Sunday, March 26, 2023

Croatia, Japan and urge to show they belong on world stage in focus forward of Qatar 2022 knockout conflict

Croatia have carried out wonders to punch above their weight for thus lengthy in worldwide soccer and are decided to maintain their status going in opposition to Japan of their last-16 match on the World Cup on Monday, coach Zlatko Dalic mentioned.

“The population of Croatia is 4 million and the results we have achieved on the world stage are miraculous,” mentioned Dalic, whose nation have been runners-up on the final World Cup and are unbeaten in three video games in Qatar.

“We are continually present in tournaments and World Cups, and that itself is a great success. We have become a world football force.”

The Twelfth-ranked Croatians are favourites to beat Twenty fourth-ranked Japan, however the Samurai Blue astounded expectations to defeat two powerhouses and former World Cup winners, Spain and Germany, on the group stage in comebacks.

“They will apply the Samurai warrior philosophy. So will we. If we want to go further, we must apply that same attitude, do our best and never underestimate anyone,” Dalic advised reporters, noting Japan’s scant possession statistics in each these wins.

Japan has shocked all by beating Spain and Germany within the group phases and can hope to channel that momentum when it faces Croatia for a spot within the quarterfinals.
| Photograph Credit score: Getty Photographs

“Japan have the least ball possession in the world, but they make great transition. This is the most perseverant, persistent opponent. They simply do not give up. We have a similar mentality, Japan and Croatia. We stand on equal ground.”


The coach mentioned Croatia would struggle to match and even higher their efficiency in Russia.

“Everyone has their right to dream. In 2018, we demonstrated that dreams can come true,” he mentioned. “In the last 20 years, Croatia have played magnificent matches. If you look at the countries in the round of 16, we are the country with the smallest population. We are here against the odds.”

Dalic singled out Croatia’s captain Luka Modric, who has once more performed outstandingly regardless of being within the twilight of his profession at 37.

“I cannot compliment him enough on his performance. This will not be the last tournament he will play for Croatia. His professionalism, his good shape, his training, his working on self-improvement is unprecedented,” he mentioned.

Croatia players celebrate after the team’s qualification to the knockout stages after beating Belgium in their final group match.

Croatia gamers have fun after the workforce’s qualification to the knockout phases after beating Belgium of their ultimate group match.
| Photograph Credit score: Getty Photographs

“We will need Luka for some time more in the future.”

Defender Borna Sosa faces health checks afterward Sunday and stays a doubt for the Japan recreation.

“If he’s not up to the challenge tomorrow, we won’t take any risks. We need fully prepared players,” Dalic mentioned.

Younger defender Josko Gvardiol mentioned he knew Japan’s spirit effectively from their presence within the Bundesliga the place he performs.

“I know the Japanese players very well,” he added.

“They represent quite a danger. They are a fighting team. They fight to the very end. They do not surrender.”

Take a look at this week’s episode of Wednesdays with WV, the place WV Raman discusses every thing from developments in India’s home circuit, the incoming workforce of selectors and extra.

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