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FIFA WC: We will need to guard against Lionel Messi, says Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic ahead of semi-final clash

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Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic has said that Croatia will need to keep a close eye on seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi in the semi-final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Croatia overcame a tough test from Brazil, while Argentina beat the Netherlands, to register a place in the last-4 of the tournament.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Dec 11, 2022 17:24 IST

Dalic says Croatia will need to guard against Lionel Messi (AP)

By India Today Web Desk: Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic has said that Croatia will need to keep a close eye on seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi in the semi-final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Croatia overcame a tough test from Brazil, while Argentina beat the Netherlands, to register a place in the last-4 of the tournament.

Speaking ahead of their clash, Dalic said the 2018 runners-up will be paying close attention on Messi, insisting that discipline will be vital in the semi-final tie.

“We need to guard against Messi, but not in a player-on-player style, as we didn’t [do that] in our last meeting. We know how much he runs, how much he likes to play with the ball at his feet and the key to our defensive phase will be discipline. If we repeat the same thing as against Brazil, which is that we are close [to him], that we stand by the player, we have nothing to fear,” said Dalic.

He said that while Messi is Argentina’s main player, they also have many young and talented players that are looking very dangerous.

“We will make a detailed analysis of [Argentina] because we have not been so focused on them so far. Messi is still their main player, who plays great and carries this national team. They also have some young, talented players and they look very dangerous,” Dalic added.

Dalic said that Argentina also has a vulnerable side to them, sheding light on some of their recent results in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“However, they showed they are vulnerable because they led 2-0 against the Netherlands, and in the end they barely reached penalties at 2-2. It’s up to us to give our best and go into the game one hundred per cent focused,” said Dalic.

Argentina will face Croatia in the semi-finals, while defending champions France will lock horns with Morocco in the other semi-final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.



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