Croatia boss Dalic says "we want more"

Sports Tuesday 13/December/2022 11:26 AM
By: xinhua
Croatia boss Dalic says "we want more"

DOHA: Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic said Monday that his team would not be satisfied with a semifinal exit at the FIFA World Cup despite praising his team's "extraordinary success."

Croatia will be bidding for a berth in their second consecutive World Cup final when they meet Argentina in Lusail on Tuesday. The winning team will confront either France or Morocco in the title decider on Sunday.

"We are among the best four teams in the world, that is an extraordinary success for Croatia. But we want more," Dalic told a news conference, adding that a victory would represent the most famous result in the history of Croatian football.

Croatia reached the semifinals with successive penalty-shootout wins over Japan and Brazil in their two knockout matches so far while Argentina progressed by beating Australia 2-1 and the Netherlands on penalties.

Dalic claimed Argentina were under more pressure than Croatia and made reference to their captain, Lionel Messi, who has said that this is likely to be his last chance to win the World Cup.

"We are playing against Argentina, who are a terrific team led by Lionel Messi," Dalic said. "They are highly motivated and under greater pressure than us.

"We have analyzed them so we know how they play and how they intend to approach the game. We are going to be prepared. I'm an optimist. I trust my players. They have demonstrated quality and great strength of character."

The last meeting between the teams came during the group stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, when Croatia prevailed 3-0. Dalic refuted suggestions the previous result had given his team a psychological advantage.

"This is quite different to the match in 2018," he said. "That was in the group stage and not decisive in any way. We were compact and strong in that game and we'll try to approach it the same way this time round but the stakes are a lot higher. We won't be sparing any effort."

Dalic admitted his players have been physically tested by consecutive matches that have extended to extra-time and penalties. But he insisted that would not be an excuse against two-time world champions Argentina.

"It's been quite exhausting but we're in the semifinals of a World Cup and we're not talking about exhaustion," Dalic said. "It [tiredness] is out of the question. We have the strength, the energy and the willingness to give our best in this match. All the players are healthy and I hope they've rested well."