Recognising that this can be his final World Cup after 11 years with the Croatian nationwide group, Ivan Rakitic is nonetheless optimistic that he and his colleagues might do one thing particular in Russia… in the event that they’re in a position to obtain what nobody else has so far: Find the system to cease Lionel Messi.
How are Croatia shaping up for the World Cup?
“We’re in good spirits and we have labored actually onerous with unbelievable drive to get within the good situation to have a very good event. We’ve bought a high-quality group, with gamers from prime golf equipment and who’re coming into the World Cup with the fitting stage of expertise to compete.”
What has Dalic dropped at Croatia?
“Every coach brings totally different concepts and he is younger, however he is getting on rather well. He’s used to successful and competing on the highest stage, and for him, communication is essential. He likes to be in and across the gamers and we belief him. He deserves our assist.”
Attack, defence, psychological facet: What is a very powerful factor to have at a profitable cup competitors just like the World Cup?
“A little bit of the whole lot as a result of all of these features are necessary. The job together with your nationwide group is totally different. You’ve bought to have a look at it otherwise as a result of you do not have the day-to-day work like at a membership.
“The huge factor is having clear concepts and getting ready effectively sufficient. For Croatia, the members of the nationwide group play for thus many alternative golf equipment. It’s not like Spain the place just about the primary group are all at both Madrid or Barcelona and might apply their footballing philosophy to the nationwide group.”
Do Balkan groups have particular aggressive genes?
“The Balkan nations have at all times had this. It’s an necessary trait however let’s not overlook that every one groups are in search of the identical factor. There is not a group that exists that can say ‘thanks for letting us be right here’ and that is it. We wish to be the shock package deal in Russia.”
Will it’s the final time we see the nice partnership you’ve got solid with Modric for Croatia?
“It could possibly be. I’ve already bought 11 years beneath my belt. I wish to wait and see how the competitors pans out, so I do not know but if I’m going to hold on. For now, I wish to benefit from the World Cup. The need to end up in your nationwide group’s colors is at all times going to be the strongest as a result of it provides you the best satisfaction. After Russia, we’ll sit down and see what’s for the very best.”
Does Croatia reside within the shadow of the 1998 World Cup squad once they completed third?
“There is that. People at all times say the identical factor to us, remind us what they did and decide us in opposition to that end result. We settle for the stress and channel it in a optimistic and wholesome approach as a result of folks simply need us to do effectively. Before, we could not. But now I hope we do, as a result of we’re getting older and there is not a lot time left to do it.”
Have you already spoken to Dalic about learn how to cease Messi?
“In soccer, nobody has discovered the system as learn how to cease Messi. Not Dalic, not me, nobody can. What we have got to do is take pleasure in him. We measure ourselves in opposition to the very best and to have the chance to face the very best is sensible. We know that it should be troublesome however so will the video games be in opposition to Nigeria and Iceland. We realise that it is simply particular to go up in opposition to Leo however he additionally is aware of that all of us wish to play effectively in opposition to him.”
Can you take pleasure in it although, when he’s a rival?
“I did not say that it is good. But that is the World Cup and these are the very best gamers that you simply compete in opposition to. It’s a particular motivation to savour. All eyes might be on Leo, and no matter is claimed, they’re the favourites. But we wish to present those that Croatia are a very good group and that we’re going alongside to do nothing lower than compete. We should not be taken frivolously.”
Does soccer owe a World Cup to Messi?
“Surely he deserves to win it for who he’s. Football is not tennis: you’ll be able to’t put Messi beneath stress by saying he alone has to win the World Cup. He does deserve it however there are 32 nations with the identical dream. If he wins it on the finish, we are going to all be completely happy for him. However, his story is just not going to vary if he wins it or not. If you’re the greatest, you might be it independently of whether or not you win one or 50,000 titles. One World Cup is not going to change what Leo Messi means to soccer.”
What have you learnt about Nigeria?
“They are a hard-working group. They have a German coach that appears to be compact they usually have sturdy gamers with spectacular counterattacking expertise. We must be very well-prepared.”
And with Iceland, it is beginning to be like a clasico fixture?
“There’s already been too many instances! We’ve bought a rating to settle with them as a result of they topped our group. They know learn how to play easy however efficient soccer. They are aggressive and might be 100 p.c up for it. They might be much more motivated at their first World Cup.”
Could Croatia win the World Cup?
“We do not must suppose too far forward. We’ve bought to deal with the primary sport in opposition to Nigeria after which to get out of the group. Once we get into the knockout levels, something is feasible if we’re taking part in effectively.”
Are Spain the favourites?
“I’m in little question. I hope that it’s a aggressive World Cup, performed with depth. It’s going to be probably the greatest editions with hard-fought video games and some surprises on the best way. Spain is a step forward of the remaining they usually proceed to be the primary group.”
Don’t you suppose Spain are missing a purpose risk?
“I’d be extra anxious in the event that they weren’t making possibilities. Spain make 10 or 15 possibilities in each sport.”
How do you price Brazil in opposition to what you’ve got seen just lately?
“They are a robust aspect. It’s unbelievable as they make adjustments however the group will get higher and higher. They are one other favorite, no query. Even extra so as a result of they’ve Neymar. He’s missing sport time however hopefully he he is in a position to be within the good situation for the primary video games.”
Has Modric been requested to recruit Neymar?
“I hope not. In my view, everybody has bought to comply with their very own path and make their very own choices. I do know that he’s actually completely happy in Paris however I knew additionally that he was very completely happy in Barcelona and he nonetheless went. If I might select, I would favor that he stays in Paris.”