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#WorldCup 2018: Croatia coach to ask Modric, Rakitic for tips on Messi



Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic, has admitted he will ask Barcelona midfielder, Ivan Rakitic for ideas on how to stop Argentina’s Lionel Messi in Thursday’s Group D match between the teams.

They go into the fixture top of the group with three points, after defeating Nigeria 2-0 on Saturday, while Argentina were held to a 1-1 draw with Iceland.

Messi had a penalty saved in that draw and Dalic wants suggestions from Rakitic on how best to frustrate his Barcelona teammate.

“Of course, Rakitic will be my assistant for the next three days, and we will certainly look for some advice on how to stop Messi,” he told a news conference.

“I always ask my players about such things and about many other things. I love communicating and I am happy to accept every tip.

“Ivan likes it too and he will tell me, I will use all the information I can.”

Dalic said he would also sit down with Real Madrid midfielders, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic, to get their input.

“They played against him and [former Real Madrid coach Zinedine] Zidane was prepared for such things,” Dalic said.

But the Croatia boss said it was also important not to lose focus on the overall team strategy, adding: “There is no perfect way to stop Lionel Messi. He shot 10 times last night [against Iceland], but we must stop his attacks by compactness.

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“I think he is the greatest player in the world – but while one excellent player can make a great result, a great team does the job much better.”