Mo­dric wants Dalic to lead Croa­tia at World Cup

Tehran Times - - SPORTS -

Croa­tia cap­tain Luka Mo­dric backed coach Zlatko Dalic to lead the na­tion in Rus­sia af­ter qual­i­fy­ing for the 2018 World Cup on Sun­day.

A 0-0 draw against Greece in Pi­raeus was enough for Croa­tia to ad­vance from their play-off 4-1 on ag­gre­gate, reach­ing the World Cup for a fifth time.

Dalic re­placed Ante Cacic as coach in early Oc­to­ber, lead­ing his team to two wins and Sun­day’s draw and to the show­piece event.

Mo­dric, who played a star­ring role in the first-leg win in Za­greb, said Dalic de­served to lead Croa­tia in Rus­sia.

“It would be crazy if Dalic wasn’t the coach,” the Real Madrid mid­fielder told re­porters.

“He did a phe­nom­e­nal job. I’d also like to thank coach Cacic. We have all done a good job.

“Croa­tia is above all and most im­por­tantly we are at the World Cup.”

Croa­tia were forced into a play-off af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond to Ice­land in Group I of UEFA qual­i­fy­ing.

The 4-1 first-leg win over Greece sent them on their way to Rus­sia, and Dalic’s side sat back and com­fort­ably held out the hosts on Sun­day.

“The qual­i­fiers were hard, but we are where we be­long,” Mo­dric said. “We maybe didn’t play at the level we know tonight, but the re­sult is most im­por­tant.

“We were lack­ing en­ergy and con­cen­tra­tion, but we didn’t lose the game and we all fought as one.

“We knew the crowd would be crazy, that they would push them for­ward, but we didn’t give them a clear chance.”

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