Croatia’s coach and players are determined to bring third-place honors home to their country.
There are two ways to look at losing a semi-final match. Defeat, no matter how you look at it, is crushingly disappointing, but it may be addressed with hope and drive or with despair that leads to much more pain.
The tone in the Croatian camp appears to have shifted toward the former. Though coach Zlatko Dalic stated that his team’s star Luka Modric was “as sad as this in a long time,” he and other important players are obviously ready to step up and earn the bronze medal by defeating Morocco in the World CupTM third place play-off.
“People in Croatia are extremely proud,” Dalic told FIFA+, “and nobody is mad about [the semi-final] result. I know that people in Croatia are happy, and proud of us. This defeat hit the players hard, and my job, together with my coaching staff, is to get back on the right track.
Dalic also discussed Modric’s influence on Croatia’s international standing. “The whole world talks about Luka Modric,” he said, “He [has done] so many things that I don’t think anyone will ever achieve again in the future. A World Cup championship, a silver medal from Russia, and ideally a bronze medal from Qatar, in two World Cups in a succession. Looking back, it’s difficult for me to believe I’m a part of all of this, that I worked with Modric, and that we have a chance to win the bronze medal.
“I’m not even sure this will be Modric’s last World Cup match, to be honest. It’s possible he surprises us again. Either way, I want to thank him for everything that he has done for Croatia and for football. He is a great player and a great person.” – the coach