Leading Group F with 4 points, Croatia only needs one unit against the Red Devils on Thursday to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup. Nevertheless, the Croats do not want to calculate because a defeat against Belgium could eliminate them.
“We have no room for error,” warned Zlatko Dalic, the Croatian coach, Wednesday at a press conference. “It’s never good to calculate and we will play to win. It’s an important game for both teams. Belgium also want to qualify and we will have to give everything on the pitch.”
Despite the Belgians’ loss to Morocco and recent rumors of tensions within the Red Devils group, Dalic still considers Belgium to be ‘a fantastic team’. “You should not take into account their last performances and we have not paid attention to what has been circulating in the press. Belgium are a great team and have excellent players like Kevin De Bruyne or Eden Hazard. It will be a difficult match for us against a solid opponent.”
For the duel against Croatia, Romelu Lukaku could be aligned at kick-off. “Lukaku is an important player for Belgium and he changes their animation. He is a player who is very strong in duels and it is up to us to try to stop him. We know he is in lack of rhythm but he is still a very good player.”
Even eleven as against Canada?
After the 4-1 victory against Canada on Sunday, Dalic should field the same base XI against the Red Devils on Thursday. “The players gave their all against Canada. I don’t know yet if I will make any changes. We still have training and I will make a decision,” concluded the Croatian coach.
Facing the Red Devils, the team at the checkered flag nevertheless intends to continue its momentum of the match against Canada and validate its qualification for the 8th. “It was together that we beat Canada and we will prove tomorrow (Thursday, editor’s note) that we are a group,” said Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic.
The Chelsea player knows, however, that Croatia will have to show their “best face” to overcome the Red Devils. “We know it will be a difficult match against a team that has many qualities. Nevertheless, we have to stay focused on ourselves,” concluded Kovacic.
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