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Croatia as strong as in '98, says Kovac


ZAGREB, May 17 (Reuters) - Croatia's World Cup squad lacks the individual talent of the team that won bronze at the 1998 finals in France but still has the quality to do well at this year's tournament, Bayern Munich defender Robert Kovac said on Friday.

"That (1998) generation had (AC Milan midfielder) Zvonimir Boban, the head, creator and mastermind of the team. Now we no longer have such a player but we are a whole that stills know how to do the job," Kovac was quoted as saying in Friday's Vecernji List newspaper.

"I am therefore convinced we are not weaker than those who got the bronze," he said, adding the team's "minimum ambition" was to get through to the second round.

Croatia face Italy, Mexico and Ecuador in the group stages of the tournament which starts on May 31.

"All we need is a little luck to repeat the 1998 feat," Kovac said.

Kovac is likely to pair up with Inter Milan's Dario Simic at the back, after central defender Igor Tudor of Juventus dropped out at the last moment to undergo ankle surgery.

"I actually prefer that system, the four-man backline, with two full backs and two wingers, that way the wingers can switch into the attack more quickly," the 27-year old said.
05/17/02 04:52 ET


Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
 

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You know what? Jozic is starting to piss me off. All the NT players are talking of their confidence in Korea/Japan. Jozic, instead, talks how they are weaker than their opponents without Tudor and has not mentioned one positive thing about Croatia in the WC. I don't know, maybe he's going reverse psychology on the players.
 

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ha look at us we are already blaming Jozic and the w/c hasn't even begun yet!:D

well honestly if we do play bad and without any offensive flair then i will be angry at him too

but if we just somehow manage to get to the quarter finals Italian style(boring defensive) then everyone including me will say what a great coach he is! lets just wait to praise him or kill him after the world cup:)
 

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I think...

that the reason Jozic is not as confident is that he doesn't like mushrooms...that's it...the other guys are being fed "confidence" enchancing mushrooms :) :D :cool:
 

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you cant go into the game thinking you are going to easily beat some1... especially not some1 like mexico... Jozic is tryin to keep it real and make ppl perform better... we cant play like we did vs hungary
 

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I read the Vecernji List story, Robert went on to say that we will play much more attractive football with two full backs(Himself and Simic) instead of the usual libero in Tudor. He believes we're very strong and capable of upsetting anyone.
 

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I think Jozic knows the Croat mentality well and its pretty easy to be fed the upbeat bull**** by the media after France98 so he his trying to be level headed which i think is required.

No matter how gifted a team if not mentally prepared you might as well not have turned up epecially given the closeness of teams in the coming WC02 you cant afford to give the opposition the edge.

AJMO VATRENI....
 

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I look at the players we have now and I too am confident.

We have good footballers and a blend of youth and experience.

........and we shall wipe the slated clean of these so called footballing nations and prove that the Croats are the world's FINEST, the only deserving ones that remain......
 

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Jesus Ljubo, we get the picture man ;)
 
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