Dalic gives new hope to Croatia
ZAGREB: Croatia fired on all cylinders when they needed to most under new coach Zlatko Dalic as a 4-1 home rout of Greece in their 2018 World Cup European qualifying play-off on Thursday vindicated his hasty appointment after their World Cup qualifying campaign had threatened to collapse.
The result of the first leg left Greece with an almost impossible task to overhaul the deficit in tomorrow’s return leg, after Dalic’s adventurous formation tore them apart at Maksimir stadium.
The 51-year-old Bosnian-born Dalic stepped in for the unpopular and uncharismatic Ante Cacic.
His revamped side, freed from Cacic’s cagey tactics, produced what Croatian players, pundits and fans billed as one of their best performances in the last few years.
With Ivan Perisic, captain Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic at their usual high level, stand-in striker Nikola Kalinic, who replaced injured battering ram Mario Mandzukic, also stood out with a goal after winning a penalty converted by Modric.
Kalinic’s strike partner Andrej Kramaric, constantly overlooked by Cacic, continued his second lease of life with another goal after netting both against Ukraine. - Reuters