Speaking before his team’s quarter-final meeting with Brazil in Qatar, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić described the Brazilians as the best team in the competition, saying that “danger comes from all sides”. However, Dalić suggested that his team have a plan to combat their free-wheeling opponents. Dalić explained:
“Brazil are the best team at this World Cup, they’re faster and more unpredictable than the others. The danger comes from all sides: Raphinha, Vinicius, Neymar and their strikers… If we give them space, we will have problems. When they lose the ball, they press high, but if they don’t win it back again within a few seconds, they then have a problem. We must not forget our system… we must not give them any space.”
Croatia emerged from Group F behind section winners Morocco after beating Canada and edging to a crucial draw with Belgium in their final group game before seeing off Japan in the last 16 via a penalty shootout.