Ex-Australia international Josip Skoko backed former team-mate Zlatko Dalic to take Croatia “quite a way” at the World Cup.
Croatia showed they were potential contenders in Russia with a 3-0 thrashing of Argentina sealing their spot in the last 16 on Thursday.
Dalic only took over at the helm of the European nation in October last year, helping them qualify for the showpiece event before signing a contract until 2020.
Skoko played alongside Dalic in midfield for Hajduk Split in the 1990s, while he also counts Danijel Subasic and Ivan Strinic among his former team-mates.
The former Socceroo, who played 51 times in the green and gold, said Dalic always looked set for a coaching career.
“He’s very much an organiser, really good talker. He’s quiet, he’s not a loud character,” Skoko told Omnisport.
“But he knows what he’s doing and as soon as they appointed him, because he wasn’t really a known coach over here, I just said to people that he’s a smart guy.
“I didn’t really know what sort of path his coaching had taken, but I know he’s a very smart character who knows his football.
“I sort of thought immediately it was an interesting appointment and that he’d do well.”
— HNS | CFF (@HNS_CFF) June 22, 2018
A point against Iceland would be enough for Croatia – into the knockout stage for the first time since 1998, when they finished third – to seal top spot in Group D.
Skoko believes Dalic can lead his squad, which includes the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic, to further success in Russia.
“I think even without the result [against Argentina], everybody knows the quality of the team and that they can go far,” he said.
“It’s just a question of once you get through the group, what sort of run you get, who you come up against and what sort of day you have.
“They’ve got the quality, they’ve got the firepower up front and now with Dalic really organising them well, they seem like they’re playing really well as a team and that’s key.
“It’s huge that they’ve got through the group, they haven’t done it for a while, so they’re really excited and I think they can go quite a way.”
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