Football

Kramaric of Croatia mocks the boss of Canada after winning the World Cup

DOHA, Qatar — The question came, as expected, and Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric smiled, as expected.

Did Canada head coach John Herdman’s comments about how his players were going to “fuck Croatia” serve to cheer the Croats ahead of this critical game?

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“I want to thank the coach of Canada for the motivation,” Kramaric said shortly after scoring twice in Croatia’s 4-1 win over Canada on Sunday, knocking the North American team out of the World Cup.

“We show who screwed who,” he added.

Canada led within two minutes through an excellent Alphonso Davies header, but Croatia responded with two goals in the first half and another pair of goals in the second to secure a comfortable win.

Herman’s comments before the game led to a Croatian tabloid putting his face on the front page in a graphic illustration questioning whether Canada had the guts to win the game.

Asked if he had any regrets, Herdman said: “Not in the first 20 minutes, no.

“I think there is respect for Croatia,” he added. “As I keep saying, we’re here to push as hard as we can. We’re here to change the mentality of the group. I could have been a little bit calmer coming out of it, but that’s my learning.” I’ll take that on the chin. But I think we showed in those first 25 minutes that little Canada can compete with the world.”

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic demanded respect before the game and had little to say afterward, though he noted that Herdman did not come to shake his hand after the loss.

“I didn’t see the other head coach after the game,” Dalic said. “He wasn’t there and that’s his way of doing things. He’s a very high quality professional but it will take him a while to learn some things.”

Croatia are joint leaders in Group F with just one game remaining, while Canada find themselves within an unbeatable four points, knocking them out of the tournament.

Davies’ opening goal made history – it was Canada’s first goal in a men’s World Cup – but the team couldn’t keep up that energy.

“I’m very happy at the moment,” Davies told TSN after the match. “I’m disappointed with the result. It’s not easy to accept defeat. We needed those three points.”

Herdman praised Croatia’s attack and merely pointed to his team’s final match as an opportunity to make a different kind of history, as Canada is still in search of its first men’s World Cup victory.

“We have to celebrate something we’ve been waiting for a long time,” Herdman said of Davies’ goal. “[But] When you open up to a team like Croatia, they’re going to be clinical in transition. I thought they were giving a master class in transition.

“I’m proud of what [the players] got tonight. They will be hurt. But then we look forward. We still have a lot to play for.”

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