Croatia is proud to have eliminated tournament favorites Brazil via penalties in order to qualify for the World Cup final four. However, they now find themselves in a limbo according coach Zlatko Dlic on Saturday.
Croatia was runners-up for 2018 and stunned Brazil with their late equaliser in Friday’s second period. They then knocked Brazil out of the penalty shootout, after they failed to convert two spot kicks by Brazilians.
After receiving applause by Croatian media personnel, Dalic stated that Brazil was the most favourite team at the World Cup.
I am exhausted, but happy to be tired. One should take this time to enjoy it. But not too much. Today we must start preparations for Argentina.
Croatia has a population just above 3.5million. They have been pushing their limits on the international stage for many years. Friday’s results were among the most surprising in the tournament, given Brazil’s current form and Dalic’s ageing team that needed penalties to defeat Japan in the previous 16.
Dalic stated, “At the moment, we’re not anywhere. We are neither here nor there.” We would not have been able to get over the loss in the group stage if it had happened. If we lost the quarter-finals, it would be the same.
“But, we’ve reached this point and what now? There is no such thing as here or there. We must do everything we can to get more. It would be shameful if, after all our worries and efforts and all the sacrifices that we made, we didn’t take it one step further.”
Croatia now faces Argentina. Argentina also required penalties to beat the Netherlands, despite leading by 2-0. The Netherlands scored twice late in this game. This forced extra time and a shootout.
To reach the 2018 final, Croats needed two penalties shootouts as well an extra-time win. They also lost to France in 2018.
Dalic stated that fatigue will not be an issue and would not discuss it. They (Argentina), are motivated and eagerly awaiting the title.
Before Brazil’s quarterfinal match, the coach lavished praise on Brazil and called them “terrifying”. He was also respectful to Argentina’s semi-final opponent Lionel Messi-led Argentina who were aiming for their first title in the world since 1986.
Messi is currently on the lookout for his fifth World Cup trophy, having scored four goals.
Dalic stated, “I believe that we have a very difficult job ahead of us now.” They will be supported in the semifinals by (Lionel Messi), their primary player, who they can trust. He plays brilliantly.
“I cannot review Argentina yet. Everything will be up to us. It will all be lost if they don’t play well, aren’t serious about their goals, and lack motivation. They are great at the moment, having reached the semi-finals.