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Perišić: "To celebrate this bronze once again, at sold-out Poljud"
photo by: Drago Sopta/HNS

National Teams > Men > A

Croatia back in action after Qatari joy

Perišić: "To
celebrate this bronze
once again, at
sold-out Poljud"

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Croatia national football team is back in action, for the first time after the magnificent achievement, the bronze-winning FIFA World Cup campaign in Qatar.

Against Wales in Split, the Vatreni embark on a EURO 2024 qualifying campaign, simultaneously providing the fans with another opportunity to salute their phenomenal success in Doha. The encounter with Wales will be especially inspiring for Ivan Perišić. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, he will earn his 124th international cap.

"It's nice to be home again. It's especially nice to meet the national team again, after the great result at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Three months later, it all seems somehow fresh. In any case, we are happy to be back together again", says Perišić, aware of the significance of this Qatari achievement.

"We will probably get even more aware, as time passes by. To win medals at the consecutive World Cup is phenomenal thing, but it's just the affirmation of this team's continuity. Following the silver in Russia '18, no one could have predicted that we'll be at the podium again at the very next World Cup. Yet, we did it. Now we have proof that Croatia is a football powerhouse, as we have confirmed our quality at a big stage, repeating major achievements. Moreover, it was done with a rejuvenated team, which adds extra value to our bronze".

Since there is no living in the past in football, the Vatreni go to prove this quality in another qualifying campaign.

"True, there are new challenges ahead. We await clashes with Wales and Turkey, opponents who deserve to be fully respected. It's very important to open this campaign with positive outcomes. During the previous years, we have set the bar very high, the expectations are now very high. We are aware of this, and we embrace the responsibility. The EURO 2024 berth is an imperative, in terms of continuity".

Another mitigating circumstance is that Croatia's has already bought the ticket for the EURO 2024 play-offs, but everybody in Croatia camp desires the direct qualification.

"We don't want to take any chances. Good results in the UEFA Nations League provide another opportunity, but we want to qualify directly".

The Poljud Stadium is sold-out, which means that Croatia will have a strong tail wind against Wales.

"There is always a fantastic atmosphere at Poljud, we all enjoy playing in Split. I am convinced that this time it will all be the same. The game against Wales will be another opportunity to celebrate the Qatari bronze with our fans, to start the qualifying campaign with a victory. Our approach will definitely be appropriate, we desire more success and we know the importance of these points. Furthermore, we'll be extra motivated in front of our numerous fans".

The Wales and Turkey tests will also be seen as the preparation stage for the UEFA Nations League Final Four.

"The expectations at the final tournament are also high. That's the opportunity for another historic achievement, even though we have already done a great job. It would be nice to go all the way, yet we know how difficult it is. All four teams have the right to hope, these are top teams and the smallest of differences can become crucial. In the semifinals, we play the Netherlands - they performed well in Qatar, but we also have quality. Croatia is ready to thrill once again", Perišić concludes.

foto: Drago Sopta/HNS

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