Perception is Croatia’s greatest weapon vs Brazil at World Cup

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Croatian gamers have fun after deafeating Japan in the course of the World Cup spherical of 16 soccer match between Japan and Croatia on the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. (AP Photograph/Francisco Seco)

AP

When it comes to inhabitants, there is no contest between Brazil and Croatia.

“Brazil has 200 million individuals, we solely have 4 million,” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić stated Tuesday. “So we’re just about like a suburb of a significant metropolis in Brazil.”

Certainly, Croatia is among the least populous nations who certified for this World Cup.

On the soccer area, nonetheless, Croatia has been punching above its weight for years, ever because it completed third in 1998 in its first World Cup as an impartial nation, proper as much as reaching the 2018 last in Russia.

So Croatia has perception coming into a quarterfinal towards five-time champion Brazil on Friday.

“By no means underestimate Croatia. Croatia is a small nation. However we’re courageous, defiant and dependable,” Dalić stated. “We are going to all the time give every thing we’ve bought, particularly this technology of gamers.”

Goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic saved three spot kicks in Croatia’s penalty shootout win over Japan on Monday.

Livaković comes from the identical city, Zadar, as Croatia’s 37-year-old captain Luka Modrić. He was the backup goalkeeper to Danijel Subasic in 2018.

Mario Pašalić, who transformed the decisive penalty for Croatia, had already executed the identical factor for AC Milan in a shootout win over Juventus within the 2016 Italian Tremendous Cup — which was additionally performed in Qatar.

“We practiced penalties the day earlier than the sport and I noticed Livaković saving 4 or 5 glorious penalties,” Dalić stated. “I don’t assume it’s luck. It’s psychological power. It’s character. It’s braveness.”

The shootout victory got here following a 1-1 draw after further time, wherein Japan opened the scoring in the course of the first half.

Croatia additionally fell behind in each sport of the knockout stage in 2018.

“That reveals the desire and the dedication and the religion of the entire group,” Dalić stated. “It’s one factor taking part in for the golf equipment — it’s a matter of contracts, it’s a matter of status. However it’s a very totally different factor to symbolize your nation, as a result of that is patriotism — it’s satisfaction, it’s emotion, so it’s totally different.

“I’m very comfortable and proud that I’ve the gamers who react in that means,” the coach added, “that may present this power of character.”

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Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf

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AP World Cup protection: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

This story was initially revealed December 6, 2022 10:34 AM.

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