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Dalic to remain Croatia coach after securing World Cup spot

Croatia have opted to keep Zlatko Dalic as their coach on a permanent basis after he secured their qualification for the World Cup.

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Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic

Zlatko Dalic will remain in charge of Croatia after guiding them through their World Cup qualifying play-off with Greece, the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) have confirmed.

The 51-year-old only took over at the start of October after Ante Cacic was sacked for failing to secure automatic qualification for next year's tournament.

Cacic had reportedly lost the support of several key members of the squad, including captain Luka Modric, and ultimately paid the price, leaving Dalic in charge for their final Group I qualifier – a 2-0 win away to Ukraine.

They followed that up with a 4-1 triumph over Greece in the first leg of their play-off, a victory which proved decisive, as Croatia claimed a 0-0 draw in the return match to ensure they will be in the draw for the World Cup group stage on December 1.

HNS president Davor Suker believes Dalic has effectively justified what originally looked to be a drastic move in getting rid of Cacic.

A statement from Suker on the HNS website read: "In the qualifiers against Ukraine and Greece, Zlatko Dalic has absolutely justified our confidence in him, confirming he was the right choice.

"We agreed quickly the first time in October, and we agreed quickly now. This proves we have a common objective, the success of the Croatian national team.

"I congratulate the head coach on everything he's done in a short period of time, and he has proved he deserves this position.

"HNS will ensure Zlatko and the team have the best conditions for the World Cup preparations, in order to achieve the best possible result."

HNS and Suker did not reveal the length of the contract that Dalic will sign.

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