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National Teams > Men > A

Press conference in Greece

Dalić and Rakitić
ready to stay calm
and achieve the

Dalić and Rakitić ready to stay calm and achieve the objective
photo by: HNS
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Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić and vice-captain Ivan Rakitić held a press conference in Piraeus, on the eve of the FIFA World Cup play-offs return leg.

On Sunday, Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus hosts the 2018 FIFA World Cup play-offs return leg, with Croatia leading Greece 4:1, courtesy of a fine performance in Zagreb.

"Euphoria would lead us nowhere. We have to stay calm and achieve the objective. Should anyone think otherwise, things will take a wrong turn. However, our players are aware of their situation, of their job, and nothing is over yet. Yes, we could be a bit tired, but there is no choice and no excuse, since the World Cup is at stake. The players will be ready, since we fully respect Greece. It is not easy to concede only six goals in qualifying, but we expect a different kind of Greece. They have to search for a win and will do everything possible to achieve it", says Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić.

"I hope that Mandžukić will be fit, he is very important to Croatia. We did not want to risk anything, and I prefer having players at 100 percent. Manolas is back for Greece to make them stronger, but the key remains in their entire team. There is no need for Croatia to change the approach, we are not used to defending. We came here to win and we regard this match as a final. Now it is up to us to prove quality - without players' quality, my tactics would be useless. I just provided them some help. They now have to complete the last step", he added.

Croatia vice-captain Ivan Rakitić recently visited Piraeus with Barcelona.

"Everybody knows the partisan atmosphere at this stadium, the pressure is enormous. It is nice to have a 4:1 lead, but this means nothing. Croatia has to seek a victory, against a very motivated hosts who want to make amends and put in their best performance. It will be tough, but we have to stick to our gameplan and prove once again that we are better than Greece. Greece remains a difficult opponent, and Croatia has to be at a top level, leaving nothing to chance. There are no second opportunities anymore, this is the last step towards the World Cup. We'll give our best", he says.

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