Ahead of his side’s World Cup matchup against Argentina, the 51-year-old manager sounded out a warning
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic has admitted that it’s not possible to stop Argentina star Lionel Messi, ahead of the two nations meeting at the World Cup next month.
Dalic’s side were drawn into Group D alongside Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland, and will face Messi and Co. in their second game on June 21.
Ahead of that fixture in Nizhny Novgorod, Dalic said his team have an incredibly difficult task ahead of them.
“Messi is the best payer in the world, [it’s] not possible to stop him,” Dalic told Goal.
“[We] have to stop the ball [from getting] to him because when he receives the ball, it’s very very difficult to stop him.”
Croatia have failed to advance past the group phase of a World Cup since finishing third at the 1998 competition in France.
Following group-stage eliminations in 2002, 2006 and 2014, Dalic has a very clear mission for his side in Russia.
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“Our first goal is to pass the group stage,” the 51-year-old said. “[It’s] most important for me to go to the round of 16. After [that it] will be easy for us.”
If Croatia do get out of Group D, they’ll face either France, Denmark, Peru or Australia in the round of 16. Dalilc, though, is aiming even higher.
When asked who he thought were the favourites to win the World Cup, Dalic replied: “Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Spain, and why not Croatia?”