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National Teams > Men > A

Messi's Argentina

Dalić and Rakitić
agree: "Croatia must
enjoy the challenge"

21.06.2018.
Dalić and Rakitić agree: "Croatia must enjoy the challenge"
photo by: HNS
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Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić and vice-captain Ivan Rakitić held a press conference on the eve of the Argentina encounter in Nizhny Novgorod.

Zlatko Dalić

"As I've mentioned, there will be a couple of tactical changes, but not too many, since we were very organized against Nigeria. This is no time for major changes, Croatia will stay true to its style and try to present quality. We respect Argentine, one of the best teams in the world, but we respect ourselves as well. It will be a great match, the easiest one for us since it is Messi's Argentina on the other side. Of course, Argentina is not the easist opponent, but we've got nothing to lose, and the pressure is on them. Croatia will not seek a draw, because then we'll be left empty-handed"

"I agree that Messi is the best player in the world and no player can defend single-handedly. Our formation must be our defence, to keep him away from the ball, but simultaneously we have to watch out for other Argentina players. If we stay compact in defence, we can try to transform into attack. However, we can't defend as Iceland did, since we have no such players, but I have limitless trust in my players. We care about the outcome, but my players have to enjoy football show their skill"

Ivan Rakitić

"It is a great opportunity to play against one of the best teams in the world and Croatia highly motivated. It's a special feeling to play against Argentina, a favourite to win the World Cup, regardless of their draw against Iceland. Croatia plays differently, and the outcome is important to both teams. We expect an aggressive opponent, and considering they have the best player in the world, it could be tough. However, we believe in our quality, required to make our dreams come true. It will be a beautiful day at the World Cup"

"We want to show that Croatia is strong, we need a perfect, united team performance to win a point or three. Our head coach is ready for any scenario, yet we are aware that Messi is the best and that he will have his moments. We need to stop him, but also to enjoy the match. Messi is an excellent teammate and I wish him all the best, except against Croatia. There is no player more proud to wear Argentina jersey and we all admire that. I am proud to have the opportunity to play with both Messi and Modrić - different players, but equally necessary at Barcelona and Croatia. I would always include them both in my ideal XI"

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Standings

1.Croatia3+69
2.Argentina3-24
3.Nigeria3-13
4.Iceland3-31