Zlatko Dalic and Luka Modric are not looking for revenge when Croatia meet Spain again in the Nations League.
Spain thrashed Croatia 6-0 in September and the sides face off in Zagreb on Thursday with top spot in League A’s Group 4 still up for grabs.
World Cup runners-up Croatia will qualify for the Nations League finals if they beat Spain and follow that up with another three points against England on Sunday.
And Croatia coach Dalic is focused on the task at hand rather than looking back at his side’s humiliation against Spain two months ago.
“In Elche, Croatia performed excellently for the first 20 minutes, but failed to convert chances,” Dalic told reporters. “Now, we do not seek revenge, but a really important victory.
“If we win, we can decide who tops the group against England at Wembley, and what an encounter that would be, just like the World Cup semi-finals.
“Spain do not focus on possession anymore, but on quick, direct moves, and we have to be careful – they were brilliant against us and we have to respect this.”
Dedicated to everyone who loves football pic.twitter.com/pCAs2Llc7i
— Luka Modrić (@lukamodric10) September 24, 2018
Real Madrid midfielder Modric, familiar with many Spain players from club level, agrees with Dalic’s assessment of the encounter.
“As always, we enjoy good team spirit on the eve of a really difficult match,” Croatia’s captain said. “We do not think about revenge, this will be an entirely new match, in front of our fans, and Croatia have to be patient and wise, staying true to our style until the end.
“We will give our best, supported by the cheers from the stands, and I believe we can achieve a positive result. Back in September, we were emotionally and physically empty, and that’s normal in football. However, now we are in a better shape, and we need to show this on the pitch.
“Playing for Croatia is our main driving force, regardless of the competition or the opponent. Spain are full of great players, and their new manager [Luis Enrique] has brought new energy and created a compact team that knows what to do. Still, we are not afraid, and we can win.”
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