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Dalic: “We’ve sent a message to the world”

The Croatia coach said his team were more affected by fatigue in the Last 16 tie against Japan than in Friday’s quarter final against Brazil. Next up, Argentina...

Croatia's coach #00 Zlatko Dalic speaks during a press conference in Doha on December 10, 2022, a day after his team beat Brazil in their Qatar 2022 World Cup football quarter-final match. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic couldn’t hide his joy after watching his team beat tournament favourites Brazil to book their place in the 2022 World Cup semi-finals.

How does it feel to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup for the second time in a row?

We are among the four best teams in the world, we are proud that Croatia and the whole world witnessed and admired our achievement. The whole nation is proud. It is an extraordinary moment. We are tired, but we want to enjoy this moment. When you eliminate a team like Brazil, you have no choice but to enjoy the moment. However, now we have a match against another very difficult team (Argentina) and we don’t have much time to celebrate because that match is already scheduled for Tuesday.

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Of all the congratulations you have received, which one has been the most special?

As a team we have shown that we never give up. It is a privilege to have a group of young people like this sending a message like this out to the world. The support of our people always gives us an extra push.

Another match and other penalties. How has that hurt the team?

I felt tiredness affected us more against Japan than today. I think it’s a very good indicator and we won’t have much trouble with that. We will try to rest to be as fresh as possible for the Argentina game. It would be a shame if all our efforts, playing 120 minutes per game, counts for nothing if we don’t make it through the semi-final. Of course, we are very tired now, but tomorrow will be a new day. Argentina has an army of fans here, they also went to extra-time so I think our situations are very similar.

Brazil took the lead, what was going through your mind at that moment?

We always believed that we could achieve it. We knew that Brazil are a great team and that it would be difficult to win the game. However, we were completely immersed in the game. The players supported each other and we knew that in the end, our efforts would pay off. Discipline was one of the key points in this match.


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