• Monday, October 20, 2014

Croatia know how to stop Neymar, Brazil: Kovac

Niko Kovac: Gettry Images
Niko Kovac: Gettry Images

Croatia coach Niko Kovac says his team know what they have to do to stop Brazil and Neymar when they meet in the opening match of the World Cup, Peter McVitie writes in Goal.com.

The two sides kick off the tournament on Thursday at the Corinthians Arena with Brazil the favourites to win the match and the competition outright.

But Kovac insists it will be no easy task for Luiz Felipe Scolari's men and says his team are capable of handling them.

"We know how to stop Neymar and Brazil," Kovac said at his press conference. "Brazil is not only Neymar - they have a great team, but Croatia also have excellent players.

"All those in the team know how nice it is to play for Croatia and how much we love our people. We will leave our heart on the field."

The teams last met in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, with Brazil winning 1-0, but Kovac says his side will fight for a good result against the five-time world champions and vowed to attack throughout the game.

The coach continued: "In Berlin, we were not able to surprise them, but we will give our best. No surrender - we will attack Brazil! Just as we did in the Serbia friendly. Possession is very important because Brazilians do not like to run for the ball."

Croatia captain Dario Srna also vowed to make it difficult for the South American hosts, insisting they will make their fans proud of them.

"I cannot promise that we'll go get a group win or beat Brazil, but we'll give every ounce of energy," he said. "It is a big day for us. All Croatians will be proud.

"The pitch is great and our preparation went great, the conditions in the camp are excellent, arriving in Sao Paulo went without problems.

"Fernandinho and Willian are my friends. We agree that Brazil is the favourite, but they will not find it easy."

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, June 12, 2014

Last modified: 2:23 pm Thursday, June 12, 2014

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