Dejan Lovren understands Argentina’s concerns over Iceland facing a weakened Croatia team on Tuesday but maintains Zlatko Dalic’s men must look out for themselves.
Croatia are through to the last 16 of the World Cup with a game to spare, having pushed Lionel Messi and his colleagues closer to the exit door with a 3-0 demolition in Nizhny Novgorod.
The result left Argentina level on a single point along with Iceland, who are one better off in terms of goal difference after their 2-0 loss to Nigeria.
Victory over the Super Eagles in their final match would see Jorge Sampaoli’s men avoid bottom spot but would not be enough to qualify if Croatia take their foot off the gas.
“I fully understand Argentina’s concerns and their wish for Croatia to play a full team for the next game as well,” Lovren said at his team’s Roschino training base.
“But we must also think about the fact that we should not be playing the players who have yellow cards. That’s also our concern we need to keep in mind.”
Ivan Rakitic, Ante Rebic, Sime Vrsaljko, Mario Mandzukic, Marcelo Brozovic are all a booking away from suspension, although veteran defender Vedran Corluka, who is in the same situation, is slated to come into the starting line-up.
In total, seven to eight changes are expected, with second-choice goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic also set to start.
— Dom Farrell (@DomFarrell1986) June 24, 2018
Lovren cheerfully revealed Croatia’s so-called reserves had won two of the three training matches against the first XI during their camp and insists a perfect group-stage haul remains their focus.
“The head coach is the one who will make the final decision,” he added. “All of us are ready.
“Our goal, of course, is to win and get all nine points and we do not think the win over Iceland will be easy.
“We have already played them [during qualification] and we know they are a team that needs to be respected.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!