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Croatia boss Dalic hopeful 'feistiness' of Argentina-Netherlands clash doesn't spill into World Cup semi-final

17:18 WAT 12/12/2022
Zlatko Dalic Croatia World Cup 2022
Zlatko Dalic says he wants the semi-final against Argentina to be a calmer affair than the South American country's clash against Netherlands.
  • Croatia meet Argentina in semi-final
  • Dalic wants a more pleasant occasion
  • Understands the stakes involved

WHAT HAPPENED? Croatia shocked many by dispatching tournament favourites Brazil on penalties, setting up a meeting against Lionel Messi's Argentina. Lionel Scaloni's side also won via spot-kicks, overcoming the Netherlands after a high-tempered 2-2 draw that saw a record 18 yellow cards shown. Dalic wishes for a less feisty affair on Tuesday.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking in a pre-match press conference, Dalic said: "I don't get angry at anyone in an emotional state of mind. Argentina against Netherlands was also quite feisty and difficult with many non-football related behaviours. I really hope this will not be the case tomorrow.

"Tomorrow's match is a great match for Argentina as well as us. The stakes are high for both and a spot in the final is at stake."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: This fixture has previous examples of hot-headedness with the two meeting in the 2018 group stages. Croatia ran out 3-0 winners en route to the final with then Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli refusing to shake Dalic's hand after the final whistle. The 56-year-old was asked about that, too, and said: "I understand the actors involved and the expectations were high back then [in 2018]. It happens and we shall not hold any grudges."


WHAT NEXT FOR DALIC? Despite the stories surrounding the game and how it could be played, Dalic's only focus will be on engineering a route through to another final for his Croatian side. A win could see them set up a repeat of the 2018 final should France beat Morocco.