Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic has said that their World Cup opening game against the Super Eagles is very important to them as it would decide their fate in the competition even as he described the Eagles as a young and hungry side ahead of the FIFA World Cup later in Russia.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, Coach Dalic said the Nigeria game will set the tone for the rest of Croatia’s tournament.
“Well, Iceland were the best team in our group. We know them very well and had a tough loss against them in Reykjavik,” Dalic stated.
“Argentina is obviously one of the favourites to win the World Cup, while I see Nigeria as a young, potent and hungry team with great potential,” the tactician added.
“That first match against Nigeria is very important – it will set the tone for the rest of our tournament.”
Dalic also believes that his team has a chance to excel in Russia, attributing it to the fact that Croatia has top players with great individual quality playing across Europe.
“We have good players in big European clubs, so obviously we have great individual quality in the likes of Modric, Mandzukic, Rakitic, [Ivan] Perisic, Kalinic and others.
“But our main strength has to be the team. Says Dalic
“I believe that pride and patriotism shown by our players when playing for Croatia is a very important attribute,”
“That’s something we need to combine with our quality; if we do that, we’ll have a good chance of reaching our goals,” Dalic concluded.