With five stars attached to its jersey, Brazil is the favorite of an enticing quarter-final of the World Cup-2022 against Croatia on Friday at the Education City stadium (4:00 p.m.), a poster that opposes two pure football countries.
We are playing against the big favourite, they are still favourites
", smiles Luka Modric, the star midfielder of the Vatreni (the Flamboyants) whom he had taken four and a half years ago to the final in Russia (4-2 defeat against France).
Brazil is the best team at this World Cup
," says coach Zlatko Dalic.
The danger comes from everywhere, we must not leave spaces, if we open the game we will have problems.
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Neymar, gang leader of an XXL team
With a Neymar recovered from his sprained right ankle, an insatiable Richarlison - author of three goals including two breathtaking -, a raging Raphinha, Tite's team swirls around their opponents.
She also dreams of a possible legendary semi-final against her great rival Argentina, who play their quarter-final against the Netherlands on Friday evening (Friday).
But if the Croats agree to take on the outsider's jersey, they have a completely different program in mind.
We will play our football
,” announces Modric.
As for Dalic, he says he has identified a flaw in the armor of the “
When they lose the ball they are in trouble, we will have to take advantage of
it," he said.
Moreover, Brazil does not arrive as a haughty conqueror.
Croatia are very resilient, they resist extra time
," warned assistant coach Xavier Cleber.
In their last seven knockout matches, the red-and-white checkered side have gone to extra time six times.
She won four, signing an impressive three out of three on penalties, last Monday against Japan in the round of 16 (1-1 victory, 3 tab to 1).
We have mental strength and a certain consistency in overtime
,” observes Modric.
Our last game gave us confidence, we know we can do it again
," continues the 2018 Ballon d'Or.
Also the Brazilian side Danilo remains cautious.
The Croatians “
have a lot of good players, Modric, Kovacic, Brozovic, Perisic... They are used to playing together.
18 Croatian players didn't experience the epic of 2018
In 2018, at the World Cup in Russia, when Brazil stopped in the quarter-finals, Croatia reached the final.
But Dalic points out that the selection has since changed.
It is, he says, "
a new team, 18 players weren't there four years ago
Friday, the Vatreni will rely on their hard core, these players mentioned by Danilo who were them from the Russian adventure.
There won't be many changes against Brazil
”, announces the Croatian coach.
History also makes Brazil the favourite, he who has never lost against Croatia.
After a draw in 2005 (1-1), the Seleçao won twice in the group stage of the World Cup, in 2006 in Germany (1-0) and in 2014 at home (3-1).
It's true that we played several times against Brazil, without success.
Hopefully we will change the traditions tomorrow (Friday)!
Talking of traditions, the “
” performed by the Brazilians to celebrate their goals raised some questions at the press conference.
I'm sorry, but I'm not going to apologize for our culture, for who we are
," Tite replied.
A lot of children will dance when we score, it's not a lack of respect.
It's our way of celebrating, and we'll keep it that way.
Dalic could not dance with his players like the Brazilian coach.
They have their way of celebrating, they are united, festive, they have character, these are their traditions and it is their right.
I wouldn't like to see my players celebrate like that, but they are different cultures and they like to dance.
“The culture of football, the two countries share it, and the references to the legends of this sport too.
Brazil will once again play for
O Rei " Pelé.
At 37, the legend of Croatian football, she, Luka Modric, is still on the ground.
How to redistribute the roles between favorites and outsiders?