his chance. I would not want to lose both goalkeepers.”
The players who have retired from the national team will also be in attendance on Thursday.
“HNS called them – they are part of our family, and we want to keep that. And now we have a chance for all of us to be together. We must not forget them, nor what they have given to Croatian football. They will be with us against Spain. I wanted to be together again, to renew this communion. They will receive awards and be at the game against Spain.”
To read more about Zlatko Dalić, follow TCN’s dedicated page here.