Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said that even a draw against England at Wembley on Sunday would be “something fantastic”, although such an outcome would mean they miss out on the inaugural UEFA Nations League finals next year.
Croatia’s win over Spain on Thursday means victory for either Dalic’s side or England at Wembley will secure top spot in Nations League Group A4 and a place in the finals, with the loser relegated to League B.
Croatia would also be relegated with a goalless draw, while a score draw would see England drop down to the league below.
Nonetheless, Dalic knows that in-form England, who have won three and drawn one of their last four games, will cause his side problems, meaning any points, regardless of the consequences, will be positive.
“They are very strong with young players who are very quick but I’m more worried about our team because we played against Spain and, yes, we are probably tired,” Dalic said.
“Maybe the time of the kickoff (1400 GMT) isn’t the best for us but what can we do? We will try to play our best and make a spectacular game. Even a draw would be something fantastic.”
Croatia were the surprise package at this year’s World Cup, reaching the final for the first time in their history after beating England in the last four — a journey Dalic was keen to revisit ahead of another clash between the teams.
“It will be our third match in three or four months and both teams know each other,” Dalic added. “There is going to be rivalry on the pitch but it will be in a sporting atmosphere.
“We beat them in the World Cup semi-final and nobody can forget that. For sure that will be the most important result from these three matches.”