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.

 


France overpower Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup final

Updated 15 July 2018
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France overpower Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup final

  • France overwhelmed Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium
  • Croatia fought hard for an hour but gradually ran out of steam after playing extra time in their three previous matches

MOSCOW: France overwhelmed Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium on Sunday to lift the trophy for the second time in 20 years.
The French, playing their third World Cup final, were made to sweat initially and were lucky to go ahead when Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic headed an Antoine Griezmann free kick into his own net in the 18th minute, the first own goal in a World Cup final.
Ivan Perisic levelled with a powerful shot 10 minutes later but the Croatia midfielder was then penalized for handball following a VAR review and Griezmann stepped up coolly to convert the 38th-minute penalty and put France 2-1 up.
Croatia fought hard for an hour but gradually ran out of steam after playing extra time in their three previous matches, and goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe gave France a three-goal cushion.
Mandzukic pounced on a mistake by France keeper Hugo Lloris to cut the deficit in the 69th minute, making it the highest-scoring final over 90 minutes in 60 years, but Croatia could not find the net again in their first World Cup final.