World cup: Croatia downplay high expectations after goalless draw against Morocco
Al Khor (Qatar) Nov. 23 (IANS): Held to a goalless draw by Morocco in their World Cup Group F game on Wednesday, Croatian captain Luka Modric downplayed the high expectations for his team, saying that they need to take it one step at a time.
“Morocco are a difficult opponent, they are tricky and difficult to play against,” said Player of the Match Modric. “We had great defense today and didn’t allow them to get close.”
As runners-up at the 2018 Russian World Cup, Croatia came to Qatar as one of the favorites, but Modric insisted that their first and foremost focus at the moment is the remaining two group games,reports Xinhua.
“Prior to the 2018 World Cup, our ambition was to pass the group. It is the same now,” he added. “But we would be a dangerous opponent if we pass the group.”
Head coach Zlatko Dalic also refused to make a comparison between the team now and the one four years ago, as it is now “a new national team with a lot of new players.”
“We are not totally satisfied with the result today. We had control and possession, but didn’t create enough decisive opportunities or go forward as we wanted to,” said Dalic.
“Morocco were an opponent that is compact and well-prepared for us. They waited for us to make mistakes and used our weak spots,” he added. “They were faster than us in some cases, so we were afraid of their counterattacks. We were missing a bit of courage.”
“But we are moving on, and we will fight until the last minute.”