Zlatko Dalic on brink of World Cup glory with Croatia — just four years after coaching in Saudi Arabia

Former Al-Hilal coach Zlatko Dalic will take charge of Croatia in the World Cup final. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2018
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Zlatko Dalic on brink of World Cup glory with Croatia — just four years after coaching in Saudi Arabia

  • Dalic led Al-Hilal to cup glory in 2013
  • 'All the best next Sunday' tweet the Riyadh giants

LONDON: Al-Hilal are rooting for their former coach to topple France and pull off an unlikely World Cup win on Sunday.
Zlatko Dalic has choreogrpahed Croatia’s fairytale run to the final of the tournament in Russia yet just four years ago he was in charge of Al-Hilal. His period in Riyadh is clearly fondly remembered.
“Congratulations to @DalicZlatko on qualifying for the #WorldCup final,” read a tweet from the club Twitter’s account. “All the best next Sunday.”
In 2013, Dalic was promoted mid-season from managing the club's B team when Antoine Kombouare left and he won the Saudi Prince Cup and finished runners-up in the Saudi Pro League, but his contract was not extended that summer and he was replaced by Sami Al-Jaber.
Dalic won 11 of his 18 games in charge and left the King Fahd International Stadium with a win percentage of 61. He went on to coach in Al-Ain for three years before landing the Croatia job last year.
“Zlatko remains very popular there,” said Khalid Ghadin, who works for the Saudi Professional League. “When he left Hilal he had many lucrative offers from clubs smaller than Hilal, but he rejected them all. It was the same when he left Al-Ain. He always said he would not be guided by money, and now he is coach of his national team.”

Dalic also acknowledged the support he has received from the Gulf in a tweet.

 


Drew Brees brilliance, Tom Brady’s bumbling and buoyant Bills — NFL Week 3 review

Updated 7 min 47 sec ago
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Drew Brees brilliance, Tom Brady’s bumbling and buoyant Bills — NFL Week 3 review

Here is Arab News’ weekly examination of all the talking points from the NFL.

Has Drew Brees’ loyalty cost him greatness?
There are very few records left to break for the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees. In Sunday’s thrilling overtime win against divisional rivals Atlanta Falcons, Brees broke Brett Favre’s record for the most completed passes in NFL history. In the coming weeks, he will likely overtake Peyton Manning’s NFL record for career passing yards — Brees needs just 417 more to claim that record.
Yet, for all his numerical greatness, he has just one Super Bowl ring. Since 2006, Brees has been the Saints’ quarterback, and the stars aligned in 2009 as his efforts clinched an emotional Super Bowl for the team. But he has not been back to the Big Game since, and one has to wonder whether, if he had had the attacking weapons at the disposal of Manning and Tom Brady over the past decade, he could have won a few more. When he does finally call it a day, he will look back fondly on a fantastic career, but perhaps with a touch of regret that — in a sport where titles matter — he will not be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Brady, John Elway and Joe Montana.

Is the Patriots dynasty finally waning?
Speaking of Brady, we are in uncharted waters with the New England Patriots after losing to the previously winless Detroit Lions for back-to-back defeats. Over the past 15 years, that has only happened six times. Worse still, onlookers labeled it one of the low points in Bill Belichick’s 19 years at the franchise. The usually potent and formidable attacking line of the Patriots has not clicked at all this season. There is hope for Pats fans, though, as they have made similarly bad starts before and gone on to win the whole thing. But there is a nagging feeling that this is the beginning of the end for this all-conquering Patriots dynasty.

The NFL is anything but predictable
Hollywood loves an underdog movie about gridiron — think “Any Given Sunday” — but in the NFL, life sometimes imitates art. In the first two weeks of the season, the Buffalo Bills looked like a high school team. This week, they turned up to face the much-fancied Vikings in their own back yard and trounced them 27-6. Meanwhile, the league’s dark horses, Jacksonville, were far from championship-winning material in a dour 9-6 loss to the Titans. A lot of non-sporting nonsense surrounds the NFL, but at its core is an intriguing, exciting and highly unpredictable sport.

We could watch the Kansas City Chiefs every week
The exploits of Patrick Mahomes make the Chiefs the most exciting team to watch in the NFL at the moment, but their blistering offensive line and sometimes shambolic defense mean their games have been high-scoring blockbusters. They became the first team to score 38 points or more in a game during the first three weeks with a 38-27 win over San Francisco, but they have also conceded 92 points in those three matches. Not bad, considering they are spearheaded by Andy Reid, the man sacked by the Eagles for making them too defensively minded and negative.