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Croatia

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

12:18 AM MYT 13/12/2022
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."

IN THREE PHOTOS:

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.