Football

Grieving Croatia ready to seal knockout spot

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Rocked by a second family bereavement in three days, Croatia will be determined to seal a last-16 berth when it meets the Czech Republic in a Group D clash on Friday, defender Domagoj Vida said.

Following the death of captain Darijo Srna’s father on Sunday, the team’s media officer said goalkeeping coach Marijan Mrmic’s father had also died on Tuesday night.

Srna, accompanied by coach Ante Cacic, went to his father’s funeral on Monday and returned to the team’s Deauville base camp in northern France ready to face the Czechs.

Do it for the skipper

Vida, a tough-tackling centre back personifying Croatia’s willpower in the face of adversity, said the team would go the extra mile for its skipper and Mrmic, who travelled home early on Wednesday.

However, the Czechs must come up with a bolder approach, having conceded a late goal against the Spaniards after working hard to contain the champions.

Striker Tomas Necid, who cut a lonely figure up front, said he hoped coach Pavel Vrba would field a more adventurous formation to haul it back into the race for a knockout stage berth.

“We haven’t discussed the tactics yet but I expect a more attacking set-up because only a win will do,” Necid told reporters at the team’s base in western France.

“Croatia already has three points in the bag and if we are to advance, we simply have to win this game.”

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 10:53:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/Grieving-Croatia-ready-to-seal-knockout-spot/article14426022.ece

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