Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic reveals tactics to stop Lionel Messi
What's the story?
Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic has revealed how his side stopped Argentine talisman Lionel Messi from wreaking havoc on his team during the World Cup in Russia.
In case you didn't know...
Croatia famously squandered Argentina's hopes of a win in a World Cup group stage game that ended in a 0-3 scoreline in Russia.
Dalic's exploits in Russia saw Croatia making their way to the World Cup final for the first time in its history and led Real Madrid star Luka Modric to win the FIFA Player of the Year award this year.
The heart of the matter
Despite stopping Messi at the World Cup, Dalic maintains that the Barcelona ace is still the best player in the world.
Speaking to Goal, he said, " For me, Leo Messi is the best player in the world, and he is showing that week after week."
The manager also revealed how he managed to nullify the 31-year-old's exploits in Russia.
Dalic said, "It's harder for Messi to play for Argentina than Barcelona, and we tried to exploit what we considered small weaknesses in the Argentinian team."
"The key was to be disciplined and to follow our tactical game plan fully, and our players did exactly that. We tried to stop the ball from reaching Messi and to contain him quickly in the areas where he likes to receive the ball."
"As good as Messi is, football is a team sport and if one team performs better than the other it's hard for any individual to turn everything around. Croatia were just a better team than Argentina in that game."
Dalic's Croatia await their next game against Luis Enrique's Spain in the UEFA Nations League on November 16.