Croatia coach Ante Cacic has joked his squad will get drunk if they defeat Czech Republic, who are wary of their meeting with a team David Lafata dubbed a “little Spain”.
Cacic’s side got off to a winning start at Euro 2016 on Sunday, Luka Modric’s goal sealing a 1-0 victory over Turkey.
And earning another three points in Saint-Etienne on Thursday will seal their progression to the round of 16, with the 62-year-old already planning the celebrations.
“I was just wondering what to do if we beat Czech Republic … and I figured [it] out – we’ll get drunk, altogether, the whole team! Okay, we don’t need much; two, three beers,” he told reporters.
Darijo Srna will rejoin the Croatia squad for the match at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard after travelling home to attend his father’s funeral.
Cacic is looking forward to the return of his captain, who helped the boss get to grips with the role upon succeeding the sacked Niko Kovac in September.
“He [Srna] helped me a lot when I took over,” Cacic said.
“I visited him in Kiev and we had a long conversation in which I learned everything about the relations in the team.
“I would never forgive myself if he didn’t attend his father’s funeral. Darijo is taking care of his brother [who has Down syndrome], now [he has] lost his father. I admire his mental strength.”
The Czechs are in need of a positive result against Croatia after losing their opener 1-0 to holders Spain.
Lafata, who has acknowledged he was at fault for Gerard Pique’s winning goal in Toulouse, remains hopeful of making the knockout stages.
“There is no reason to panic,” he said.
“We’re all disappointed we lost to Spain, but the tournament isn’t over for us. We have two more games to achieve our goal, that’s why we came here.
“These two matches against Croatia and Turkey will be the turning point.
“We know another tough game is awaiting us.”
Pointing to Croatia’s La Liga-based midfield stars Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Lafata claimed Czech Republic’s next opponents are not far off the level of the defending champions, but he is nevertheless undaunted by their difficult assignment.
“With the stars playing at Real [Madrid] and Barcelona, they can be nicknamed small Spain,” he said.
“But there are lots of other good players at the tournament. In qualifying we were not expected to beat Netherlands, but we proved we could do it. Croatia are a good team, but we can still win.”
Cacic revealed Vedran Corluka will be fit to play despite the defender receiving multiple stitches for a head wound that bled profusely during the win over Turkey.
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