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National Teams > Men > A

Croatia prepares for the World Cup

Ćorluka and Rakitić
on win against
Mexico: "It was a

Ćorluka and Rakitić on win against Mexico: "It was a well-deserved victory"
photo by: Imago7
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After Croatia's win against Mexico (1:0), Croatia vice-captains Vedran Ćorluka and Ivan Rakitić expressed their happiness at the team's performance.

Croatia midfielder and Barcelona star Ivan Rakitić gave a positive evaluation of the Mexico friendly and especially praised the young stars in the squad.

"It was a well-deserved victory. Mexico didn't have any real chances at the goal. The young Croatia players really made the best of their time on the pitch; I want to congratulate everyone on a fantastic game," said Rakitić.

Vice-captain Vedran Ćorluka was well-aware that this game would be an especially scrutinized one as it follows a loss against Peru (2:0), and that major changes needed to be made in Croatia's game.

"After our loss against Peru, we knew we had to play more aggressively and make some big changes. We did exactly that. Our counter-attacks were stellar and we had a lot of good chances during the game. We won and, at the end of the day, that's what matters most," said Ćorluka.

Though Ćorluka is the usual choice for team captain when Luka Modrić is not present, head coach Zlatko Dalić and Ćorluka agreed that Rakitić was to wear the captain's armband for the friendly against Mexico.

"For me, there is truly no greater honour. I want to thank the head coach and my teammate Vedran. I told the boys that the most important thing is to stick together," stated Rakitić.

The games against Mexico and Peru were good tests for the World Cup, where Croatia will be playing in Group D against Argentina, Nigeria, and Iceland. When asked to comment on the lessons that Croatia has learned in their preparatory friendlies, Ćorluka was blunt but optimistic.

"I hope that we learned that our approach always has to be as serious as tonight and that we cannot allow ourselves to underestimate the importance of any game. I am optimistic about Croatia's performance at th World Cup. We made it clear today that we have a lot of quality players in our squad, that we play well and that we can beat a strong and challenging team," declared Ćorluka.

While Croatia was winning against Mexico, fellow Group D members all lost their friendly matches. When asked about the losses, Rakitić warned against reading too much into the results of one game.

"The World Cup can't be won by playing a single good game, and we also cannot discard any teams for playing a single bad one. We need to get some rest and prepare well so that we can show our full potential at the World Cup."

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