Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic warned Wales his World Cup finalists will not “park the bus” when they clash on Sunday at an extraordinary Cardiff press conference in which his translator was replaced halfway through.
A Cardiff draw on Sunday will be enough for Croatia to qualify for the Euro 2020 finals next summer should Hungary fail to beat Azerbaijan in Budapest.
Dalic said: “We don’t need to win but we won’t force anything. We don’t have a team that can just defend and park the bus in front of its goal. We have to be patient and smart enough.
“The defensive side of the game for us will be very important. We need to be focused because we can’t expect to dominate the game.
“Wales have quality in the team – they showed that with 17 shots in the game in Slovakia – and the fact they are playing at home shows we need to be careful on the defensive side.”
Dalic’s words were translated by Croatia FA press officer Tomislav Pacak after he had replaced the original translator moments earlier.
Pacak stepped in as Bayern Munich winger Ivan Perisic spoke six minutes into the 18-minute press conference.
“If you don’t mind I will translate the rest of the press conference because you are missing out some pieces of information that he has said,” Pacak told the translator.
The Football Association of Wales uses translators recommended by UEFA.
Croatia are three points clear of second-placed Slovakia but would have had an even tighter hold on the group but for slipping up in Azerbaijan last month.
Azerbaijan claimed their only point in Group E by holding Croatia 1-1 in Baku.
“It was an important warning for us, especially as we had a similar situation in March against Hungary,” Dalic said.
“We played a good game against Azerbaijan in Zagreb but then not against Hungary in Budapest.
“It’s happened two times so, as I say, it’s a good warning for us.
“We expended a lot of energy against Hungary in Split on Thursday, so we need to recover as good as possible.”
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England fell to their first qualifying defeat in a decade as debutant Zdenek Ondrasek secured the Czech Republic a deserved victory against Gareth Southgate’s stuttering side.
The Three Lions arrived in Prague knowing victory would assure progress to Euro 2020 with three matches to spare – and few expected anything other than an away win given the 5-0 shellacking handed out to the Czechs at Wembley in March’s Group A opener at Wembley.
Expectation grew with Harry Kane’s early spot-kick, only for Jakub Brabec to quickly bring the Czech Republic level and provide the platform for substitute Ondrasek to punish a ponderous England performance and seal a shock 2-1 win.
Didier Deschamps admitted France had needed to dig deep after taking another step towards Euro 2020 with a hard-fought win in Iceland.
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud scored the only goal of the Group H qualifier in Reykjavik from the penalty spot after 66 minutes.
The 1-0 victory means the world champions can secure their place at next year’s tournament by beating group leaders Turkey on Monday.
Similarly, Turkey could also qualify with a victory, and the losers would have to wait another month to try again, so there is plenty riding on the clash at the Stade de France.
Deschamps told TF1: “We needed to win here and that wasn’t simple even if we had several chances to score a second goal. They’re always dangerous from set-pieces.
“That game was all about commitment and we lived up to that. We had a lot of the ball and we could have been out of danger with the chances we had at the end of the game.
“It’s a good win ahead of Monday, an important step.”
Forward Antoine Griezmann, who was fouled for the decisive penalty, said: “It was very difficult, a really hard match.
“We needed to take the three points and now we have an important game coming up at home. We’re going to suffer against Turkey and we’ll need to prepare well for it.”