Euro 2024: Croatia Manager Aims Swipe at England As He Passionately Defends His Team

Euro 2024: Croatia Manager Aims Swipe at England As He Passionately Defends His Team

Rene Otinga
updated at June 19, 2024 at 12:22 PM
In this article:
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  • Croatia manager, Zlatko Dalic, has hit out at critics who refer to his team as ‘dark horses’ in all major international tournaments
  • The 2018 World Cup finalists suffered a humiliating opening group game defeat to Spain on Saturday, June 15, losing 3-0 to La Roja
  • Dalic slammed England’s poor record on the international front and questioned why The Three Lions are always considered as favourites

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Croatia manager, Zlatko Dalic, passionately defended his team from claims that they are ‘dark horses’ in the Euro 2024.

Dalic’s side, popularly known as Kockasti (Chequered Ones) in their home country, got off to the worst possible start at the European championships, suffering a 3-0 defeat to Spain on Saturday.

Croatia manager, England, Euro 2024, defeat, Dark Horses, Underdogs.
Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic, was critical of the fact that his nation is never considered favourites at any international tournament the same way England is. Photo: Selim Sudheimer/Matt McNulty.
Source: Getty Images

All three of La Roja’s goals were scored in the first half as Croatia were made to pay for their lackluster ways and a lack of clinical edge.

Now sitting bottom of Group B, Luka Modric and his teammates cannot afford any more slip-ups in their remaining two group games - against Albania and Italy.

Dalic slams England

Speaking ahead of the match against Albania on Wednesday, June 19, the Croatia coach was thoroughly critical of the notion that his side goes into major tournaments as potential surprise packages.

"It wasn’t a pretty sight, it wasn’t great to watch, we didn’t get a great feeling,” the 57-year-old said, per The Mirror.
“But we are always the dark horse, we are always not among the favourites, nobody believes in us but in the past six years we have won three medals. After France, our national team is the first team to have done this so I always keep saying that Croatia deserves greater respect from everyone else for what we have managed to do.

The coach further used England’s shortcomings at major international tournaments to further his point, adding:

“We have won three medals, England won one [more than] 50 years ago but they are a great team, we are not, we are always the dark horse. We are little but we are brave, we will fight and we have the evidence of thousands of Croats in Berlin.

Croatia’s recent success

Ranked 10th in FIFA’s latest rankings, Croatia have been a force to reckon with in recent years.

At the 2018 World Cup, they made it to the final, losing 4-2 to France. That feat enabled one of their own – Modric - to win a maiden Ballon d’Or.

Their Euro 2020 campaign was disappointing, as they only reached the last 16 of the competition, where they got knocked out by Spain.

Amends were made in Qatar at the 2022 World Cup, as Croatia finished in third place, behind France and eventual winners Argentina.

Another impressive stat the Vatreni boast is they have qualified for every major tournament since 1994, except the Euro 2000 and 2010 World Cup.

Ten Hag slams Southgate

Sports Brief also reported on Erik ten Hag’s recent dig at Gareth Southgate.

The Manchester United boss was critical of how England won their opening Euro 2024 game against Slovakia.

While speaking to Dutch broadcaster NOS, the 53-year-old claimed the England team was very ‘passive’, and accused Southgate’s men of allowing Serbia to attack.

The Three Lions were lucky to come away with all three points against Serbia, who could have easily found an equaliser in the second half on Sunday, June 16.

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and