Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic blasts Canadian coach for F-bombs and urges opponents to show ‘respect’

Canada boss Herdman revealed he told his players “go and ‘eff’ Croatia” in the crowd on the pitch following their hard-fought loss to Belgium in their World Cup opener on Wednesday.

The word ‘eff’ was widely considered to be short for obscenity and sparked a furor in the Croatian media, with one newspaper mocking Herdman’s picture naked on its front page.

Perisic and Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, who led his team to the 2018 World Cup final, was unimpressed by Herdman’s remarks, and accused the Englishman of being disrespectful at a news conference to view Sunday’s Group F meeting between the teams.

Addressing the issue first, Dalic said: “The Croatian team deserves everyone’s respect. We have proven that with the way we play and our behavior during the World Cup.

“We are runners-up, second in the world. We respect everyone equally so we expect our opposing teams to respect us. This way of putting the words together is not a sign of respect.”

Tottenham midfielder Perisic, sitting beside Dalic, added: “I’m rooting for the head coach and I can’t wait for the games to start.”

Croatia opened their campaign with a goalless draw against Morocco and Dalic admits his side must improve.

He said: “It will be a tough game. We have to adopt an aggressive attitude, because it will be more difficult than against Morocco. Canada are a tough team.”

Herdman, a County Durham-born former Sunderland youth coach who previously coached the Canadian women’s national team, has tried to brush off her frustrations at his comments.

He said: “We’ve been on a media blackout since November 14th, so we don’t see much in the media, but when you get a message from your wife telling you that you should start working out before you get home, you know something’s up!

“We are very excited for a very big game. Our team is very smart and ready to go, and this will be a defining moment for Canada in this World Cup.

“This is one of those ‘do or die’ games we have to make to survive the World Cup.”

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Hadwin Floyd

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